Discovering Shaker Style - Shaker Kitchen Handles and Knobs
- What makes a shaker kitchen?
- How does traditional shaker style fit with modern kitchen design?
- Exploring shaker kitchen handles and knobs
- Discover your own shaker style
So, what is shaker style? Shaker kitchen design is inspired by the Shaker movement, a religious community that formed in Albany, New England in 18th century America. The Shakers believed that making things simply and well was an act of prayer, and that principle was reflected in the simplicity and craftsmanship of their furniture and architectural styles, including of course their kitchens.
What Makes a Shaker Kitchen?
A shaker kitchen is characterised by clean lines and minimalist aesthetic. It typically features straightforward, unadorned cabinet doors and drawers with a flat inset panel. They are often made of solid wood, painted or stained in earthy tones, or simply left in a natural state.
Traditional shaker kitchens are elegantly practical and efficient with no ornate detailing. Often incorporating natural elements such as wood countertops, and open shelving, shaker kitchens create a warm and inviting space. Because of this, the shaker kitchen style has endured, remaining popular with its classic and versatile appeal.
How Does Traditional Shaker Style Fit with Modern Kitchen Design?
So modern shaker kitchens have evolved over the years to accommodate contemporary requirements and reflect shifting trends while still maintaining the essence of the shaker style, which is down to timeless design, construction methods and materials, and colour palette.
Construction & Materials
Craftsmanship techniques are often employed in the construction of shaker kitchen cabinets and drawers, typically the rail and stile method. Common joints include dovetail, mortise and tenon, and tongue and groove.
These traditional joints ensure strength and durability while showcasing the skill and attention to detail of the cabinet maker. Authentic shaker-style workmanship can also include subtle styling features such as bevelled edges and rounded corners on cabinets, drawers and worktops.
Classic shaker cabinets and drawers are made of timber, often pine or maple. Modern shaker kitchens use a wider range of woods including white oak, cherry, ash and plywood.
Extending the Colour Palette
Originally shaker kitchens were decorated in simple colours, often bright single colours, such as light blues and greens, white and cream or natural wood stains.
Contemporary shaker kitchens commonly feature a range of colour tones: off-whites and light pastel shades are popular choices. These colours contribute to the clean and airy feel of a kitchen while allowing other elements to stand out.
Modern shaker kitchens also often feature bolder colours, muted greys and black for a more sophisticated vibe.
Modern and Traditional Shaker Kitchen Features
Traditional shaker kitchens incorporate natural elements. Wood countertops, butcher block islands and farmhouse sinks are common features that add warmth and organic feel to the kitchen space.
Mixing features that are not typically shaker with a kitchen design, such as Belfast sinks and shaker fittings in non-traditional finishes helps keep the shaker aesthetic but with an infusion of other styles. A simple kitchen element that can help evolve classic shaker style, significantly impacting the look, are cupboard and drawer handles and knobs.
Exploring Shaker Kitchen Handles and Knobs
Now you’ve got the lowdown on shaker kitchen style elements, you should keep those ideas in mind to help you choose the best cupboard and drawer handles and knobs. While shaker kitchen design emphasises clean lines and minimalist features, the choice of knobs and handles is crucial for the overall look and feel of your shaker kitchen.
So, what options are available for a shaker style kitchen? Here are some examples for inspiration:
Cup Pull Handles
The handle perhaps most associated with the shaker kitchen style are cup pulls, also known as shell pulls, bin pulls or half-moon pulls. They have a distinctive cup-style shape that allows your fingers to fit comfortably underneath, providing a firm grip for opening and closing drawers and cabinets.
A popular shaker fitting, cup pulls can be used throughout your kitchen design for a uniform look. They also work well harmonised with other handle and knob types. Traditionally cup pulls are used for drawers, with cabinets having round knobs. For a more modern look, drawer cup pulls can be paired with cupboard bar pull handles.
Cup pulls come in various sizes, styles and finishes, making them versatile and adaptable to different kitchen designs. They can complement both classic and contemporary shaker aesthetics, depending on the specific style chosen.
Choosing the right cup pull finish for your shaker kitchen can make a huge difference to its look and feel. For old-style shaker character consider antique pewter or brass finishes. For a more contemporary style try brushed nickel or brushed chrome. Or mix and match.
When it comes to shaker kitchens, bar pull cupboard and drawer handles are a popular choice—and with good reason. Choosing the right bar pulls can elevate your shaker kitchen design, for perfect functionality with classic minimalist appeal.
