What Are Shaker Cabinets: A Brief Overview

What are shaker cabinets?

What are Shaker cabinets? This is a question many people in the home improvement sector are asking. Shaker cabinets have gained immense popularity in modern kitchen design. This is because of their timeless appeal and functional characteristics. The simplicity and elegance of cabinets make them a popular choice for homeowners seeking a contemporary look.

In this article, you will explore the history, design features, materials used, pros and cons, and more related to shaker so you can make a decision based on the overall factors.

What Are Shaker Cabinets: An Introduction

Shaker cabinets are a type of kitchen cabinet known for their minimalist and clean design. They take inspiration from the Shaker movement. It was a religious sect that believed in simplicity, functionality, and craftsmanship. Shaker cabinets embody these principles, making them a sought-after choice in kitchen design. Below, you will learn about the history and origin of Shaker cabinets, their characteristics and design features, and the overall materials used in their construction.

History and Origin of Shaker Cabinets

Do you want to know why do they call them Shaker Cabinets? These cabinets originated in the mid-18th century when the Shaker movement peaked. The Shakers, known for their skilled craftsmanship, designed furniture that reflected their principles. Their cabinets featured recessed panels, sturdy construction, and straight lines. These are the defining characteristics of shaker cabinets today.

Characteristics and Design Features

Shaker cabinets are known for their distinct characteristics and design features, making them a timeless choice in cabinetry. They embody a minimalistic and understated design approach, with clean lines, straight edges, and a lack of ornate embellishments. Shaker cabinets typically feature a recessed or flat center panel surrounded by a simple rectangular frame, stiles, and rails. This frame and panel construction technique enhances their durability and strength.

The emphasis of Shaker cabinets is on functional simplicity and practicality. They are designed with adjustable shelves and drawers to maximize storage space and ensure efficient organization. Shaker cabinets are made from high-quality hardwoods like maple, cherry, or oak and boast sturdy construction that can withstand daily use. They often feature natural finishes that highlight the beauty of the wood grain, with stains or clear coats preserving the natural color and texture.

Shaker cabinets are characterized by their simple and clean lines. They typically have recessed panels with a frame surrounding them. If you want to know what are Shaker cabinet doors made of, you are in the right place. The doors of the cabinets are usually five-piece construction, with a flat center panel and stiles and rails surrounding it. The simplicity of the design allows the cabinets to blend seamlessly with various kitchen styles.

Materials Used in Shaker Cabinet Construction

Do you want to know what are Shaker cabinets made of? Shaker cabinets are typically constructed using high-quality materials known for their durability and aesthetic appeal. The choice of materials plays a crucial role in ensuring the longevity and quality of the cabinets. Here are the materials commonly used in Shaker cabinet construction:

  • Hardwood: Shaker cabinets are often made from hardwoods such as maple, cherry, oak, or birch. These woods are known for their strength and durability, making them ideal for cabinet construction. Hardwoods also showcase the natural beauty of the wood grain, adding warmth and character to the cabinets.
  • Plywood: Plywood is another commonly used material in Shaker cabinet construction. It is made by layering thin sheets of wood and bonding them with adhesive. Plywood offers stability and strength while reducing the chances of warping or cracking. It is often used for cabinet boxes and interior components.
  • MDF (Medium Density Fiberboard): MDF is a composite material made from wood fibers and resin. It is dense, strong, and resistant to warping or shrinking, making it a popular choice for Shaker cabinet doors and panels. MDF can be painted or finished with veneer to achieve a smooth and uniform appearance.
  • Veneer: Veneer is a thin layer of wood applied to the cabinets’ surface to create a desired finish. It allows for various wood species and grain patterns to be used while maintaining cost-effectiveness. The veneer can be used on cabinet doors, drawer fronts, and other visible surfaces to achieve the desired aesthetic.

The selection of materials for Shaker cabinets often depends on factors such as budget, desired aesthetics, and durability requirements. The use of high-quality materials ensures that Shaker cabinets are not only visually appealing but also sturdy and long-lasting, providing functional and beautiful storage solutions for years to come.

