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Timeless kitchen design: Shaker doors

This is the classic American kitchen, a perennial favorite that can be found in homes all across the country. It is easy to like, because of just how familiar it is. The Shaker kitchen has connotations with the Traditional style. Although many homeowners appreciate this, others struggle to successfully conceptualise a Shaker kitchen design that still feels current.

FORM Design Team

March 3, 2021

kitchen design

This is the classic American kitchen, a perennial favorite that can be found in homes all across the country. It is easy to like, because of just how familiar it is. The Shaker kitchen has connotations with the Traditional style. Although many homeowners appreciate this, others struggle to successfully conceptualize a Shaker kitchen design that still feels current.

We believe that it is possible to not only create a Shaker kitchen that is current, but also one that is future proof. Any space that feels homely and comfortable is bound to be timeless. These are qualities that people will seek out twenty years from now as much as they did twenty years ago, and Shaker kitchens offer them in abundance.

White Shaker kitchens are popular and have their benefits, but don’t feel like it’s your only option. This kitchen style is more versatile than that. Also, don’t feel like it has to be an either-or choice. You can create a stunning Transitional kitchen by combining Shaker and flat panel doors. The effect is beautifully balanced and is certain to age well.

Comfort is timeless

Shaker kitchens have a special place in American hearts. You probably remember your grandmother having one of these in her home. As such, the immediate associations are with family, comfort and coziness. If these thoughts make you happy then you know that you’re onto a winner: you won’t want to change a kitchen that makes you happy.

Shaker kitchens ooze positive emotions, but they have a very practical benefit too. In larger spaces -- and this includes many American homes -- it can be difficult to create a sense of warmth and intimacy. The detailing and layered nature of a Shaker door does this with ease, drawing the eye away from the room’s proportions and towards your beautiful cabinetry.

If you like the Shaker look but are not sure if it’s a good long-term investment, we say go for it. By some accounts, this cabinet style has been around for 250 years. And anything that has stuck for this long, is likely to live on for decades if not centuries to come. A classic has staying power and this is the ultimate American classic when it comes to kitchens.

Consider color

Every time you open a kitchen design magazine or scroll through a social media feed dedicated to decorating, you will come across at least one white Shaker kitchen. That’s to say, they are very popular. As a color, white has staying power, because there are so many ways to dress it. Well, in a technical sense, white is not even a color: so it is what you put around it that will help define the room.

Precisely for this reason, there is a natural timelessness to white. You can do so much to it, and yes, it works with everything. For example, you might be feeling bold and decide on black handles to create a visual contrast. If you change your mind when you next redecorate, these will be easy to replace with a more neutral option such as stainless steel, or something that is trendy at the time.

Having just sung the praises of white as a cabinet color, we know that it’s not for everyone. Whether for practical or aesthetic reasons, it may not be your top choice (say, if you have young kids or messy pets in the house). For a contemporary interpretation of the Shaker kitchen, you could opt for something darker e.g. our popular Stone Grey. Not as bright as white, this is a softer and more relaxed interpretation of the look.

Mix it up

Although typically associated with period properties and Traditional interior design, we believe that Shaker cabinets can fit into modern spaces too. Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to achieve a ‘clean’ visual effect with Shaker fronts. If this is what you’re after, focus on the size and format of the units, as well as the rest of your kitchen space.

Wider units and those that are equally sized across the entire run are better for creating a streamlined look. As much as possible, use drawers and pullouts rather than cabinet doors. The handles will align horizontally for a consistent and beautifully understated effect. Shaker doors also look great alongside flat panel doors. For example, consider one style for the base units and another for the wall units. The result is a balanced Transitional look that gives you the best of both worlds.

As surprising as it may seem, bold Italian light fittings, Scandinavian inspired modernist bar stools and minimalist floating shelves can all find a place in a Shaker kitchen. The result is a confident interpretation of a design classic. We always remind our clients that the cabinetry is there for the long term, while the rest of the space can change around it over time. Shaker units will ground your scheme while allowing you to experiment with the rest.

She may have had one, but your brand new Shaker kitchen does not need to look like your grandmother’s. It is possible to create a modern take on the Shaker that feels familiar and exciting at once. What’s more, with FORM units you can have a design classic that still benefits from world-class functionality, factory precision and extensive warranties.

"We believe that good design improves people's lives. We focus on personalization, performance, and peace of mind."

Co-founders Danny and Tom

Danny Soos & Tom Sherman

FORM Co-Founders

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