T-bar and flat bar pulls are perfect for the simplicity of the shaker kitchen aesthetic. Their straight, clean lines compliment shaker recessed panelling, maintaining the understated elegance of shaker style.
If you want to infuse other design styles, such as Victorian rustic or modern industrial into your shaker kitchen, consider bar pulls with a more elaborate design or alternative finishes. Look for handles with rounded ends, tapered bars, period designs and tactile knurled grips.
Finishes like pewter or matt nickel will accentuate the old world look and appeal of your shaker kitchen. Opting for stainless steel or satin nickel finishes will help achieve a more contemporary look. Or choose matte black for a striking contrast against white or light-coloured cabinet doors and drawers.
And don’t forget, bar pulls don’t always need to be horizontal. They are often mounted vertically on shaker cabinet doors and horizontally on drawers. You could also opt for short bar pulls positioned vertically on drawers, for something a little out of the ordinary, adding an extra touch of visual interest.
Bow and D Handles
Bow and D pulls are a popular choice for shaker kitchens. There are a wide variety of styles available, from minimalist to more elaborate designs. Bow and D pulls can work well in traditional shaker kitchens, in modern shaker designs and in a blend of classic and contemporary.
Bow pulls have an arched, semi-circle handle shape, while D pulls provide a more angular look which is particularly suited to modern shaker kitchen styles.
Bow and D pulls are typically made of brass, aluminium, zinc or steel, offering a range of polished chrome, brushed and antique finishes that can coordinate with your kitchen's hardware, such as taps, light fixtures and appliances, or create a contrasting accent.
The gentle curves of bow handles can soften the more angular lines of shaker cabinetry and add a touch of classic elegance, while modern D pulls provide an edgier vibe, contrasting between the old-style and contemporary shaker sensibilities.
Ring pulls, also known as drop handles or pendant pulls, are a distinctive hardware choice that can offer a more unusual, creative look in shaker kitchen design. With their circular or semi-circular shape, ring pulls offer a vintage-inspired aesthetic that complements the traditional sensibility of the shaker style. These handles consist of a ring or loop attached to a backplate, allowing easy gripping and effortless operation of shaker cabinet doors and drawers.
Ring pull design is varied, ranging from circular pendent-style and shaped rings with plain or ornate backplates, to flush ring pulls in circular and D designs for a cleaner, more even look. Ring pulls can introduce a focal point and an eye-catching accent to shaker kitchens.
Which ring pull material you choose will depend on your shaker kitchen’s style. They are commonly available in brass, as well as iron and steel, in brushed and antique finishes.
Whether you’re looking for a rustic or vintage look, or a more contemporary twist, ring pulls are found in a diverse range of shaker kitchens. Their versatility means they can combine with both artisan and modern elements.
Shaker cabinet and drawer knobs offer a wider choice of designs, materials and finishes to fit a variety of periods or styles. Traditional shaker kitchens use plain, minimalist round, ringed and pointed knobs made from simple materials: oak or pine wood and metals such as iron, pewter or brass.
But the range of knobs available for the shaker style goes way beyond the traditional. For example, there are many ceramic knob designs available, from simple, round and coloured, to pattern designs, to fluted flowers or mushrooms.
Metal knobs offer the full range, from vintage Georgian rope to Victorian orb designs, to art deco ceramics or a modern industrial look in knurled brushed nickel or antique brass.
It’s details such as handles and knobs that can add a unique twist to traditional shaker kitchens, as an integral part of an overall kitchen design. Mixing handles with knobs is common and works well too.
Remember, there are no hard and fast rules. Shaker kitchens offer a world of possibilities, in myriad design and hardware combinations.
Discover Your Own Shaker Style
Hopefully now you have a good idea of what makes a shaker kitchen and have some ideas for your own kitchen design, whether it’s artisanal shaker, shaker with a twist, or a bolder take on the shaker aesthetic, blending periods and styles.
As we’ve explored in this blog, handles and knobs are a vital part of your shaker kitchen's design. But also consider, replacing handles and knobs is a simple and inexpensive way to refresh your existing kitchen’s vibe. Changing handles and knobs is an easy DIY job that could give your kitchen a new lease of life. Also, if you're interested in kitchen design, you might find the Pros and Cons of a Handleless Kitchen, interesting, as well as this budget friendly kitchen makeover article.
Find your inspiration at the Hiatt online store.