A quick background, the Shaker kitchen first originated back in the 1700s and was designed by the Quakers, founded in England, some of the group later relocated to New England, US and became known as Shakers. Their ethos was that everything should be functional, simple and practical.
This simple, practical style of course translated into their interiors, and it's the kitchen in particular that stuck, becoming on of the most well-known of all kitchen designs. It allows you to adapt and change your look into a contemporary or classic style by updating fixtures, fittings, and colors.
Everything aspect of a Shaker kitchen is thought out, from the dove-tail joints to the intricate detailing on cabinet doors. But has this much loved style been replacement by more modern looks, are shaker kitchens still on style?
Are Shaker kitchens still on trend?
Seemingly forever loved and extremely versatile, and not forgetting the innovative storage solutions, we asked interior design experts for their thoughts on whether Shaker kitchens still make it into interior design trends for 2024.
1. Focus on the finishes for timeless Shaker kitchen
This stunning Shaker kitchen in a cabin home was designed by Dalrymple Studio, proving their practical elements work in any space. 'Shaker kitchens will always be timeless, the traditional classic style will never age in my opinion,' says Amy Dalrymple, founder and creative director of the studio.
'I think it's how you finish the kitchen that either dates the style or doesn't. Certain kitchen colors date quicker than others, pink for example looks beautiful at the moment but is more likely to age than darker colors such as maroon, green and navy,' shares Amy.
'Also, the fixtures and fittings make a huge difference to the longevity of the kitchen, we always invest in handles and splashback tiles as we feel these give the time period away more so than the style of joinery.'
2. Use it as a base to bring in more current trends
'When we designed our Shaker kitchens we couldn’t have imagined that one day they would furnish our showrooms in London and New York, and that clients from LA to Tasmania would choose them over every other kitchen cabinet style around the world,' shares Paul O'Leary, founder of deVOL Kitchens.'
'The Shaker kitchen has proven to be so versatile over the years: understated and humble in the color of linen with wooden worktops and painted knobs, but show-stoppingly glamorous in black, with burnished bronze handles and quartz or copper worktops. It’s still our bestselling range and most of the unique kitchens that adorn social media and magazines are still those very plain cupboards that are simple to make and trouble-free to use. They are infinitely adaptable, to an extent that we didn’t predict.'
Paul O'Leary co-founded deVOL in 1989 and began specialising in freestanding kitchen furniture. By the late 90s, Paul became the sole proprietor and continued to focus on producing the highest quality cabinetry which reflected deVOL's affinity with simple Georgian and Victorian furniture. This strong design ethic has attracted clients from around the world to their Cotes Mill, London and New York showrooms and won him numerous kitchen and design awards.
3. Shaker kitchens are the best style to invest in
For a truly custom-built Shaker kitchen that has everything from perfectly crafted cabinetry designed to fit the awkward alcove and the classical fielded doors, Tom is right, they aren't necessarily budget-friendly but they are one of the best options for designing a timeless kitchen. The core Shaker style can be adapted to suit any style, making them worth the investment as they will never date.
'In a recent project we installed a Shaker style kitchen in a deep navy blue and paired it with contemporary brass fixtures, sleek Carrara marble, and Crittal Style glazing which together combined to create a kitchen that balances traditional elegance with a fresh modernity,' says Tom.
Tom Rutt is the founder of TR Studio, a luxury architectural and interior design practice based in the City of London. Influenced by the likes of David Chipperfield, Vincent Van Duysen and Pierre Yovanovitch, Rutt has a crafted yet modernist approach to design, always paired with something that lifts it from minimalism in its purist sense to create something playful and uplifting. Working on high-end bespoke residential and commercial projects in the UK and internationally, the practice encompasses architecture, interior design and project management.
4. Bring in prints to give the simple cabinetry interest
'The Shaker kitchen is, in our minds, a winner when it comes to style and practicality,' say Tom Kennedy & Jamie Watkins, founders of Divine Savages.
Some kitchen styles are what they are – and whatever you do to try and give them a new lease of life, it's hard to change the aesthetic. This is the opposite with a Shaker-style kitchen as Tom and Jamie share:
'An easy way to update tired-looking Shaker cupboards is to give them a new lease of life with fresh paint and some statement kitchen wallpaper for an instant transformation and a more modern take on this traditional kitchen style. Wallpaper can transform a kitchen from clinical & functional into a more homely and personal space. We’ve picked out a core color from the wallpaper and complemented it by painting the Shaker cabinets the same shade.'
Divine Savages specialises in creating exquisitely crafted wallpapers, fabrics, accessories and limited edition art prints for the brave and bold. It was founded by husbands Jamie Watkins and Tom Kennedy in 2017. Taking inspiration from history, culture, fashion and the natural world to create an eclectic mix of influences, Divine Savages has, to date, created myriad designs whose personalities come across just as much in their names as they do visually. They are proud to create British-made wallpapers, fabrics and home accessories with a divine and savage twist, worldwide.
5. They can take any color you desire
'The timeless appeal and versatility of Shaker-style kitchens have made them a favorite choice among homeowners and designers alike. One of the key advantages is their versatility. The clean lines and unadorned aesthetic make them suitable for various design schemes, from traditional to contemporary and in any color that you choose,' says Al Bruce, founder, Olive & Barr.
Because Shaker kitchens have such iconic shaped cabinetry and mostly clean lines visually, it ensures you can paint your cabinets any color and it will still look fabulous. From jet black to coral, the beauty of the design is that you can't go wrong. Making it forever adaptable.
In conclusion, Shaker kitchens are still very much here to stay. They might not be 'on trend' as such because they are such classics, but they can be updated to be whatever you like with some clever design changes. And that's the beauty of them, the core essence is classic enough to be adapted to suit your needs and changing desires.
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Sophie has been an interior stylist and journalist for over 20 years and has worked for many of the main interior magazines during that time, both in-house and as a freelancer. On the side, as well as being the News Editor for indie magazine, 91, she trained to be a florist in 2019 and launched The Prettiest Posy where she curates beautiful flowers for modern weddings and events. For H&G, she writes features about interior design – and is known for having an eye for a beautiful room.
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