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Ultimate Guide to Shaker Kitchen Cabinets

Modern kitchen with white shaker cabinets.

Get to know all about shaker kitchen cabinets with this ultimate guide that will give you more insight and appreciation on the biggest trend in kitchen cabinetry today.

Shaker cabinets are everywhere—Pinterest, HGTV shows, interior design blogs, you name it. If you want to learn more about the biggest trend in kitchen cabinetry, you’ve come to the right place.

Photo via Nicole Davis Interiors

Related: Types of Tool Chests | Types of Medicine Cabinets | Creative Filing Cabinet | Types of Corner Cabinets

What Is A Shaker Kitchen Cabinet?

If you’re remodeling a kitchen or bathroom, you will likely come across the term “shaker cabinetry” at some point during your renovation process. If you aren’t a seasoned home remodeler, you’re probably wondering what that means. Why does this cabinet style seem to be the most popular design choice for kitchen remodelers nationwide?

The main reason shaker cabinetry is so popular is because of its versatility—this cabinet style has remained sought-after for decades due to its affordable pricing and timeless style. Basically, shaker cabinets hit the sweet spot between low cost and accommodating the design. Sound like what you’re looking for? Read on to learn more about shaker cabinetry and whether it’s right for you.

Shaker Kitchen Cabinet Design

Shaker kitchen cabinets are characterized by their simple, effortless design. The five-piece door fronts make for a clean look that complements any kitchen style. The cabinet doors have flat-recessed panels with no bevel on the frame. They are typically paired with either matching five-piece drawer fronts or slab drawer fronts.

Shaker Cabinet Door | Photo via Lily Ann Cabinets

The no-fuss construction of shaker cabinetry is called frame and panel (also called rail and style). Essentially, frame and panel construction means the entire cabinet consists of a top rail, a bottom rail, two stiles, and a panel.

Shaker cabinets are available in inset, partial-overlay or full-overlay construction. The difference in these cabinet designs come down to where the cabinet door sits on the cabinet face and how much of the face frame is exposed. Partial overlay cabinets are typically the most popular, as their construction allows for cheaper retail costs. In this cabinet style, about 1 inch of cabinet frame is exposed when the door is closed. In contrast, a full overlay cabinet door covers the cabinet’s entire face frame with no visible gaps. Frameless, full overlay shaker style cabinets are especially popular in modern kitchens because they evoke a sleek, uninterrupted look.

Full Overlay Shaker Cabinets | Photo via Rebecca Hay Interior Design

A Brief History of Shaker Cabinets

Shaker furniture was invented by the Shaker religious group in the 18th century. The Shakers believed in the importance of living without desire, and thus led a very simplistic lifestyle free of excess ornamentation. Instead of eye-catching decor and intricate details, the Shakers focused on cleanliness, functionality and impeccable craftsmanship. This led to the clean lines and sturdy construction of the shaker cabinet. The Shakers’ simple designs and durable building techniques exploded in popularity worldwide by the 19th century.

Original Shaker Cabinetry, 1978

But the impressive reach of traditional Shaker design didn’t stop there. Later on, in the 20th century, furniture designers of the Modernist movement furthered the influence of Shaker design. Now, elements of Shaker design can still be observed in most modern-day households. In fact, many interior design ideas that center on clean design and neatness can be traced back to the Shakers. The shaker cabinet style continues to fly off shelves and is used to complement all kitchen styles from traditional to modern.

Best Kitchen Styles for Shaker Cabinets

Ask any interior design expert what the most versatile cabinet style is and their answer will undoubtedly be a shaker. Not only do shaker cabinets work with every kitchen design, but their simplicity also makes them timeless (i.e. a good investment since you won’t need to replace them when design trends shift). Read on to learn the best kitchen styles for shaker cabinets.

Modern Shaker Cabinets

Photo via Green Couch Interiors

The simple frame of shaker kitchen cabinets lends itself well to modern kitchen design. Popular colors for modern shaker cabinets include white, black, navy and grey. Try pairing them with a marble or tile backsplash for a sleek and classy look. For a seamless design, forego cabinet hardware and choose full overlay construction.

