Shaker style: key to timeless home design

Have you heard of Shakers? They were a Christian sect that was founded in England in the 1700s and later moved to America in the colonial times. They believed in hard work and a strong community – excessive materialism was a rather unwanted phenomenon.

Today Shakers are more known for their timeless design of kitchen furniture – it turns out that their style is rich with modern design ideas. Shaker style and minimalism are very similar, but the former has a much more natural atmosphere than an ultra-modern home. Shaker style helps to design your home in such a way that it is still up to date for many years to come.

There is no corresponding term in Estonian. Rather, the Shaker style can be called traditional, a bit of a country style, especially if the kitchen furniture doors feature boards. Kitchens of this kind are suitable for:

* spaces with a country-style solution

* Scandinavian-look homes

* classically-styled homes


Image: DeVOL Kitchens

Those cabinets…

Of course, Shaker begins with very characteristic kitchen cabinets. Their beauty is modest and timeless. You can safely follow this trend without fearing that in about five years’ time the kitchen will completely out of date.

Functional form

The motto of Shaker’s design is: functionality above all.

The kitchen peg rail shown above reflects how much attention is paid to the organisation. The pegs hold cutting boards, pots and pans within grasp, yet it is all out of the way when bustling around in the kitchen. The smaller the room you want to live and cook in, the more important is maximizing your storage space. Design elements must also have a practical function.

Image: Frida Ramstedt Trendenserile

Wonder Wall

Continuing the topic of making the most of small spaces, Shaker style has been using the vertical surface for centuries. Hanging tools, aprons, and even chairs on the wall was popular with Shakers – an example of this in the picture below.

Image: RealLiving / Homes to Love

Neutral zone

There is no doubt that Shaker style neutral colour palette is at least partly the reason why this style has endured. As much as we may whine about all- white kitchens, we must admit that they are not going anywhere anytime soon. Instead of contrasting white with black, Shaker style operates in more neutral tones: muted blues and greens, beiges, greys, and pale tones.

When choosing neutral colours, it is extremely important to follow the 10-30-60 rule so that the space does not become overly dull. Choose one tone that fills 60% of the space (typically walls). The second tone could cover 30% of the room (furniture) and the third tone – 10% (fixtures).

Image: Sustainable Kitchens

Quality materials

Shakers believed in simplicity, but the design elements they used were incredibly well made. In line with their beliefs, Shakers made most of the things themselves – and, of course, so that crafted items would last.

Although nowadays very few craft their own home furnishings, these principles can still be followed by investing in high-quality natural materials. For example, by choosing cherry, maple or pine wood for the floor. Similarly, this principle can be applied to textiles: wool, cotton and silk are good options.

Image: Old House Online

Pure and simple

One of key ways in which Shaker-style homes and furniture avoid looking outdated is by excluding any decorative details that are associated with a specific time period. Pure lines, natural materials and minimal ornaments, as seen in the picture, remain beautiful in every age.

This does not mean that the Shaker style does not allow any expressive elements. You can see modest decorative elements, such as elegantly turned furniture legs or small wood carvings. Patterns may, for example, include leaves or acorns.

When Shakers used to sing that there is happiness in being simple, they seriously meant it.