Advantages of Shaker Cabinets

Do you want to know the various advantages of Shaker cabinets that contribute to their popularity? Below are a few of them:

  1. Timeless Design: The simple and elegant design ensures they remain relevant and stylish for years.
  2. Versatility: They can be easily incorporated into different kitchen styles. This allows for flexibility in design choices.
  3. Durability: Made with high-quality materials, shaker cabinets can withstand the test of time and daily use.
  4. Easy Maintenance: The flat surfaces make them easy to clean and maintain.
  5. Increased Home Value: They are highly desirable among homebuyers. This makes them an excellent investment for homeowners.

Popular Finishes and Colors

You may now know what are Shaker cabinets, but their range of finishes and colors is just as important. They are available in various finishes and colors. This allows homeowners to personalize their kitchen design. Some popular finishes include natural wood stains, painted finishes in various shades, and distressed finishes that add a vintage touch. 

It’s important to consider your space’s overall style, lighting, and other design elements when choosing finishes and colors for Shaker cabinets. Samples and swatches can be helpful to see how different options will look in your specific setting. Ultimately, the choice of finish and color should reflect your taste and the desired ambiance for your home.

How to Incorporate Shaker Cabinets in Different Kitchen Styles

One of the critical advantages of shaker cabinets is their versatility in adapting to different kitchen styles. Whatever your kitchen style may be, They can complement the overall design. Here are some ideas for having a Shaker cabinet kitchen:

1. Traditional Kitchen: Pair your cabinets with classic elements such as ornate hardware, decorative moldings, and a warm wood finish. This combination creates a timeless and inviting atmosphere.

2. Contemporary Kitchen: Opt for sleek and clean lines by choosing cabinets with a smooth painted finish. Consider using neutral or bold colors to create a modern and vibrant look. Minimalist hardware and simple countertop materials like quartz or stainless steel can further enhance the contemporary aesthetic.

3. Transitional Kitchen: Achieve a harmonious balance between traditional and contemporary by combining these cabinets with a mix of materials. For example, pair white shaker cabinets with a dark wood island or incorporate open shelving with shaker-style doors. This blending of styles creates an inviting and stylish transitional kitchen.

Maintenance and Cleaning Tips

Now that you know what are Shaker cabinets, regular maintenance and cleaning are essential to staying in top condition. Here are some tips to keep them looking their best:

1. Wipe spills and stains immediately: Clean up any spills or stains promptly to prevent them from penetrating the finish. Use a damp cloth or mild cleaning solution specifically designed for wood cabinets.

2. Avoid abrasive cleaners: Harsh or abrasive cleaners can damage the finish of your shaker cabinets. Instead, use gentle cleaning solutions or mild soap and water.

3. Regular dusting: Dust your cabinets regularly,. Use a soft cloth or a feather duster to remove any debris or particles that can accumulate over time.

4. Handle carefully: Be mindful of how you handle the cabinet doors and drawers. Avoid slamming them shut, and use the handles or knobs properly.

5. Protect from excessive moisture: Keep your cabinets away from direct contact with water or excessive moisture. This is because it can lead to warping or damage to the finish. Use coasters or mats under items that might leave water rings.

Cost Considerations and Budget-Friendly Options

Knowing what are Shaker cabinets is important, but you also need to know the cost to see if it fits in your overall renovation budget. The cost of shaker cabinets can vary depending on several factors. These include the materials used, construction quality, and the supplier. Solid wood shaker cabinets are more expensive than those made from MDF or plywood. But other affordable options still provide the desired look and durability.

If you’re on a tight budget, consider the following options:

1. RTA (Ready-to-Assemble) Cabinets: These cabinets are shipped in flat packs and can be assembled easily at home. They are typically more affordable compared to pre-assembled or custom-built cabinets.

2. Laminate or Thermofoil Finishes: These finishes mimic the appearance of wood at a lower cost. While they may not have the same natural beauty as solid wood, they can be a practical and budget-friendly alternative.

