Shaker Cabinets: The Look and Name Explained

Shaker Cabinets: The Look and Name Explained

Many people have heard of the term shaker cabinets, but what exactly does “shaker” mean? This article will seek to answer your questions, and share the history of these cabinets with you. You'll learn how these magnificent pieces of cabinetry got their name, specifications of their constructions, as well as a few tips on using them in your kitchen!

What Are Shaker Cabinets?

Shaker cabinets are a popular choice in the world of cabinetry. Simple but aesthetically pleasing, shakers cabinet doors are cope-and-stick construction and recessed panel doors with simple and clean inside edges. This means that the stiles and rails, the vertical and horizontal frame pieces respectively, are joined with the rails fitting between the stiles forming a 90-degree angle. 

A kitchen with solid wood, traditional shaker cabinets

From the ground up, shaker cabinets are known for their minimalistic look. You will often find them are finished with light colors and feature basic hardware; which makes them perfect for anyone looking to keep their space clean-lined without any unnecessary details getting in the way of functionality.

How Shaker Cabinets Got Their Name

It might seem like a simple cabinetry style, but the history of shaker cabinets is rich and surprising. To find out how this beautiful design got its name we need to take a look back at its 18th-century roots where the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing—also known as Shakers- came into being. They formed near the end of the 1740s after breaking away from Quakers.

In the 1780s, this self-sufficient community immigrated to America where they became renowned for their simple living, communal lifestyle, and egalitarian ideals. They eventually spread across New England and began handcrafting high-quality shaker-style furniture including what is today known as shaker cabinets.

The Shaker community believed that everyone should have a purpose, and they saw the fulfillment of this purpose as a testament to their faith. With this motivation, the drive of refinement was necessary for their crafting process and brought out the highest-quality products. Furniture made by the shaker communities had been known for having an impeccable quality of workmanship from those days because it has always used only good material; its design would be durably simplistic without any unnecessary intricacies.

What Do Shaker Cabinets Look Like Today?

The Shaker community embraces simplicity in everything they do, so the cabinets are rather unadorned. However, over time some adaptations have been made to them that stray from this ideology and modernize the look of these simple pieces. Some examples include painting the cabinet a trendy color or customizing it with your individual style by adding stenciling to an existing design or custom glass panels.

Shaker Modern Thermofoil Shaker Elite Modern Thermofoil
Shaker Modern Thermofoil Cabinet Door Shaker Elite Modern Thermofoil Cabinet Door
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It's easy to see why the Shakers have had such a long-lasting legacy. The traditional look and feel of shaker cabinets made with solid wood are still the best for any room in your home, but even though solid wood is beautiful to look at it also needs loads of maintenance and comes with a high price tag.

MDF is a type of manufactured material that has become the most sought-after building material due to its strength and price. Like solid wood, MDF needs to be finished in order to protect and seal it. Thermofoil is one of the most effective sealants for MDF, and it can be made to replicate a wide variety of colors and styles, including the shaker-style! Thermofoil cabinets can be a great way to get the shaker style you want, without breaking the bank.

If your budget allows, traditional approaches with solid wood are an excellent material in terms of strength, durability, and longevity. Solid woods also can increase the value of a home which gives it good ROI potential

Check out our Modern Thermofoil series to see how designers are bringing this classic home staple into contemporary aesthetics. 

Are Shaker Cabinets Still An On-Trend Style?

Shaker cabinets have proven to be timeless and, surprisingly enough, they are not going anywhere anytime soon. The reason being is that there has been a resurgence of interest in the style with shakers becoming more popular for kitchens as well as bathrooms- even though it was originally classified as a traditional design. With the rise in usage of social media and technology like mobile devices and laptops this past decade or so (especially with people younger than 30), one would think these simple designs were on their way out but actually no!

Shaker cabinets offer all the versatility you need when it comes time to designing around your kitchen area - they come in different styles such as country, modern and more; giving new homeowners choices depending on their preference!

Unique Ways To Use Shaker Cabinets In Your Kitchen

Shaker cabinets are the quintessential American kitchen staple. However, this doesn’t mean you will need a traditional style to have shaker cabinets. To get an idea of how versatile these cabinet types can be, here's a list of some unique ways to spruce up this timeless piece in any room:

A two-tone kitchen with shaker cabinets

  • Opt For Two-Tone: For something modern, go for a two-tone kitchen that creates interest and a sense of more space. By painting your base cabinets a darker color than your upper cabinets, your ceiling will feel taller and make the room seem more open. 
  • Insert Beadboard Panels: Customizing your shaker doors with beadboard is a great way to create an updated farmhouse feel. Adding this vertical detail to your cabinets will add interest and direction to your space. If you are looking to buy shaker doors with beadboard already installed, check out our Camden doors!
  • Add Glass Fronts: Glass-front cabinets are in style and can help you elevate your shaker cabinets to the next level. You can convert your current shaker doors for glass, or you can order new doors pre-cut for glass. You can achieve this look with solid wood or thermofoil doors! 

Shaker Cabinet Doors Are Versatile And Timeless

The Shaker-style cabinets have been around for a long time and are not going anywhere anytime soon. The doors have evolved over the years, but since they were popularized in the 1800s, these cabinets fit seamlessly into any home décor style - whether it be rustic or modern.

Modern Shaker drawer fronts.

 If you are ready to start ordering or if you need assistance, please feel free to call us at 1-844-326-6680 or email Our team is here to help with everything from measuring to ordering.