Shaker kitchen cabinets are a popular trend in kitchen cabinets, and they are likely here to stay. Why? They’re timeless. Shaker kitchen cabinets offer a simple, classic design that is easily incorporated into multiple kitchen styles. They pair well with a variety of counters, fixtures, and features and are quickly transformed with simple hardware switch-outs. If you’re considering types of Shaker kitchen cabinets, you’re on the right track to a versatile style that will last for decades to come.
This versatility has made Shaker kitchen cabinets a top choice among designers for several years in a row, and the trend continues to grow. In 2014, 69 percent of designers chose Shaker kitchen cabinets. The only category that beat out Shakers was transitional, which can also include a variety of Shaker cabinetry. Consumer’s Voice reports the Shaker style remained in the top three growing choices the following year.
In truth, this trend is far from new. Shaker cabinets have been around for over 200 years.
A Little History to Shake up Your Kitchen
Before you learn how to choose a Shaker kitchen cabinet for your space, you might be interested in learning where that unusual name originates. If nothing else, you can impress your kitchen guests with a bit of trivia as they stand around admiring your newly remodeled space.
It all started in the 1770s with the Shakers. This religious community arrived in colonial America with principles that guided the craftsmanship of the current Shaker kitchen cabinets. Dissenters of Quakers, the Shakers also valued simplicity in life and utility in objects. Their handmade cabinets offered understated designs and simple structures.
Shaker Kitchen Cabinets Today
Truly efficient and functional, Shaker cabinets came into their own as a unique design known for lack of flourish, with clean, simple lines. The style survives today as Shaker kitchen cabinets thrive in both modern and traditional kitchen designs.
To identify kitchens with Shaker kitchen cabinets, look for simple doors with flat panels, or less often, beaded. Other common characteristics include rail frames. They are constructed with durable wood and crafted with functional, no-frills designs. Popular materials for Shaker cabinets include cherry, hickory, oak and maple.
This simple design combined with high-quality wood has made Shaker kitchen cabinets a top choice for versatile use in virtually all types of kitchens, from traditional to contemporary. They are the kitchen designer’s blank canvas to create the ideal kitchen for any lifestyle and space. They truly work well for a full range of kitchen designs today:
- Modern – When you think of modern kitchen designs, clean and uncluttered spaces should come to mind. This streamlined space is ideal for the simplistic design of Shaker kitchen cabinets. This cabinetry can be left as plain wood or painted modern white, black or gray to perfectly complement the modern kitchen. Pulls and handles that emphasize horizontal lines pair well with the utilitarian cabinets and finish off the modern look.
- Transitional – Designers opting for this style seek to transition between a traditional and modern kitchen. The versatility of Shaker kitchen cabinets makes them ideal for the transitional designer. Some choose to add a slight bevel to the design of the cabinets to achieve this in-between style. It makes the cabinetry a bit less plain but keeps them simple enough to remain true to their roots. With the touch of frill, they become cabinets that are neither traditional nor modern, but transitional.
- Traditional – If you prefer a traditional look rather than a contemporary kitchen, Shaker kitchen cabinets work for your space, too. Light wood finishes or a farmhouse paint color make Shaker kitchen cabinets ideal for traditional kitchens. By selecting the right hardware to finish your cabinets, you can easily achieve a traditional feel.
Whether you seek old-world traditions or modern designs, Shaker kitchen cabinets are a versatile solution. As you learn how to choose a Shaker kitchen cabinet, it’s important to know the appropriate colors, materials and hardware to select.
Typical Shaker Cabinet Colors
As mentioned, there are many types of Shaker kitchen cabinets, but the biggest factor differentiating each cabinet is often their color. Consistent with their simplistic design, Shaker cabinets are often completed with a natural wood finish. However, they can be stained to achieve different styles. Dark stains bring out wood grains and offer a multitude of décor possibilities.
For modern kitchens, Shaker kitchen cabinets are often painted white or gray. In many modern designs, upper cabinets feature one shade, while lower cabinets and drawers are painted another, or an island offers a contrasting hue. For traditional kitchens, warm wood tones such as honey or caramel are popular, combined with traditional hardware.
Common Materials for Shaker Cabinets
From the beginning, Shaker kitchen cabinets have been constructed of durable, high-quality wood. These are not pressed, particle-board pieces that fall off your walls in seven years. They are built to last, and they do. Common materials include cherry and maple wood, which are grown in the northeastern U.S. — where Shakers began.
Hardware Styles for Shaker Kitchen Cabinets
To choose the best hardware for your Shaker kitchen cabinets, you must take several factors into consideration. With myriad options available, this can be the toughest decision as you select your type of Shaker kitchen cabinet.
Since Shaker kitchen cabinets are simple and versatile, your ultimate design will be determined largely by the hardware you select to complete the cabinetry. This will give your cabinets a modern, traditional or unique look you desire. It’s up to you to decide which direction you want to go.