Traditional Shaker Cabinets

Photo via Better Homes & Gardens

With their charming design and inviting feel, traditional kitchens never go out of style. For a traditional country kitchen, mix and match shaker and glass-front cabinet doors. Add antique knobs and pulls to give the cabinetry a more lived-in look. White is a common color for traditional kitchen cabinets. Or, for a warmer design, opt for natural wood grains like hickory or walnut.

Rustic Shaker Cabinets

Photo via Lily Ann Cabinets

For the ultimate cabin-style kitchen, wood grain shaker cabinets are a must. There are many wood types to choose from, so be sure to shop around before making a final decision. Lighter wood grains include Birch, Walnut and Alder. For a dark and dramatic rustic kitchen, opt for Oak or Hickory shaker cabinets. Many cabinet manufacturers also offer wood grain cabinets with glazing to highlight natural knots and graining patterns.

Contemporary Shaker Cabinets

Photo via New Leaf Construction

Contemporary style kitchens have exploded in popularity in the past decade, and shaker kitchen cabinets are the best way to achieve the trend for a low price point. Keep things simple by choosing grey, white or wood grain shaker cabinets with contemporary hardware. Then add some flare with a custom island, wood floors, and a unique glossy backsplash.

Two-Toned Shaker Cabinets

Photo via Knauf-Koenig Group

Who says you can’t have fun with shaker cabinets? Although simple, shaker cabinets offer unlimited possibilities. To create striking contrast in your kitchen, choose two complementary colors of shaker cabinetry with matching knobs and pulls. Ensure the design is balanced by using the darker color for base cabinets and a lighter color for upper cabinets.

Colorful Shaker Cabinets

Photo via Glamour Nest

Take your kitchen style a step further with bright and colorful shaker cabinetry. Tiffany blue, pastel yellow, barn red, and jade green are the latest colors to appear in mainstream kitchen designs. Shaker kitchen cabinets come in a wide variety of colors, but if you can’t find the exact color you’re looking for, paint them! Just keep in mind that cabinets with a gloss coating or stain must be de-glossed first before painting.

Popular Materials and Finishes

When you purchase shaker kitchen cabinets, you want them to last. It’s important to invest in cabinetry made of high-quality materials that will stand the test of time. Make sure to familiarize yourself with the most common shaker cabinet building materials so you can make an informed decision when the time comes to make a purchase.

Hardwood

Hardwood is a popular shaker cabinet material because of its natural durability. Many remodelers opt for this material because it is available in an array of natural finishes. Additionally, hardwood makes it easy to sand off imperfections that accumulate over time like scratches and dents. Due to this, shaker cabinets made of hardwood usually have the longest lifespan. However, hardwood is also typically the most expensive option. This leads many remodelers to choose engineered wood products instead.

Hardwood Species + Stains | Photo via Baxter Now

Plywood

Plywood shaker cabinets consist of multiple thin wood pieces layered on top of one another at different angles. This “sandwiching” method improves its durability. Like hardwood, plywood cabinets feature natural wood grain patterns. This material is best for resisting moisture and provides the highest strength-to-weight ratio. Plus, plywood is a lower cost option than hardwood.

Cabinet Materials | Photo via MP Design

Particle Board

In the past decade, particleboard has gotten a bad reputation. This is because older particle board cabinets have been known to lose their structure when exposed to liquid and moisture. However, not all particle board should be labeled as a no-go. If you choose shaker cabinets constructed with this material, just ensure it is “furniture grade.” Furniture grade particleboard actually holds screws better than plywood.

Particle Board | Photo via Boston Building Resources

Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)

Medium-density fiberboard is a more affordable option for shaker cabinets than plywood or hardwood. It consists of wood fibers, resin, and wax that have been heated and pressed together. MDF is a strong and durable option and won’t expand or contract when faced with humidity. However, it is more difficult to repair dents and cracks in MDF than real wood cabinets. Additionally, MDF is less resistant to water damage and provides less strength than plywood or hardwood.

Medium-Density Fiberboard Cabinets | Photo via Weyerhaeuser

How Much Do Shaker Kitchen Cabinets Cost?