3. Refacing: If your existing cabinets are structurally sound but need a fresh look, consider cabinet refacing. This involves replacing the doors and drawer fronts while keeping the existing cabinet boxes. It’s a cost-effective way to achieve a new aesthetic without the expense of entirely replacing the cabinets.

Shaker Cabinets vs. Other Cabinet Styles

When choosing kitchen cabinets, it’s essential to consider different styles and how they compare to shaker cabinets. Here are a few comparisons between shaker cabinets and other popular cabinet styles:

1. Raised Panel Cabinets: Raised panels are more decorative and elaborate than shaker cabinets. They feature a raised center panel with intricate details and often suit traditional or formal kitchen styles.

2. Flat Panel Cabinets: Flat panel cabinets, also known as slab cabinets, have a simple and minimalist design. They lack the frame found in shaker cabinets, resulting in a sleek and modern look. Flat panel cabinets work well in contemporary or minimalist kitchen designs.

3. Glass-Front Cabinets: Glass-front cabinets offer a unique way to display dishware or decorative items. While shaker cabinets can also have glass inserts, the overall design remains more subtle and versatile than full glass-front cabinets.

Shaker Cabinets Customization Options

One of the advantages of shaker cabinets is their ability to be customized to suit individual preferences. Here are some customization options to consider:

1. Hardware: The choice of hardware, such as handles, knobs, or pulls, can significantly impact the overall look of your shaker cabinets. Consider different finishes, styles, and sizes to find the perfect complement to your kitchen design.

2. Finishes: These cabinets can be finished in various ways to match your desired aesthetic. Options include natural wood stains to enhance the grain, painted finishes in different colors, or distressed finishes for a vintage look.

3. Inserts and Accessories: Add functionality to your cabinets with customized inserts and accessories. Consider options like pull-out shelves, spice racks, or built-in dividers for better organization and storage efficiency.

4. Open Shelving: Incorporate open shelving alongside your cabinets to create a more open and airy feel in your kitchen. This allows you to showcase decorative items or frequently used dishes.

Eco-Friendly Aspects of Shaker-style Cabinets

If environmental sustainability is a priority, just knowing what are Shaker cabinets is not enough. You’ll be pleased to know that these cabinets offer eco-friendly features:

1. Use of Sustainable Materials: Many manufacturers prioritize using sustainably sourced wood or eco-friendly alternatives like bamboo or reclaimed wood in their shaker cabinet production.

2. Low VOC Finishes: Volatile Organic Compounds are chemicals found in paint and finishes that harm human health and the environment. Look for cabinets with low or zero VOC finishes minimizing air pollution and indoor toxins.

3. Durable Construction: These cabinets are built to last, reducing the need for frequent replacements. Investing in high-quality, durable cabinets minimizes waste and promotes sustainability.

Tips for Choosing the Right Hardware

The choice of hardware can significantly influence your shaker cabinets’ overall look and functionality. Here are some tips to help you select the proper hardware:

1. Consider the Style: Choose hardware that complements the overall design aesthetic of your kitchen. For a traditional look, opt for classic hardware with ornate details. For a modern or minimalist style, sleek and straightforward hardware works best.

2. Match the Finishes: Ensure the hardware finishes match or coordinate with other elements in your kitchen, such as faucets, lighting fixtures, and appliances. This creates a cohesive and harmonious look.

3. Try Samples: If you’re uncertain about which hardware to choose, consider getting samples to test them on your shaker cabinet doors and drawers. This allows you to visualize how they will look and feel before making a final decision.

4. Functionality and Comfort: Consider the ergonomics of the hardware. Ensure the handles or knobs are comfortable for griping and operating, especially for frequently used cabinets and drawers.

5. Quality and Durability: Invest in high-quality hardware that will withstand daily use and last years. Look for reputable brands known for their durability and reliability.

Professional Installation

Some homeowners may choose to install cabinets themselves. However, the professional installation offers several advantages:

1. Expertise: Professional installers have the knowledge and experience to install your cabinets correctly. This will maximize functionality and aesthetics.

