The Contemporary Shaker kitchen design style blends the clean, practical aesthetic of traditional Shaker furniture with the convenience and style of modern kitchens. This timeless look provides a streamlined, functional space that suits both classic and contemporary homes. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore the history, key elements, and tips for achieving the Contemporary Shaker kitchen style in your home.

A Brief History of Shaker Design

The Shaker religious sect valued simplicity, functionality, and craftsmanship. Their furniture and architecture reflected these ideals with spare, elegant designs constructed from quality materials. Some key principles of Shaker style include:

  • Clean lines and straightforward silhouettes
  • Little ornamentation beyond functional details
  • High-quality natural materials like wood, metal, stone
  • Efficient use of space and storage solutions
  • Multi-purpose, adaptable furniture

Shaker craftsmen made innovative use of new woodworking machines and materials as they became available in the 1800s. Their signature ladderback chairs, rectangular tables, and built-in cabinetry have stood the test of time.

Many contemporary designers continue to draw inspiration from Shaker style. Its timeless appeal and focus on practicality align well with modern aesthetics. The simplified Shaker look also provides a pleasing contrast to our complex, technology-filled world.

Defining the Contemporary Shaker Kitchen

A Contemporary Shaker kitchen bridges old and new. It combines the proven functional elements of Shaker style with modern innovations.

Blending Traditional Shaker Style with Contemporary Touches

The clean-lined cabinets and lack of lavish detailing connect back to the Shaker’s “less is more” approach. Yet hardware, surfaces, lighting and extras add 21st century style and convenience.

Some traditional Shaker style kitchen features include:

  • Flat recessed cabinet doors with integrated handles
  • Square Shaker-style cabinet pulls
  • Wood countertops or ceramic tile backsplashes
  • Built-in cabinetry like hutches and benches
  • Visible hinges
  • Unadorned fixtures like pendant lights
  • Wood flooring

Contemporary twists might include:

  • Modern cabinets in bold colors or with glass fronts
  • Updated hardware like tubular pulls in satin nickel
  • Engineered stone or quartz countertops
  • Stainless steel appliances and sinks
  • Open shelving and custom organizational features
  • Pendant lighting over an island
  • Hardwood flooring with radiant heat

The overall look remains clean and utilitarian. Yet the contemporary touches ensure a kitchen that’s stylish and meets the needs of a modern household.

Focusing on Function and Long-Lasting Materials

Like the Shakers, the Contemporary Shaker kitchen emphasizes utility and durability over trends. It’s designed for cooking, cleaning, dining, and socializing.

The space is carefully planned to maximize workflow and storage with features like:

  • Plentiful cabinetry and drawers
  • Pull-out shelves and trays
  • Pantries, hutches and bench seating
  • Islands with barstool seating
  • Durable surfaces that are easy to clean

While some modern elements are mixed in, natural materials still take center stage. Wood, stone, tile and stainless steel create a kitchen built to handle everyday use for years to come.

Key Elements that Define the Look

Certain components come together to create the recognizable Contemporary Shaker aesthetic. Keep these elements in mind as you design your own kitchen.

Simple Unadorned Cabinets

Shaker-style cabinets with recessed flat panel doors and integrated handles are a Contemporary Shaker kitchen’s anchor. Stick to a minimalist design free of excessive trim or decoration beyond simple hardware.

Crisp white, stained wood or painted cabinets in muted neutrals work best. Go for a uniform look across both upper and lower cabinets. Glass-front accent cabinets can add brightness without disrupting the streamlined aesthetic.

High-Quality Natural Materials

Wood, stone, tile, glass and metal convey simple organic elegance. Pick durable surfaces that age gracefully, as the Shakers did.

For counters, soapstone, marble, butcher block and quartz are fitting options. Backsplashes may be classic white subway tile, marble or ceramic.

Add visual warmth with wood floors or exposed ceiling beams. Wrought iron light fixtures and stainless steel appliances also connect to the traditional Shaker material palette.

Built-In Storage and Organization

Make the most of every inch with built-in shelving, hutches and benches. This maximizes storage while keeping the look uncluttered.

