what are shaker style cabinets?

What Are Shaker Style Cabinets, And Why Are They So Popular?

Dec 9, 2023

Shaker-style doors are by far our the most commonly chosen doors by our clients – and for good reason! They’re timeless, simple, durable, and look great in almost every kitchen – but those are just a few benefits of this popular style. With so many homeowners considering shaker doors, let’s jump in to answering some questions about what shaker doors are and whether you should choose them for your kitchen remodel,


What are Shaker Style Cabinets?


Shaker-style doors are identified by their flat, recessed panels that are surrounded by straight, raised edges (properly called rails and stiles). They’re similar to a picture frame in that the four pieces of wood around the edges “frame” the flat center panel of the door. Drawer fronts can also be made in shaker style. 

This simple design is sometimes also referred to as flat panel doors in the cabinet industry.

The construction of shaker doors and drawer fronts makes them a timeless, simple, and versitile option that looks good in nearly every type of kitchen. From farmhouse styles to modern, contemporary spaces, shaker style stands the test of time and creates a classic look that won’t become outdated anytime soon.

modern shaker cabinetry


The History of Shaker-Style Cabinets


The shaker design actually originated from a religious group in the late 18th century. This religious community (called the United Society of Believers in Christ’s Second Appearing, but commonly referred to as the Shakers), focused on simple, minimalist designs. They are well-known for their quality craftsmanship, as they focused on perfection in all of their tasks. The Shaker community prioritized durable, long-lasting designs over ornate embellishments and intricate details.

The Shakers’ timeless style and minimalist design extended beyond just cabinets, though. Using high-quality materials and simple construction, this religious sect is also well known for their quality craftsmanship in furniture. Shaker furniture – like shaker style cabinetry – is identified by its clean lines, quality construction, and practicality. 

If you’re seeking to combine a traditional look with timeless appeal, shaker designs are a top choice for many homeowners and designers in the cabinetry world and beyond.


Why Are Shaker Style Cabinets So Popular? 


If you’ve ever walked into a kitchen and known immediately that it hasn’t been updated for 30 years, you might begin to understand why shaker style kitchens and shaker cabinetry in general is so popular. 

Trends can change quickly, and no one wants to have to continue updating their kitchen every 5-10 years. Shaker style doors have been around for hundreds of years, and though styles and design trends have changed drastically over the years, the shaker cabinet style has persisted in providing a timeless look through the changing fashions.

The simplicity of this cabinetry method – with its clean lines and versatility – have allowed it to stand the test of time. 

Although cabinet refacing offers a lower cost and streamlined process in comparison to other kitchen renovation options, we know that kitchen remodels aren’t exactly super convenient for homeowners. We love that the shaker-style kitchen cabinets offer a timeless design that will leave homeowners satisfied with their kitchen (or bathroom or laundry room!) for decades to come.

bright shaker kitchen with natural sunlight


Benefits of shaker style cabinets


They fit nearly any design style


Wondering if shaker cabinets are right for your style? A major benefit of this design option is that shaker cabinet doors and drawer fronts look great in nearly any type of kitchen. Whether you’re going for a modern look, a classic style, or contemporary design, shaker cabinetry checks all the boxes. 

Many interior designers suggest shaker cabinets for their stylish and sleek simplicity.


They’re cost effective


The simple design of shaker style cabinet doors and drawer fronts makes them cost effective compared to more ornate door styles, simply because they don’t require as much detail work to make than certain styles, like mitered doors.

Not only are shaker cabinet designs cost effective to manufacture in the first place, but they also won’t need to be replaced any time soon. Shaker doors have been in style for over 200 years, and they’re not going anywhere in the near future. If you want to save money by not having to update your kitchen again in a decade or so, a shaker kitchen design scheme is an excellent choice.


They can be refinished or repainted easily


If you do change your mind and decide to give your kitchen a fresh look a few years down the road, shaker doors are easy to repaint or refinish in the color or stain of your choice. 

In order to refinish or repaint, doors first need to be sanded down thoroughly. The flat surfaces and square edges of shaker the shaker style make them easy to sand and refinish compared to the ornate profiles of other door styles.

It’s just one more reason why shaker style doors make the perfect cabinets, whether you have all of your design elements and plans set in stone or aren’t quite sure yet! 


They’re easy to clean


On a more practical note, shaker cabinets are easy to wipe down after everyday kitchen use. With their straight lines and simple profile, it’s more difficult for dust and grease to get lodged in the cracks of the doors. Although more intricate designs and detailed doors can be beautiful for certain kitchen styles, they usually attract much more dirt particles and drips from cooking spills.

And not only do shaker doors have to be cleaned less often, but they also are super simple to wipe clean when cleaning day comes around!


They’re timeless


Lastly, the clean look, functional design and sleek layout make shaker doors a timeless choice. No matter how many years go by, shaker doors never look dated. Any updates you want to make in your kitchen can be adjusted with a simple coat of paint – no need to buy new door and drawer fronts to update from an outdated design. If you want a look that will work beautifully through the decades of your home’s lifetime, shaker style is the perfect choice.

shaker cabinets and shelving


What’s the most common color for shaker cabinets?

