The shaker style is the key to a timeless house design

A timeless kitchen with various pots and pans on a shelf.

While trends often capture our interest, it’s always best to go for timeless styles when it comes to interior house design.

Every year or so, a new trend comes that captures the interior designers’ and homeowners’ attention. While the Shaker design started as a trend that gained great popularity quickly, it didn’t fade away like many other styles, but it continued to capture the public’s attention. Its features are prime examples of home interior characteristics that make a timeless design. The Shakers’ contributions to home design are extremely valuable and enjoy a worldwide appeal. 

The Shakers’ promoted a minimalist life and preferred simple furnishing in their houses; they could move easily and make enough space for family activities. You might find this article interesting if you want to build your house design around these values. 

What you should know about the Shaker style

The Shaker community brought furniture made from inexpensive materials in their houses, and they often opted for pine or other similar natural options. However, the modern-day style includes elements made from a mixture of materials. The style maintained its minimalist and sleek lines, and it still promotes a sense of humbleness. But it no longer contains furniture made from untreated materials. Painted and stained furnishings are more of its thing now. 

The Shaker style is very traditional at its core, but it can make a timeless design when infused with modern touches. Interior design trends don’t exist in a vacuum, so the longer they stay, the more influences and changes they experience. 

What are the main features of the Shaker design?

The Shaker style puts function first

As mentioned earlier, the Shaker community wanted to decorate their houses with items that made their life easier and fit their needs. Therefore, the defining principle of the style is to put function above other features. You’ll notice, for example, that most Shaker kitchen units resemble wooden pieces, feature clean lines, and have no ostentatious aesthetic ornamentations. 

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It doesn’t mean that the Shaker style lacks sophistication, but its cleanliness and elegant flourishes make it a timeless design. You’ll notice that some of the furnishings manufactured in this style have little carvings inspired by nature. 

The Shaker design promotes simplicity, so the interiors often have negative spaces and little to no decorations and accessories. If there are accessories, they are functional and hence serve a purpose. 

High-quality materials

While the Shakers opted for affordable materials, the current interior design style is based on the idea of using items that stand the test of time. The furnishings the shakers used to decorate their houses were mostly made by hand, so they carefully crafted them to meet their needs and allow them to save resources in the long run. Nowadays, homeowners don’t make their furniture by hand, but the style mirrors the community’s old principles; therefore, most items resembling it are made from high-quality natural materials. 

When purchasing furnishing and flooring to decorate a Shaker house, look for items made of wood like pine, maple, or cherry. The same goes for textiles; it’s recommended to opt for floor coverings, blankets, and pillows made from materials like silk, cotton, or wool. 

The Shaker design promotes a neutral colour palette

As mentioned earlier, the Shakers referred to the kind of décor that matched their simple lifestyle, and if they could, they took advantage of everything nature provided. Shaker homes are constructed on an almost entirely neutral palette. While other interior design styles include accent and bold hues, this one is an exception and relies heavily on bright hues. There are no harsh contrasts between the shades, but all tones are muted. Oatmeal, off-white, greys, and tans, are the go-to colours of a Shaker palette. 

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However, when you design a house using only neutral shades, you must keep in mind the 10-30-60 rule; otherwise, you could end up with boring or bland-looking interiors. Cover 60% of the surface of a room with colour, use another hue for the rest of 30%, and sprinkle some small accessories and decorations for the 10%.  

An austere vibe

The Shaker architecture lacks all elements that might create the impression of an overwhelming space. The first dwelling houses were built to resemble rectangular boxes, with no wraparound porches, no interior or exterior columns, and no millwork. Shaker properties are highly functional, so for example, when a house features shutters, they are installed inside the house and are fully operable to prevent cold drafts and summer sun rays. 

In the past, Shaker residences were built to home large families, so they were quite large and usually reached three or four stories. Everything inside had utilitarian purposes and served particular needs. 

Shaker houses invite light inside

We already mentioned that Shaker houses promote neutral colour palettes, so nearly everything inside and outside will come in smooth and warm hues. You’ll have minimal pops of colour; if there are any, they’re usually in natural shades like green, yellow, or blue. Most Shaker properties feature wood accents, and the entire colour scheme starts from brown shades. 

Shakers have always tried to bring as much light as possible into their houses because they associate it with purity and liberty. The present Shaker trend still promotes this idea, and most dwellings have large windows, skylights, interior cutouts, and light-coloured surfaces that reflect sun rays. 

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The Shaker design is different from the Scandinavian one

While both interior design styles feature some common characteristics, they are quite different when it comes to the final touches. They emphasize light and minimalism and require the creation of open spaces. And while they both have simple lines and encourage a lack of embellishments, the Shaker design relies more on hand-crafted elements, traditional accessories, and darker wooden elements. 

Therefore, if you’re striving for a timeless design for your house, the Shaker style might do the trick. However, research extensively to ensure that you truly understand what makes it unique. 

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