Integrated organizational must-haves include:

  • Trays and pull-out drawers
  • Spice racks
  • Wastebin cubbies
  • Pantries
  • Drawer dividers
  • Pegboards and hooks

These purposeful additions maintain the kitchen’s practical, efficient roots. Consider custom or DIY built-ins for an authentic blend of form and function.

Clean-Lined Hardware and Fixtures

Choose hardware like bar pulls, bin pulls or knobs in a satin nickel or black finish. Go for a streamlined style versus decorative shapes. Simpler is better.

For fixtures, select low-profile pendant lights or recessed lighting. Include some task lighting as well, like LED under-cabinet strips.

Avoid elaborate moldings or medallions. Even kitchen sinks should be deep and utilitarian. Same goes for stainless appliances – opt for classic style fridges and ranges without flashy finishings.

Design Tips and Ideas

Keep these pointers in mind when planning your Contemporary Shaker kitchen remodel:

Choose an overall neutral palette. A light, bright kitchen helps the clean lines shine. Use cream, grey or white on walls and cabinetry. Add pops of color with appliances, tiles or accessories.

Incorporate natural wood accents. Wood lends warmth and connects to Shaker style. Try oak or maple for floors, butcher block counters or open shelving.

Use windows wisely. Maximize natural light through big windows, a glass door, or skylights. Add breezy curtains or shades in a neutral linen or cotton.

Feature an oversized island. Islands are a must for prep space, storage and seating. Go big enough to allow at least 36 inches of clearance on all sides.

Include bench seating. Make a built-in bench part of your dining area. Add storage underneath and toss some comfy cushions on top.

Install glass-front cabinets. Glass cabinets break up solid cabinetry while showing off pretty dishware. Try open shelving too if a tidy look is doable.

Upgrade hardware. Swap basic silver knobs for satin bronze bin pulls or handles for a more modern but still minimalist look.

Add a backsplash. White subway tile is classic, or go for marble or ceramic in grey tones. Avoid bold patterns that compete with Shaker simplicity.

Pair down wall décor. Leave most walls bare to keep the focus on a few key pieces. Opt for clean-lined mirrors or floating shelves to display ceramics.

Common Questions About the Contemporary Shaker Kitchen

Need more info about achieving this enduring, versatile style? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions:

What paint color goes well with Shaker cabinets?

Stick with light neutrals like cream, soft grey, ivory white or antique white. Avoid going too dark or vibrant. Wolf Gray by Behr is one popular light grey shade for Shaker kitchens.

What backsplash looks best with white Shaker cabinets?

White subway tile is a classic choice. For something more unique, try Carrara marble mosaic tile or white penny tile with grey grout lines. Simple is best.

What kitchen island is best for a Shaker kitchen?

Opt for an oversized island with straight lines and panels that matches your Shaker cabinets. Include storage drawers and an overhang for seating. Avoid ornate legs or details.

What flooring works with a Contemporary Shaker kitchen?

Hardwood like oak adds warmth. For easy maintenance, porcelain plank tile mimics wood well. Concrete or stone look modern too. Just avoid overly busy patterns that take away from Shaker simplicity.

What type of counters should I use in a Shaker kitchen?

Quartz or butcher block fit the aesthetic. Marble is classic too but requires more maintenance. Stone like soapstone is naturally antibacterial making it perfect for food prep.

Are Shaker kitchens expensive?

They can be comparable in cost to many other styles. Using pre-made Shaker cabinets versus custom ones helps control costs. Opt for mid-range faucets and fixtures over luxury brands to save as well.

What backsplash works with wood cabinets?

Natural stone, ceramic or glass tiles coordinate beautifully with wood cabinetry. Try a white marble herringbone pattern or muted glass mosaic tiles.

Achieving a Contemporary Shaker Kitchen

The Shaker influence has persisted for decades because of its focus on quality, simplicity and purpose. A Contemporary Shaker kitchen honors tradition through clean lines, high-end materials and functional solutions.

By blending proven Shaker elements with modern innovations, you can create a kitchen that truly stands the test of time. Use these insights to thoughtfully design your ideal contemporary-meets-classic cooking space.