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What is Shaker Style Furniture?

what is shaker style

Almost everyone has some idea of what Shaker Style Furniture is. They think of simple, hardworking folks making furniture during a hardworking, simpler time. And they wouldn’t be that far off. The Shakers, known to themselves as the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, came to America in the 18th century for the freedom to practice their religion. Originally settling northwest of Albany, NY, they eventually expanded into Ohio and New England.

The nickname “The Shakers” was given to them due to a distinctive practice of exuberant dancing during worship. They believed in communal living and shared all property among the group. Deeply religious, they held that God was realized within the details of hard work. Therefore, they strived for perfection in everything they did. You can tell by the craftsmanship that went into making (what is now known as) Shaker style furniture. While you won’t find more than a handful of Shakers alive today, Shaker furniture is still a much-loved style in the USA. 

Shaker Furniture in your Home

Decorating in traditional Shaker style avoids splashes of bright color, leaning instead toward shades of cream, beige and brown. Furniture choices should be almost humble in nature, made out of native American hardwoods such as white and red oak, cherry, and maple. Hallmarks include clean lines and gentle curves with tapered legs. Any adornments are made of wood and only added for the sake of function. It’s a durable yet elegant style that has maintained its popularity for over 250 years. This simplistic style appealed to the Amish people as it aligns well with their love of hardwood, traditional craftsmanship, and attention to detail. If you’re searching for a style that defies trends and never looks dated, this may be exactly what you’re looking for. 

Shaker Style Kitchens

shaker style kitchen cabinetsShaker kitchens may be one of the most well-loved styles ever. The quiet nature of Shaker furniture gives balance to a room that is often hovering on the brink of chaos. The round, Regal Shaker Single Base Table is a perfect example of a Shaker pedestal table. It’s unpretentious with a one-inch top and gentle curve to the pedestal base. When matched with these chairs, it’s the perfect place for a casual family visit or spending an afternoon chatting over coffee with friends. 

And of course, you can’t talk about a Shaker kitchen without paying special homage to the cabinets. Shaker cabinets are absolutely beautiful in their simplicity. The Shaker style doors found on these cabinets is known as the principle of five-piece construction. It consists of a flat panel of wood surrounded by four more boards to create a sort of frame around the original flat panel. People still obsess over the simplicity of this style today. In fact, a lot of modern kitchens have Shaker style cabinets.  These doors are paired with wooden knobs and handles and bring a sense of quiet and calm to the room. To keep your cabinets looking authentic, use a natural finish, light stain, or paint them white and watch your whole kitchen transform. 

Shaker Style Living Room Furniture

Including some Shaker elements into your living room is a great way to get back to the basics. The Shakers allowed nothing in their dwellings that wasn’t considered useful. There were no pieces of art or pictures on the wall. No accent walls, bright colored throw pillows or knick knacks. A place for everything and everything in its place. Start with a coffee table like this one that features a three-quarter inch top and a dovetailed drawer with traditional round drawer pull. Pair it with two of these matching end tables to complete the set.

Traditional Shaker rules allowed for one rocking chair in every room, so go ahead and do the same! This rocker is a timeless classic that goes perfectly in your living room, den or nursery. It’s perfect spending the evening winding down and reading a good book.

If you’re looking for something really special, invest in one of our Shaker Grandfather Clocks. Our clocks are custom-built to complement both traditional and contemporary design styles. You can choose from a wooden or glass door, add storage drawers or even incorporate a wine cabinet. Shaker pieces may look delicate, but they are well-known for their strength and durability. You will be enjoying your furniture for years to come.

Shaker Style Bedroom Furniture

shaker style dresserYou want your bedroom to be an oasis. A place to retreat to at the end of the day, feeling safe and secure. As you begin to envision your layout, think about the overall mood of the room. A true Shaker style room will stick with muted colors, almost monotone in nature. Include lots of items made of natural linen and wool. Opt for a simple coverlet and a single pillow on the bed.

As for the bed itself, take a look at our Lane Shaker Bed. The rustic look of this bed is elevated by an understated elegance. Solid wood construction complete with parallel slats so often found in Shaker style furniture make this a stand out piece in the room. Add a couple of nightstands, a dresser and armoire and you are on your way! If you’re starting from scratch, our Shaker Mill Bedroom Set includes everything you need. Just know that when you invest in Amish-made Shaker style pieces for your bedroom, you’re getting beautiful furniture that is also functional and long-lasting. 

Peg Boards

We would be remiss if we didn’t dedicate some space to the wonder of Shaker peg boards. The Shakers had ingenious ways of making the most of all spaces. They made peg boards from simple boards with round wooden pegs fashioned into them approximately every six inches. Peg boards were used for everything. From hanging pots and pans, chairs, brooms and other cleaning supplies – to hats, jackets and more. In these modern days, you may not want to place them in every room. But they’re perfect for closets, bedrooms, mud rooms, and kitchens. You can use them to hang up your keys, bags, or jackets. Use them in your bedroom closet for quick access to your comfy pants. Or place in the bathroom for an easy way to hang up a wet towel. It’s a brilliant method of organization!

Our Shaker Style Furniture

In the end, Shaker style is all about simplicity, quality and functionality. Nothing wasted. Everything has a reason (or better, more than one reason) for being there. It’s uncluttered, unadorned, and stress free. The furniture is strong, simple and elegant. The Shakers built every piece based on the belief that details matter. From the kitchen to the bedroom, we know you’ll be enjoying your Shaker pieces for many, many years.

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