What is Shaker Style...and who were the Shakers?

What is Shaker Style...and who were the Shakers?

The term shaker is used extensively in interior design. The classic Shaker kitchen, with it's simple recessed panel styling and clean lines, is one that has certainly stood the test of time and withstood the pressures of trendy design. But where did it all come from and what exactly defines the "shaker style"?

The Shakers

Despite the somewhat fun sounding name the Shakers were quite a serious bunch. The United Society of Believers was actually the full name for a religious group also known as the Shakers. Founded in the late 1700s in New England they were a break away group from the more well known Quakers. The name itself came from the shaking motion often seen during worship as they danced and prayed. 

Shaker Furniture

The Shakers were known specifically for their craft skills and passion for making simple, strong and long lasting furniture. The ethos behind this was simple: they believed manufacturing should be honest. This meant veneers and the like were considered deceitful. They were also not keen on detailed decorative work so their furniture was often very simple. At the time in the US imported wood was very common but the Shakers chose to use local materials like pine, maple and cherry. They were also known for staining and painting the wood naturally favouring colours like greens, yellows and reds. A final difference compared to other furniture of the time was the practice of using wooden knobs for cupboard handles rather than brass.

Shaker Style

The simple, ethos behind Shaker furniture is the main reason it is still so popular. Less really can be more and for many people the clean lines and classically simple feel make for the perfect kitchen cabinets and furniture. 

In many cases the original idea behind the Shakers' craftsmanship has been lost in favour of "shaker style" furniture to suit the modern way of life. Adding glass into cabinets and citing traditional style finishes next to high tech gadgets are not what the Shakers might have imagined but from an interior design point of view Shaker style furniture is still a go to choice.

Our James Shaker style bar stool is certainly a popular option. Their solid beech frame and clean elegant shape ensures they are just as at home in a more contemporary style kitchen as well as something more in line with the original Shaker Style.

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