Shaker bathrooms – 5 ways to embrace classic simplicity in your home

Discover how to bring the charm of Shaker style to your bathroom with timeless cabinetry, natural materials and simple, honest design

Roper Rhodes
(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

Instantly recognised by their timeless, uncomplicated designs featuring simple panelled doors and an abundance of natural materials, Shaker bathrooms are ubiquitous in homes throughout the world. But what is Shaker-style, and why do we admire it so much? 

A religious group who arrived in America from England in 1774, the Shakers created the style out of necessity and a desire for usefulness over trends. This thought is reflected throughout their designs: every element of the room must be beautiful and functional in equal measure. 

Shaker-style design has seen a resurgence in recent years, not only for its charming aesthetic but also as a highly sustainable way to furnish your bathroom. An increased backlash against mass production has fuelled this trend and while people often come to Shaker from an environmental standpoint, they stay for the character that this style brings to the home. Enamoured with Shaker design? Discover more traditional bathroom cabinetry here.

1. Introduce luxury in a large bathroom  

Roper Rhodes

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

Large bathrooms provide the luxury of space – to include more features geared to your lifestyle and to create a haven of indulgent relaxation. It’s the opportunity to include a glamorous double vanity, perhaps positioned in the centre of the room so that its beautiful shape can be enjoyed to the maximum. 

The bathroom is not just about the bath. Continue the ethos of Shaker bathroom design into other aspects of your space. There is an increasing appreciation that a vanity can make a huge difference to the overall look of the bathroom, so it’s important to get it right. 

Smartly tailored, the Hampton 1200 underslung unit is the perfect accompaniment to a Shaker-style bathroom. This statement design with tongue and groove carpentry, from £1,030, fits seamlessly into this neutral, earthy space.

2.  Keep in simple with a single vanity  

Roper Rhodes

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

Shaker design was informed by the belief that every item should have a place, so think hard about storage when planning your bathroom. 

When it comes to bijou bathroom design, clever planning is key to ensuring that even a tiny bathroom can still feel spacious. Stylish finishes that are also practical are the icing on the cake. Up to recently, small bathrooms always required a compromise. But the latest contemporary furniture can still create a luxurious bathroom from minimal square footage. 

Vanity units come in all shapes and sizes, and for small bathrooms, a single vanity unit can slot in perfectly. Small in size but big in style and personality, the Hampton 600 underslung unit, from £515, is an impressive standalone piece, and creates a compact yet stylish vanity area when paired with a generous mirror and wall lights.

3.  Use tiles to add interest and texture  

Roper Rhodes

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

While authentic Shaker bathrooms would have been minimalist, exuding rustic charm, modern Shaker bathrooms give you the opportunity to be creative. The latest Shaker-style bathrooms encourage individualization – the choice truly is yours. 

Bathroom tiles are a great way to give this classic Shaker style a new lease of life. Tiles have an important role to play in the room's design – and not just because they provide a practical solution to keeping walls and floors protected from soap and splashes. There are so many tile options that allow you to express your personality, introducing just as much style to the bathroom as you might in any other room of the house. 

Choose a look that imbues your home with Shaker charm, like the Hampton 800 underslung basin, from £885, and pick tiles that draw on the prominent shades for your vanity to create a timeless aesthetic that you will love for years to come.

4.  Give Shaker style a contemporary colour update 

Roper Rhodes

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

Colour might not be the first element you think of when planning an authentic Shaker scheme, but it should certainly not be an afterthought. 

A good colour palette is essential for creating the look, feel and design you want in your bathroom or shower room. Even in a neutral scheme, colour can play a significant role in bringing character to the space. 

As central pieces, vanity units are prime targets for a colour shift. A popular route is to pick an uplifting shade for the vanity and set it against cooler, neutral tones on the wall and floor. 

When planning a bathroom colour scheme, we generally choose the dominant colour first, to anchor the space and provide a sense of calmness. We then look at shades that will ‘pop’, to make it more dynamic. Here, that impact comes from the Burford in Conniston Blue, from £POA. We recommend a maximum of three colours to keep your Shaker bathroom from becoming too busy.

5.  Be tempted to mix eras and styles 

Roper Rhodes

(Image credit: Roper Rhodes)

Creating the perfect contemporary bathroom is all about uniting two worlds: the beauty of the past and the practicality of the present day. A vital step to achieving the look is realising that Shaker style is about longevity, soul and the patience to see things evolving. 

When mixing and matching styles and eras you want to create the impression that a room has evolved over time. To treat a bathroom as purely functional is to miss out on the opportunity to explore noble materials and eloquent furnishings. 

In this space, designed using the Burford in Juniper Green, from £POA, a heavenly mix of Shaker and Art Deco elements combine to create a heritage-meets-glamour aesthetic. Channelling Art Deco grandeur, this look is all about juxtaposing opulence with an honest foundation.

Download a brochure now. Follow on Instagram @roperrhodes for further inspiration. 

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