2. Efficiency: Professionals can complete the installation process more efficiently, saving time and effort.

3. Warranty Coverage: Some cabinet manufacturers provide warranty coverage only if authorized professionals install the cabinets. Hiring a professional ensures your warranty remains valid.

4. Customization and Modifications: Professionals can provide tailored solutions if your kitchen requires customizations or modifications to accommodate the shaker cabinets.

5. Peace of Mind: Professional installation eliminates the stress and potential errors that can arise from a DIY installation. Knowing that your cabinets are installed securely and accurately gives you peace of mind.

What You Need To Know About Shaker Cabinets

Shaker cabinets are a popular style of kitchen cabinets known for their simplicity, timeless design, and functional appeal. Originating from the Shaker religious community in the 18th century, these cabinets have become a staple in modern interior design due to their clean lines and versatility.

Shaker cabinets offer a blend of simplicity, functionality, and timeless elegance, making them a versatile and attractive choice for kitchen design. Whether you’re aiming for a traditional or contemporary look, Shaker cabinets can provide the foundation for a stylish and practical kitchen space.


We hope this blog has answered your question of ‘what are shaker style kitchen cabinets’? Our cabinets are a timeless and versatile choice for kitchen design. They offer a balance of simplicity, elegance, and functionality. Their clean lines and minimalist design make them suitable for various kitchen styles. With customization options, durability, and eco-friendly aspects, cabinets remain popular among homeowners.

Shaker cabinets in your kitchen can enhance its aesthetic appeal and increase resale value. Whether you opt for classic wood finishes or bold painted colors, they provide a canvas for creativity. With proper maintenance and care, your shaker cabinets will bring beauty and functionality to you for years. For the best deals, you can shop your preferred color and finish of cabinets from our store, Badger Cabinets, in Oak Creek, Wisconsin.


1. Are shaker cabinets only suitable for traditional kitchen styles?

Shaker cabinets are not only suitable for traditional kitchen styles. While they have a classic and timeless appeal that pairs well with traditional designs, Shaker cabinets can also be incorporated into various other styles, including transitional, contemporary, and even modern aesthetics. Their clean lines and simplicity make them versatile and adaptable to different design preferences.

2. Can I paint my shaker cabinets myself?

Yes, you can paint your Shaker cabinets yourself. Painting your cabinets is a popular way to update their look and give your kitchen a fresh appearance. However, it requires careful preparation and attention to detail. Make sure to clean and sand the cabinets properly, apply a primer for better paint adhesion, and use high-quality paint suitable for cabinetry.

3. Are shaker cabinets more expensive than other cabinet styles?

Shaker cabinets can vary in price compared to other cabinet styles. While they typically fall within a moderate to high price range, the cost can depend on materials, construction quality, finishes, and customization options. It’s recommended to compare prices and explore different options to find the best fit for your budget and design preferences.

4. Can I install shaker cabinets on my own?

It is possible to install Shaker cabinets independently if you have the necessary skills and experience with carpentry and cabinet installation. However, cabinet installation can be complex and time-consuming, requiring precise measurements, proper tools, and knowledge of structural considerations. Following the manufacturer’s instructions and guidelines is crucial for a successful installation. However, professional installation ensures optimal results and may be required to maintain warranty coverage.

5. Are shaker cabinets easy to clean and maintain?

Yes, shaker cabinet doors are generally easy to clean and maintain. Shaker cabinets’ flat or recessed panel design makes them easier to wipe down and keep clean compared to cabinets with intricate details. Regular maintenance involves wiping the cabinets with a soft, damp cloth and a mild cleaning solution. It’s important to avoid harsh abrasives or cleaners that could damage the finish.

6. Are shaker cabinets made of real wood?

Shakers used finer hardwoods like maple, birch, or chestnut for their craftsmanship. Joiners typically make modern Shaker cabinets of hardwoods like maple and cherry.

Table of Contents