Shaker cabinets are popular in a variety of colors and finishes. However, white shaker cabinets are by far the most common color choice. Other timeless options for this type of cabinetry include grays, blues, blacks, and natural finishes.

With cabinet refacing, you can choose any color or finish for your new doors and drawer fronts. Don’t be afraid to look at plenty of different samples before deciding what color or finish you prefer. At Veracity, we bring samples to your home, so you can hold up our doors in your own kitchen to see how the different cabinet styles and colors or finishes look.


How Shaker Panels Are Made


Shaker panels are made as five-piece door fronts, and are easily recognized by the recessed center panel edged by four trim pieces. The two vertical pieces are called stiles, and the two horizontal pieces are called rails. 

(Shaker five-piece drawer fronts are made in the same way – with the rails and stiles providing clean lines and a sharp look for your cabinetry.)

At Veracity, our shaker cabinets are made with high-quality materials and all have solid wood frames. Shaker cabinets can also be made using MDF. MDF doors are generally cheaper than solid wood cabinet doors, but don’t provide the quality that will hold up throughout the years like solid wood does. 


Options for Your Cabinets


When you’re updating your kitchen, the possibilities often seem endless. Going with shaker doors is a great way to make sure that you’re making the right choice for your kitchen style, since they go with everything and won’t become outdated.

Whether you’re still searching around for your cabinet style or you’re set on shaker style kitchen cabinets here are some options you’ll need to consider for your cabinetry.


Cabinet style


One of the first choices you’ll need to make for your kitchen cabinets is what style you want to go with. You’ll need to consider whether you’re aiming for a modern design, a more traditional style, a farmhouse kitchen… etc. 

While shaker cabinets are currently the most popular cabinet style, they’re not for everyone! Other top choices for our clients include slab cabinet doorstraditional cabinet doorsbeadboard cabinetry, and more. 

Looking for inspiration? Here are 7 of the top kitchen cabinet styles to think about. 


Color or finish


Next, you’ll need to choose your color or finish. For shaker kitchens, white is the most popular color that homeowners choose for their cabinetry. Grays, blues, and natural wood finishes are other popular options. 

With cabinet refacing, we use a painted or wood veneer to update your cabinet boxes. Then, we install your newly painted or finished cabinet doors to match the boxes. This way, you get to keep your functioning cabinets out of the landfill, save thousands, and create a totally new look for your kitchen cabinetry at the same time! 

dark shaker cabinetry


Full vs. partial overlay


Next, up, you get to decide between full overlay vs. partial overlay. With partial overlay, your doors cover the openings of the cabinets, but leave some space between the doors (and drawers). On the contrary, full overlay means that your doors and drawers are larger, and they cover the full cabinet fronts, leaving no space between each door and drawer. 

Full overlay doors create a sleek look that’s a popular choice in modern kitchens. With full overlay doors, the hinges are hidden, providing a polished, finished look.

On the other hand, partial overlay doors are generally more durable and more affordable than full overlay.


Solid wood vs. MDF


Next up, your cabinet doors can be made with solid wood or MDF. 

While MDF is the cheaper option, we recommend homeowners choose solid wood for their cabinets. The kitchen is the most used room in the home, and cabinets are one of the main aspects of the kitchen that get touched, pulled on, and closed every single day (usually dozens of times per day). 

In addition, no one wants to have to do a kitchen renovation every few years. Especially if you’re choosing shaker doors for your kitchen remodel, you probably hope to extend the lifetime of your remodeling project as long as possible.

While MDF is cheaper initially, the cost of replacing these lower-quality doors will add up over time. You’re better off starting with a high-quality, solid wood option to begin with, so you don’t have to repeat the process of updating your kitchen cabinets.


Other upgrades


After you decide on your cabinetry style and color or finish, it’s time to consider whether you want to add any other upgrades for your cabinetry.

While the look of your kitchen makes a huge difference in the space, there are lots of functional upgrades that you may also want to consider. You’re the one who uses this space every day, and your kitchen update is your opportunity to create a more functional, everyday space.

Many of our cabinet refacing clients choose to add upgrade options such as new storage solutions (lazy susans, pull-out trash cans, adjustable, pull-out shelving, etc.), additional cabinets and pantrys, upgraded, functional hardware, and moldings, which add depth and detail to the space.

shaker cabinetry with glass panels


Should You Use Shaker Cabinets in Your Home?


Whether you’re upgrading your current home or starting fresh on designing your dream kitchen, shaker cabinets are an excellent choice for nearly any space, regardless of your design style. They’re also an excellent option if you’re looking to sell your home in the near future, since they provide plenty of options for the next homeowner to adjust for their style. 


Contact Us About Cabinet Refacing


At Veracity Cabinet Refacing, we help homeowners update their outdated kitchens for a fraction of the price of new cabinets. Cabinet refacing also offers updated functionality, use of your kitchen during the process, and quick turnaround times. Veracity Cabinet Refacing is located in Perry, MI and serves the greater Lansing, MI area.

Wondering if cabinet refacing is right for you? Schedule a call today! 

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