According to Home Advisor, the average cost of shaker kitchen cabinets is $100 to $1,200 per linear square foot. The variance in this cost estimate depends on factors like shaker cabinet materials, kitchen layout, shipping and installation methods.

Photo via Lovely Lucky Life

Shaker Cabinet Materials

Shaker cabinet pricing will vary widely depending on the material used. As previously mentioned, there are several common materials that cabinet retailers use for shaker cabinetry. Below are the average price ranges for each material.

Shaker Cabinet Pricing

Wood Veneer $2,000-$15,000+
Laminate $4,000-$15,000
Wood $5,000-$25,000+
Acrylic $5,000-$20,000
Stainless Steel $25,000-$38,000

Price Estimates via Home Advisor

Kitchen Design and Size

The size and layout of your kitchen will cause the cost of your shaker cabinets to vary widely. Most cabinet retailers will provide an estimate for the cost of a 10×10 ft kitchen for each cabinet style on their website. You can use this estimate to calculate the cost for any kitchen size. For example, if you want to know the approximate price for a 12×12 kitchen, you can multiply the 10×10 cost by 1.2.

10×10 Kitchen Pricing

The average 10×10 ft. kitchen (20 linear square feet) costs between $2,000 and $24,000, again dependent on the material used.

12×12 Kitchen Pricing

12×12 ft kitchens (24 linear square feet) are now the most common size amongst US households. The average 12×12 kitchen costs between $2,500 and $29,000.

Shaker Kitchen Island Pricing

If you are planning to add an island to your kitchen, make sure you leave room in your renovation budget. Prefabricated islands with shaker cabinetry are a good choice for renovators looking to save money, starting at around $3,000. However, prefab islands usually have cabinets on only one side, so keep this in mind if you are looking for more storage space. Custom islands with shaker cabinetry are also an option. For custom islands with electricity, plumbing, and other add-ons, you can expect to spend an average of $4,300.

Photo via Tom Howley

Professional Kitchen Designer Cost

After you choose the right shaker cabinets for your kitchen, you’ll want to get a quote as well as visualize how they will look in your space. Don’t waste hundreds of dollars working with a kitchen designer. Instead, look for a company that offers free 3D kitchen designs and quotes. This is a no-obligation way to get an exact quote and design for shaker cabinetry without having to do all the groundwork yourself.

Shipping Costs

Another important element in the cost of shaker cabinetry is shipping. It is preferable to find a company that offers free shipping. But, if this isn’t an option, there are choices that can help reduce the shipping cost. If you choose pre-assembled cabinetry, shipping costs can quickly add up as they are bulky and more difficult to transport. Alternatively, ready-to-assemble (RTA) cabinets can cut down shipping costs dramatically since they are flat-packed and easy to ship. RTA cabinets can also save you over $3,000 on installation costs, as most remodelers choose to install RTA cabinets themselves.

Are Shaker Kitchen Cabinets Right For You?

We’ve explored the many reasons why shaker kitchen cabinets are a popular choice for homeowners worldwide. Now one question remains: are shaker cabinets right for you? If you decide to take the next step in purchasing shaker cabinetry, make sure you explore all of your options for affordable shaker cabinet retailers. Happy remodeling!

Shaker Kitchen Cabinet Gallery

Millions of homes nationwide feature shaker kitchen cabinetry. From traditional to modern, this cabinet style is a worthy investment that will stand the test of time. What’s your favorite shaker cabinet look?

The white shaker cabinets of this kitchen match perfectly with the white tray ceiling and are complemented by the shaker design on the gray kitchen island.

The white shaker cabinets of this kitchen match perfectly with the white tray ceiling and are complemented by the shaker design on the gray kitchen island.

This kitchen features the white shaker cabinet design on the drawers flanking the oven stove. The two shaker cabinet drawers are paired with hanging cabinets with glass covers.

This kitchen features the white shaker cabinet design on the drawers flanking the oven stove. The two shaker cabinet drawers are paired with hanging cabinets with glass covers.

