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What Is a Shaker Kitchen? We Take an In-Depth Look at Shaker Cabinetry and Design

Inspired by 18th-century workmanship, the shaker kitchen combines traditional design principles with contemporary elements.

History of the Shaker Kitchen

Shaker style is easily recognised. Cabinetry has practical, elegant proportions which reflect the simple way of life led by the Shaker people, a religious movement that grew in popularity in England and America at the beginning of the 18th century. Shakers believed that household objects should have a purpose and be made to last, denouncing decoration as unnecessary and dishonest. Craftsmen were highly skilled and took so much pride in their workmanship, and believed everything they made should look good from every angle – even parts that probably wouldn’t be seen. This meant shaker cabinets were as beautifully made on the inside as on the outside, with a smooth, unfussy finish.

Grey and White Kitchen

Traditional shaker kitchen cabinet doors are crafted from wood and have solid, symmetrical, square-framed doors with a flat recessed panel – the panel can be split into sections using strips of wood known as mid-rails. Cabinetry displayed little if no embellishment, letting the craftsmanship and quality of the wood speak for itself. The only decoration that may have found its way onto original shaker furniture was a small, symbolic carving of the ‘Tree of Life’, which was their signature. Tom Howley kitchen cabinets follow this simple, functional arrangement and radiate classic elegance.

Classic Painted Kitchen Cabinetry

While cabinets were often left bare, leaving the natural colour and grain of the wood on display, Shakers sometimes painted their furniture in muted shades of natural colours such as red, warm yellows, dark green or blue. Tom Howley shaker kitchens come in a variety of colours, such as greys, greens and blues. Our most popular exclusive paint colours include Avocado, Tansy, Nightshade, Willow and Dewberry. As colour trends change faster than kitchen trends, painting cabinetry is an inspired way to update your kitchen design and stay ahead of the curve. Furniture design that is as simple, elegant and practical as the shaker style will always prove popular.

Dark Green Shaker Style Kitchen

What Makes Tom Howley Shaker Style Kitchens Unique?

Over the years, we have fine-tuned our processes and introduced new techniques, designs and colours, but the craftsmanship behind our shaker style kitchens has remained consistent. Shaker kitchen design is versatile, which means it can move forward with the times. We use a choice of unique paint colours to help bring furniture to life and add a sense of depth and character to a kitchen. We work in partnership with beautiful British brands such as Shaws of Darwen, high-quality stone suppliers and leading appliance manufacturer to elevate our kitchen designs, every detail blending seamlessly with the stunning shaker style.

Contemporary Green Shaker Kitchen

We combine the elegant modesty of shaker design with understated modern luxury. Inspired by the principles of shaker workmanship, we combine the best tenets of kitchen design with the finest materials to maximise space and functionality.

How Shaker Kitchen Style Is Relevant Today

Annie Tullett from our Cheltenham showroom explains why ​​shaker style is still relevant to kitchens in 2022, “Shaker kitchens have a timeless simplicity and elegance, which evolved from the paired-back, practical lifestyle of 18th Century Shaker societies. The Shakers created the blueprint for the family kitchen through social design- this can be seen in their large trestle table islands and benches, and they blurred the lines between dining and kitchen space. Shaker Kitchens have longevity to them because they are grounded in the architecture of the Georgian era, a style which has bled into Victorian, Edwardian and now modern architecture. In summary, shaker isn’t a trend; it is everlasting.”

Grey Shaker Kitchen Design

Contemporary Twists on Classic Shaker Design

Bespoke Tom Howley shaker kitchens put a contemporary twist on classic design and are individually designed to suit almost any style of home, from penthouse apartments to farmhouse cottages. Crafted from durable materials, shaker kitchens prioritise convenience without compromising on style. Our designers incorporate contemporary elements such as luxury worktops and polished chrome handles to enhance the style. At the Tom Howley workshop, our experts skilfully craft each kitchen to exceptional standards of quality.

The best way to experience a shaker style kitchen is to visit one of our welcoming nationwide showrooms. We have entire kitchens in-situ so you can get a real feel for the materials and craftsmanship and a good idea of how one of our kitchen designs could look in your own home. You can also request a brochure here to explore our latest Shaker designs.