Following are a few of the top picks for hardware styles for Shaker kitchen cabinets. These styles and finishes pair well with Shaker cabinets to help you achieve the overall finish you want for your space:
- Knobs and bin pulls – Because Shaker kitchen cabinets are minimalist in design, straightforward knobs and pulls are a popular choice for hardware. They work well for a traditional look. Place bin pulls on drawers and knobs on Shaker cabinet doors. If you have drawers wider than 30 inches, install two bin pulls for a traditional-style drawer, or a larger handle, such as a 5”cc. Knobs and pulls are available in virtually any color you could imagine, so you can get as creative as you wish. For traditional, Shaker-style subtly, choose subdued tones and standard colors such as white, black or gray.
- Tubular bar pulls – This type of hardware is also called a barrel pull. Available in a variety of sizes, they offer a modern touch to Shaker kitchen cabinets. You may have seen them commonly used on flat-panel doors, but they are great for Shakers as well. Choose short tubular bar pulls for a more classic look or install longer ones for a more dramatic finish.
- Flat bar pulls – If you want to achieve a contemporary look, flat bar pulls are a good choice of hardware for Shaker kitchen cabinets. At first consideration, they may not seem much different than tubular bar pulls, but they offer a sleeker finish and a touch of glamour. Choose horizontal or vertical attachment to emphasize height or clean lines, respectively. As with other bar pulls, they are available in various lengths to suit your taste and cabinet size.
- Arced and footed bar pulls – To move away from contemporary and back to a classic look, select arced and footed bar pulls. They add a slight decorative look to the cabinetry without being too ornate for the Shaker cabinet style. The result is a traditional feel with a little flair. To make their decorative nature really stand out, choose a contrasting finish that pops when attached to the cabinetry.
- Accented wire pulls – These pulls take the element of frill to the next level above footed pulls. Adding a few more decorative details to the hardware works well if you plan to add similar elements throughout the kitchen. Traditional elements such as decorative moldings on the cabinets or ceiling are complemented by decorative finishes on the Shaker kitchen cabinet hardware.
- Vintage pulls with exposed screws – If you would like to create a vintage or industrial feel for your kitchen, this type of hardware is the perfect choice. If you plan to stick with other utilitarian designs to complete your Shaker style, this vintage hardware will help pull it all together.
Within each style of hardware for Shaker kitchen cabinets, there are a variety of finishes to choose from. This drastically affects the final look and feel of your kitchen. For example, a brushed nickel knob creates a different impression than glass. Neither is bad — you simply must decide which impression you prefer. Following are the most common finishes for hardware for Shaker kitchen cabinets. As you learn about each style, you can determine which is the preferred finish for the look you want to achieve in your kitchen:
- Ceramic = Classic – Ceramic knobs conjure up images of country cottages and farmhouses. They provide a classic, homey look for your kitchen. Choose plain white or a personalized pattern of your liking. They pair well with natural wood finishes.
- Glass = Elegant – Also a classic choice, glass knobs add a vintage touch to your Shaker kitchen cabinets. They also provide a touch of style and grace. They offer a contrast to the wooden cabinets and inspire thoughts of old-fashioned perfume or liquor bottles. You can use glass knobs to achieve a historical feel for a variety of eras, depending on the rest of your kitchen décor.
- Nickel = Simple – Traditional nickel knobs and pulls offer a conventional choice. They work well with the simplistic design of Shaker kitchen cabinets. They keep your cabinets basic and functional, yet attractive. They work well with a variety of other accents and décor in the room.
- Steel = Sleek – Steel hardware creates a greater contemporary feel for the kitchen since it suggests sleek lines and a streamlined space. If paired with basic cabinet colors such as white or gray, they help achieve a modern or industrial look.
- Brass = Vintage – Create a vintage look with fashionable brass pulls. Classy and somewhat showy, they are a unique mix of modern and old-fashioned hardware for Shaker kitchen cabinets.
- Metal latches = Retro – For a truly nostalgic kitchen, choose metal latches. They aren’t the simplest design in looks or functionality, but they can be a fun addition to your retro kitchen. Feel free to mix and match designs, using more complicated latches on less frequently used drawers or those you’d like to keep children and pets from accessing. Then, install simple pulls on other doors.
- Exposed screws = Industrial – If you want raw features that are industrial in style, choose pulls with exposed screws. They emphasize function over form and work well with other industrial features in the kitchen such as stainless steel appliances or exposed brick walls.
Completing Your Shaker Kitchen
If you want to finish off the Shaker look of your kitchen, incorporate additional Shaker-style elements to your space. Hardware offers the final touch, but other details will help you achieve a truly Shaker kitchen if this is the style you seek:
- Open shelving – This is a popular trend among modern kitchens, so it should be easy to incorporate if you want a Shaker kitchen. Open shelving allows you to display beautiful dishes or china. If you’re concerned about keeping things neat and dust-free, choose glass-fronted cabinets for some of your space. This will break up the solid Shaker cabinets and create the open feel of a modern kitchen while giving tribute to the old-world look of hanging your supplies around the kitchen.
