Published on November 13, 2020

tan kitchen with wood beam ceiling Pin It
Courtesy of deVOL

“Less is more” is the motto for Shaker kitchen cabinets. Unlike beadboard or French country, it’s what these cupboards lack that helps them stand out. The creators of the style, the Shaker community, believed in thoughtful, functional forms and proportions, which is why you’ll find there’s no fussy grooves or grilles in sight, just one central recessed panel, two vertical pieces on the sides (called stiles), and two horizontal pieces on the top and bottom (or rails). Simplicity has staying power: These doors were popular in 1850 and they’re still all the rage today. 

The beauty of Shaker-style kitchen cabinets is that they have a chameleon-like quality that appeals to so many aesthetics, not just traditional and cottagecore. These nine classically cool spaces are in it for the long run. 

The New Two-Tone

black and white kitchen Pin It
Photography by British Standard

Usually when we see two solid colors in one kitchen, a clear line has been drawn at the countertop, but the rules don’t have to be so black and white. Were it not for the graphic bit of black that cuts across the upper cabinet doors, this space by British Standard Cupboards might read as traditional. Rethinking your paint choices—or, really, the placement—can change everything. 

The Better-Than-Tile Backsplash

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Photography by Richard Powers; Design by Commune

Classic blue-green Shaker cabinets look totally fresh in this Commune-designed home, where the dark doors have been paired with a delicate floral wallpaper. Protecting the treatment from any moisture is a low copper backsplash that adds a hint of glamour to the room. 

The Solid Foundation 

white and green kitchen Pin It
Courtesy of DeVol

Open shelving has come to define modern kitchen design, but the feature happens to play nicely with noncontemporary cupboards. DeVol shows us how to mix old and new in this space, where the base cabinets are painted a breezy shade of sage green and the walls have been left exposed. The brass bars help make up for any lost storage.

The Radiant Range

white kitchen with black stovePin It
Photography by Jessica Helgerson Interior Design

In this no-nonsense kitchen, designed by Jessica Helgerson, even the hood is Shaker inspired (peep the detailing in the center that looks like stiles). Marble subway tiles that stretch from floor to ceiling and a jet-black Lacanche range make for an all-around sophisticated space.  

The IKEA Score

white cabients with pink walls Pin It
Photography by Gina Rachelle Design and Max Maloney; Build by Mike Vasilas

You don’t have to splurge on custom millwork to get your dream cupboards. In this space, designer Gina Gutierrez saved the homeowner $9,000 by going with an IKEA option (the Swedish retailer sells individual doors that start at $65). 

The “What Fridge?”

dark kitchen cabinets Pin It
Photography by Studio McGee

A shiny stainless steel appliance can break up a streamlined kitchen, so consider covering the refrigerator with the wood panels, too. If you’re using a dark color (Studio McGee went with Benjamin Moore’s Midnight Blue in this kitchen) and it’s feeling cave-like, mix in some glass fronts to help natural light bounce around. 

The Old Made New Again

blue kitchen cabinets Pin It
Photography by Dustin Halleck; Design by Elizabeth Stamos

So you already have Shaker-style cabinets, but they aren’t totally your style? A lick of paint can fix that, even if they are super-dated. Designer Elizbeth Stamos spruced up her drab cherry doors by painting them in Benjamin Moore’s Solitude, a soft baby blue color. It’s also much cheaper than getting new cabinets altogether, even if you go the IKEA route (Stamos saved $35,000 by sticking with the ones she had). 

The Naturally Patterned One

wood kitchen cabinets Pin It
Photography by Naked Kitchens

True to form, these natural wood doors are the epitome of the utilitarian style. Matte black lighting and hardware is a fitting choice for the minimally treated fronts. Go with a wood species that has an intriguing grain pattern, like a walnut, birch, or pine. 

The Sensible Storage Nook

fire wood in a open cabinet Pin It
Courtesy of deVOL

Given this style is all about living practically, feel free to store other things in here that aren’t dishware. Deep, open boxes can be used for serveware, baskets, small appliances, and even firewood if you’re going for an authentic Hansel and Gretel vibe. 

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