What are Shaker kitchens?

We jargon bust the shaker kitchen; from the shaker-style itself to beaded doors and all the decorative finishes

Beige and cream Shaker kitchen

When choosing a more traditional style of fitted kitchen, it can be easy to get lost in the jargon. Don’t even really know what a Shaker-style kitchen is? When it comes to choosing a kitchen, Shakers are just the start of the woodworking iceberg.

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Your kitchen designer is sure to hold your hand through the process, but if you want a little more of a head-start before you start talking about your design, here’s some of the key elements it’d help to know about.



Cream and white shaker kitchen
Kitchen from Lewis Alderson & Co

If you’re not sure what a Shaker kitchen is, you’ll definitely know it when you see it. One of the most popular styles of kitchen cabinet, it consists of a recessed panel in the centre of the door or drawer front, and usually features a simple handle (though handleless designs do exist!).


In-frame versus frameless

In-frame wood and grey shaker kitchen
Kitchen from Hetherington Newman

This refers to how the cabinet doors sit – either within a built frame on the front of the cabinets or without one.

In-frame cabinetry tends to be a stronger and sturdier option, and allows for some further detailing, such as cockbead. However, the frame does provide access issues, especially where two doors sit together over one larger cabinet recess and there’s a centre frame. Drawers particularly lose some of their depth to the frame, as they must sit within the frame space to be able to slide in and out.

What frameless styles sacrifice in sturdiness, they makes up for in a slightly sleeker appearance and greater versatility. You’ll have full access to storage recesses and drawers can also take up the full space allocated by the drawer fronts.

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This style of building is used with in-frame cabinetry, adding a decorative beading element to the frame to sit on the outside of the door or drawer. These can be as simple as a plain border to the drawers, but again make for a more ornamental finish to the cabinetry overall.