Those considering any kind of home renovation know that, above all else, the kitchen and bathroom are recommended as the first rooms in the house that should undergo a complete redo. This is because these are areas of the home frequently seen by guests and because more than just furniture and wall decorations go into their planning and design.
If you’ve been considering a home renovation for a while (or watch a lot of house-flipping shows), you know that bathroom and kitchen design trends change roughly every year. Home renovation is expensive, and rather than trying to continue to follow trends year after year out of fear of becoming outdated, or attempting to predict the biggest upcoming trends, the easiest way to avoid a kitchen design faux pas is to avoid trends altogether.
One of the biggest things that determine the style of kitchens and bathrooms is the cabinets inside them. Cabinets aren’t easily replaced, so it’s important to get them right and make sure that they last—both stylistically and structurally—for years to come. One cabinet style that has remained prominent in kitchen design for years is the shaker style cabinet, but it might be hard to tell whether the shaker design is yet another fad or if it’s here to stay.
In this blog, we talk about what shaker cabinets are, why they’re so popular, and whether shaker cabinets are in style, so read on to find the answers to all of your cabinet design questions.
What are Shaker Kitchen Cabinets?
Shaker cabinets are a specific type of cabinets that have been around since the late 18th century when the Shaker religious group created and constructed the design. Much like the Shakers, members of a sect of Quakerism, the shaker design is notable for being simple and lacking in ornamentation or embellishments, and it is typically durable and utilitarian. This is because Shakers did not believe in interacting with the greater world or succumbing to industrialization; as a result, they grew their own food, invented their own tools, and built their own furniture.
Traditionally, shaker cabinet doors are solid wood and feature a simple five-piece design that includes two stiles, two rails, and a flat center panel. The stiles and rails are raised panels and make up the frame for the recessed center panel. These stiles, which are the vertical pieces of the frame, and rails, the horizontal pieces, are fitted together using tongue-and-groove joints and reinforced with wood glue. These cabinets also use the cope-and-stick method, which means that the joints are attached at a 90-degree angle rather than a 45-degree (mitered) angle. The 90-degree angle is sturdier, will last longer, and allows for natural swelling and shrinking in the wood.
Shaker cabinet drawer fronts can be constructed using the stile-and-rail design or with a single flat panel. This is ultimately up to you and the kitchen designer, and there are many examples of each style in multiple kinds of kitchens.
When the Shakers used shaker cabinets, they avoided using any color or finishes on the wood and left the cabinets their natural color. Nowadays, people use many colors and finishes on shaker cabinets, and the term refers primarily to the five-piece construction and clean lines of the cabinet rather than the overall design style.
Are Shaker Style Kitchens Old-Fashioned?
Although the long history of the shaker cabinet may make it seem like they’ll send your kitchen back to the 18th century, shaker cabinets have remained in style for years throughout the ebb and flow of kitchen design trends. The minimalist design and clean lines of shaker cabinets have earned them a spot on kitchen designers’ lists year after year because they fit in nearly any kitchen with any aesthetic.
Not only are shaker cabinets high quality and more affordable than many other cabinets on the market, but they’re one of the most versatile options available for cabinet designs. While white shaker cabinets are one of the most popular shaker styles, the simple design looks good in any color and can fit in both monochrome and bright kitchens. Furthermore, if embellishment is something you’re looking for, the simple door and drawer face makes a wonderful canvas for ornamental handles and drawer pulls.
The blank canvas characteristic of shaker cabinets means that they can fit perfectly in any kind of kitchen. These cabinets can never go out of style because they fit with any kitchen design, no matter what’s trending. Below, we’ll go into a few different kitchen styles and explain how shaker cabinets can fit in with their designs.
Different Shaker Styles
Modern kitchens emphasize minimalism, with clean lines, open spaces, and sleek colors; and minimize ornate detailing. These kitchens place importance on simplicity and practicality, much like the shaker style. Furthermore, modern kitchens draw attention to horizontal lines, something that the rails in shaker cabinets highlight. Because the modern kitchen is meant to serve as a backdrop for cooking and gatherings rather than as the centerpiece, shaker cabinets blend in perfectly with the modern design aesthetic.
Farmhouse kitchens focus on unpretentious design and natural materials—just as the original Shakers envisioned their cabinets. These kitchens tend to place emphasis on high-quality natural wood, which is something that traditional shaker cabinets were known for. Farmhouse kitchens look great with white cabinets and warm wood, but they also work with bright-colored cabinetry and hints of white, like porcelain sinks and white drawer pulls. Luckily, shaker cabinets look great in both bright colors and plain white paint!
Although traditional kitchens tend to prioritize ornate details more than other kitchen styles, the simplicity of shaker cabinets allows ornate drawer pulls and handles to truly stand out. The same can be said for the different kinds of traditional color schemes.
Traditional kitchens tend to use natural materials, like hardwood and stone, and use the natural imperfections of these materials as a focal point. Solid wood shaker cabinets with a finish, rather than a coat of paint, will fit in perfectly in this kind of traditional kitchen. On the other hand, some traditional kitchens involve a variety of colors and finishes on the cabinets to indicate age and use. As we mentioned above, shaker cabinets are a great canvas for a number of different colors, and they will allow for any DIY distress projects to truly shine.
What Kind of Shaker Cabinet is Best?
Now that we know more about shaker cabinets and how they can be used, it’s crucial to understand that not all shaker cabinets will be exactly the same. Shaker is a style of cabinet rather than a specific manufacturer or material, so certain places may make their shaker cabinets differently.
While most shaker cabinets should be solid wood, some will be made of plywood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which can be just as strong as solid wood and are definitely something to consider when shopping. There are also many different special features that you’ll want to consider when you begin your shopping journey. For example, slamming cabinet doors shut can lead to their deterioration after many years, so many people opt for soft-closing features on their cabinets to avoid accidental slamming.
Below, we’ve provided a list of things that you should look for in a high-quality shaker cabinet:
- Solid wood throughout
- Soft-closing features
- UV-coated plywood interiors
- Door bumpers
- Hardwood face frames
- Dovetail drawers
- Full-extension glides
Shaker Cabinets at Buy Wholesale Cabinets
Now that you can rest assured that shaker cabinets are in style and will continue to be for years to come, you may be wondering where to learn more about shaker cabinets or get your hands on some. As we mentioned above, it’s important to remember that not all shaker cabinets are the same. For truly high-quality, well-priced shaker cabinets, take a look at the catalog at Buy Wholesale Cabinets.
Buy Wholesale Cabinets is dedicated to providing the best prices in cabinetry for everyone from wholesalers, to house-flippers, to families looking for a design or style upgrade in their home. Our prices don’t indicate our cabinet quality, either—all of our cabinets feature solid wood throughout, soft-close capabilities, UV-coated plywood interiors, dovetail drawers, full-extension glides, and more. Contact us today to get a free quote on shaker cabinets and experience our unbeatable customer service.