Shaker-style kitchen ideas – simple yet striking, this look is timeless

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  • This timeless yet simple kitchen design originated from the 18th-century Quakers, known as the ‘Shakers’ because of their animated style of worship

    So where do Shaker-style kitchens come from? The routes of this popular design stem from the 18th century US religious movement of the same name – they believed in simplicity and function without embellishment or decorative features, and they structured their homes as such. Today, these beginnings have been built on and Shaker design does offer variety in terms of colour and finishing touches but the basics have stayed the same – stick to these and you will achieve the look with ease.

    Wood is the dominant material in Shaker kitchens but be careful not to tip the scale to ‘vintage’ or ‘country’ style. Choose a simple design with square doors with an inset panel and, if you have it painted, go for a matte finish. Any furniture should follow these lines too – spindle-back wooden chairs and a simple square or round table are what you’re looking for, you’ll even find you can get bar stools that fit this look.

    Of course, you don’t necessarily have to follow the Shaker style bible to the letter – in today’s kitchens, an element of the classic design lends a heritage feel, but also creates a scheme neutral enough for you to put your own style stamp on a space. Have a look through our favourite Shaker-style kitchens….

    Check out our kitchen channel for more great kitchen decorating ideas and inspiration

    1. Factor in a free-standing unit

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford

    If you find you need extra storage, a freestanding unit in a contrasting colour will make a statement. You could even paint an old plain unit – adding traditional cup handles will give it an instant Shaker touch. As the Shaker lifestyle was one of practicality and austerity, everything had to be functional, and in a typical kitchen of the period, everything had its place.

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    Buy now: Kitchen design, John Lewis of Hungerford

    2. Keep it simple

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: Darren Chung

    For the ultimate in simplicity, keep everything in as close a colour to the cabinets as you can – light fittings, window treatments, furniture and tiles in similar shades will blend the look together.

    3. Make it your own

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: Colin Poole

    This kitchen is slightly more ‘country’ than ‘Shaker’, but plain floating shelves and a coat of rich cream coat gives it a simplistic edge it needs to boast that Shaker look.

    4. Opt for an easy-to-clean design

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: Douglas Gibb

    While a wooden worktop conjures up true Shaker style, there’s nothing like a stone worktop for that truly simple and practical feel that this style demands. For a seamless look, fit a flush sink and have drainage grooves cut into the wood.

    5. Choose your favourite colour

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: Mark Bennett

    Don’t feel that you can’t lean towards your favourite colours or materials – keep it simple without curves or embellishment and it will still have that Shaker feel about it.

    6. Accessorise with rustic materials

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: Lizzie Omre

    Classic, simple style extends to accessories too. Choose plain ceramics and storage that’s made with natural materials such as wood, cork and wicker. This is a good way to add colour, too.

    After kitchen inspiration? READ: Kitchen colour schemes – to give your space a vibrant lift

    7. Display your finest accessories

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: Adrian Briscoe

    Functionality is king in a Shaker kitchen so choose chunky chopping boards and display in stacks or hang from pegs above the worktop. For a really authentic look, hunt through junk shops for antique cake trays and stoneware flour jars to display. If your kitchen is big enough for a table and chair, you’ll find you’re spoilt for choice for spindle-back chairs – keep cushion-free for an authentic Shaker look.

    8. Add texture with tile

    Shaker-style kitchen

    Image credit: Brent Darby

    Rustic floor tiles bring that practical feel that you’re looking for. Go as dark or light as you like – the natural appearance will work whatever shade the tiles are.

    9. Let it sink in

    Shaker-style kitchen

    A ceramic Belfast sink completes the look of a Shaker kitchen and, although they can be expensive, they don’t have to break the bank and will keep their good looks for years to come.

    Want more kitchen ideas? READ: Cream kitchen ideas that are classic and will stand the test of time

    Which Shaker-style kitchen is your favourite?

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