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

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

If timeless style is your thing, these Shaker kitchen ideas will offer inspiration and top tips on how to achieve the look with ease.

So, where do Shaker 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.

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, too.

Of course, when considering simple kitchen ideas, 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.

Shaker kitchen ideas

1. Factor in a free-standing unit

kitchen with light grey cupboards wooden flooring and pink vintage fridge

(Image credit: John Lewis of Hungerford )

If you find you need extra storage, especially in a small kitchen, a freestanding unit in a contrasting colour will make a statement. You could even paint an old plain unit and 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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2. Keep it simple

kitchen sink area with white cabinets

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Darren Chung)

For the ultimate in simplicity, opt for a fuss-free kitchen colour scheme, keeping 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

kitchen with wooden worktops

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

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

4. Opt for an easy-to-clean design

white and navy blue Shaker kitchen with a large white sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Douglas Gibb)

While a wooden worktop conjures up true Shaker style, there’s nothing like a stone worktop for the 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

kitchen with dark blue cabinets and sink

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Douglas Gibb)

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

kitchen with black and white floor tiles

(Image credit: Future PLC/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.

7. Display your finest accessories

kitchen with chopping boards and long wooden table

(Image credit: Future PLC/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, as shown in this country kitchen. 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

kitchen with stone floor tiles cream aga and a wooden ceiling beam

(Image credit: Future PLC/Brent Darby )

This rustic kitchen tile idea used on the floor brings 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

light grey and white sink area with a shelf unit and black KitchenAid

(Image credit: TBC)

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.