This 300-year-old furniture design is still turning heads
Although Shaker design originated more than 300 years ago, it’s still resonating with homeowners today. This simple furniture can be easily customized with trendy color palettes and modern finishes — perfect for people looking for a simple style they can easily put their mark on.
According to Houzz’s latest kitchen trends report, 57 percent of homeowners chose Shaker-style cabinets for their remodeling projects — the same choice HomeAdvisor home expert Dan DiClerico made when he revamped his 19th-century brownstone.
“Shaker cabinets were an essential on our list,” he said while describing his love of transitional design, which mixes traditional and contemporary trends.
DiClerico said transitional design has gained steam over the past year, which explains why homeowners are rediscovering the clean designs and simple construction the Shakers, a Christian religious sect, were known for.
“It goes back to colonial times with the Shakers and the Shaker movement, which was a reaction to the Baroque movement in Europe that was extravagant and heavily ornamental,” he said. “The Shakers were about simplicity, functionality, and efficiency — and those values are reflected in the furniture.”
The most common way homeowners infuse Shaker style into their home is with cabinetry, which features rail and stile construction that’s easy to customize with paint and sleek handles. Furthermore, these cabinets are more cost-effective and easier to maintain than other options, said DiClerico.
“You can start with a simple shaker cabinet and paint it white, which remains very popular, or perhaps a gray or a green-gray,” he said. “It’s a blank canvas that you can do whatever you want in terms of color and finish.”
Joss & Main design director Donna Garlough says she hasn’t seen an uptick in buyers asking for Shaker furniture by name, but she has noticed the “simple, streamlined, utilitarian Shaker style creeping into interiors and showrooms.”
Garlough also points out that homeowners can take their love of Shaker design beyond cabinetry and begin looking at flat-front drawers and dressers, furniture with straight legs and feet, spindle-and-slat back chairs and wooden knobs.
“Because the style is so unassuming, it’s incredibly versatile and never really goes in or out of fashion,” she said.
DiClerico echoed Garlough’s sentiments, saying that the versatility of Shaker design gives homes greater resale value because buyers are easily able to imagine how they’d make the space their own.
“When it comes to resale value, Shaker is one of the best [designs],” he said. “[Potential buyers] will be able to imagine themselves in that space much more readily than if they walk in and see French Country with lots of ornate moldings.”
He added that if ostentatious design is the homeowners’ preference, that’s great, but it may alienate potential buyers, whereas Shaker-style furniture recedes, and it’s a timeless, classic and clean look.
“It’s a safe bet when it comes to resale value, and if you think you’ll be moving in the next few years, it would be a great way to go,” DiClerico said.