- A place for everything – Modern kitchens are focusing more and more on creating spaces designed for specific dishes, tools and appliances. The simple, minimalist design of the Shakers strives to offer a place for everything and everything in its place.
- Specific storage spaces – Use areas like “appliance garages,” which are cabinets designed to hold your small appliances rather than forcing you to store them on the counter. Think about large pots and cutting boards as you decide on drawer and door sizes. Unless an item is meant to be used as a decorative display piece, find a place to hide it away.
- Peg rail – An exception to hiding everything away is the peg rail. It simply offers a place for everything, to help keep the kitchen clutter-free. It is a classic symbol of the Shaker kitchen. This strip of wood is lined with round pegs and is used for hanging cleaning supplies, hats, coats and anything else the cook needs to keep handy but out of the way. If you want to add a piece of historical flair and charm to your kitchen, this is a great piece. If your kitchen is near a mudroom, it’s a nice accessory to add.
- Furniture – If you want to go all out and make your space entirely Shaker, look for Shaker furniture options. These pieces are similar in design to your shaker kitchen cabinets, with simple structure and clean lines. The classic Shaker chair has a fabric seat with three horizontal bars across the back of the chair, called a ladder-back. Bare seats and benches are also typical of Shaker design. For a table, choose a piece with painted legs and a wooden top.
- Flooring – What flooring options are best for a Shaker kitchen? A true Shaker kitchen probably featured bare boards. If you prefer tile, pale colors offer a light and airy feel that go with the Shaker style. Choose large porcelain tiles to create simple, no-frills lines. The important thing to keep in mind is minimizing. Keep the floor neutral and functional, then it won’t take away from the attractive features of your cabinets and hardware.
- Backsplash – Can you get away with the flourish of a backsplash in a Shaker kitchen? Yes, but keep in mind the overall theme of the room. Keep tiles simple and streamlined. Choose bright, smooth tiles and neutral colors. Shakers probably didn’t have colorful tile mosaics in pastel hues and textures behind their sinks. Black or white tiles in simple patterns work well.
- Walls – Do you plan to repaint your kitchen to complete your Shaker look? If so, keep wall colors neutral or pale. The Shaker palette typically included red, yellow, blues and greens. Your cabinet selection will help you determine the best color for the walls. Since cabinets are probably tougher to choose, start there and then decide which Shaker color will work best for the walls.
- Lighting – Light fixtures for a Shaker kitchen should continue the theme of utilitarian design. Keep light fixtures functional and simple. Pendant lighting over islands and other work areas are a great choice. As you choose finishes for fixtures, keep in mind what hardware you will use for your Shaker kitchen cabinets. It’s ok to mix and match finishes, but it can be helpful to keep the same finish on each horizontal plane.
Where Can You Find Hardware for Shaker Kitchen Cabinets?
As you can tell, selecting Shaker kitchen cabinets for your kitchen opens up a world of possibilities for hardware and other design options. Once you’ve decided on the look you want to achieve, the next step is to find a manufacturer to provide the best hardware for your Shaker kitchen cabinets.
As you make final decisions on hardware, it’s important to choose quality items. You want a supplier who provides hardware that will stand the test of time, just like your Shaker cabinets will. You want durable items that look and feel great.
Cliffside Industries is your premier source for this top-level hardware. Our complete line of kitchen hardware includes ideal selections for Shaker kitchen cabinets. We offer over 5,000 unique items provided by the finest craftsmen around the world. Each piece is created to offer strength, value and durability.
At Cliffside Industries, we have made it our mission to serve the hardware needs of consumers through our business customers in the kitchen and bath industry with excellent service and ageless, elegant products crafted from high-quality materials. We are your go-to S.H.A.K.E.R. supplier:
- Solid materials – Our hardware offers improved durability and outstanding quality. Our superior techniques have resulted in finishes on solid brass hardware that are up to 300 percent more durable than zinc hardware finishes.
- Honesty – We provide honest service and honest hardware that is built to stand the test of time. Cliffside Industries is a trusted source of industry-leading customer service and products you can depend on.
- Advancement – Cliffside Industries believes in innovation and improvement. We have adapted and progressed over three decades of industry success and continue to charge our working environment with inspiration and originality. Our creative designs offer advanced options to create a full range of styles for any shaker kitchen cabinet.
- Known quality – Cliffside Industries has been family owned and operated since 1987. We are an industry leader, known for our quality products and top-level customer care.
- Excellence – At Cliffside Industries, quality is the top characteristic defining everything we do. We hold our staff and our products to the highest standards of excellence to ensure our customers are completely satisfied.
- Relationships – We founded our business on one-on-one relationships and personal contact with customers. This honest, open communication with each client still drives our business operations today.
When you want the best hardware to complete your shaker kitchen cabinets, contact our team. Our additional service advantages include:
- Time-tested hardware designs
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View our catalog for the best selections for your Shaker kitchen cabinets. We invite you to contact our experienced team with any questions about our product line, and we look forward to becoming your kitchen hardware partner for life.