In this lovely U-shaped kitchen, you will see that the shaker cabinet design is consistent on all the gray cabinets and drawers as well as the white kitchen island with the same countertop as the peninsula.

In this lovely U-shaped kitchen, you will see that the shaker cabinet design is consistent on all the gray cabinets and drawers as well as the white kitchen island with the same countertop as the peninsula.

The white shaker cabinets complete the overall aesthetic of this kitchen that features simple white lines that is complemented by a gray-tiled floor.

The white shaker cabinets complete the overall aesthetic of this kitchen that features simple white lines that is complemented by a gray-tiled floor.

In this charming kitchen, the white shaker cabinets dominate the walls with floor-to-ceiling cabinets serving as a nice background for the complex patterns of the hardwood flooring.

In this charming kitchen, the white shaker cabinets dominate the walls with floor-to-ceiling cabinets serving as a nice background for the complex patterns of the hardwood flooring.

This kitchen features white shaker cabinets and drawers with simple silver handles that match well with the modern kitchen appliances.

This kitchen features white shaker cabinets and drawers with simple silver handles that match well with the modern kitchen appliances.

The white kitchen cabinets and drawers are a good pairing for the small gray tiles of the backsplash that is arranged in a brick wall pattern serving a nice contrast for the white countertop.

The white kitchen cabinets and drawers are a good pairing for the small gray tiles of the backsplash that is arranged in a brick wall pattern serving a nice contrast for the white countertop.

This kitchen features the contrast between the clean white shaker cabinets and the complex patterns of the gray backsplash as well as the tiled floor.

This kitchen features the contrast between the clean white shaker cabinets and the complex patterns of the gray backsplash as well as the tiled floor.

This kitchen pairs the modern elements of the white stools and hanging pendant lights with the traditional look of the shaker cabinets that is contrasted by the brown and beige tiles of the backsplash.

This kitchen pairs the modern elements of the white stools and hanging pendant lights with the traditional look of the shaker cabinets that is contrasted by the brown and beige tiles of the backsplash.

This is a charming kitchen island with a white marble countertop that matches its white shaker cabinets and drawers. The drawers and cabinets are arranged in such a way to maximize the storage capability of the island.

This is a charming kitchen island with a white marble countertop that matches its white shaker cabinets and drawers. The drawers and cabinets are arranged in such a way to maximize the storage capability of the island.

This kitchen features the shaker cabinet design on the peninsulas and hanging cabinets that are not quite touching the gray ceiling. This enables you to see the gorgeous white molding that matches those at the top of the cabinets.

This kitchen features the shaker cabinet design on the peninsulas and hanging cabinets that are not quite touching the gray ceiling. This enables you to see the gorgeous white molding that matches those at the top of the cabinets.

This is a nice pairing of the traditional aesthetic of the white shaker cabinets and the herringbone backsplash made of small white tiles bordered with dark grout to emphasize the pattern.

This is a nice pairing of the traditional aesthetic of the white shaker cabinets and the herringbone backsplash made of small white tiles bordered with dark grout to emphasize the pattern.

In this kitchen, the white shaker cabinets and drawers are given small black handles for a minimalist effect that matches the crisp beige walls and white ceiling.

In this kitchen, the white shaker cabinets and drawers are given small black handles for a minimalist effect that matches the crisp beige walls and white ceiling.

The gray elements of the fridge, walls, and the kitchen countertops are well suited for the white shaker cabinets and drawers that are contrasted by the hardwood flooring.

The gray elements of the fridge, walls, and the kitchen countertops are well suited for the white shaker cabinets and drawers that are contrasted by the hardwood flooring.

The beautiful kitchen island features shaker cabinets and drawers painted in a lovely gray matte palette that matches the black marble countertop and the wooden stools.

The beautiful kitchen island features shaker cabinets and drawers painted in a lovely gray matte palette that matches the black marble countertop and the wooden stools.

The white shaker cabinets of the hanging wooden structure follow the lay of the kitchen wall and connect with the kitchen peninsula to allow ample hardwood floor space.

The white shaker cabinets of the hanging wooden structure follow the lay of the kitchen wall and connect with the kitchen peninsula to allow ample hardwood floor space.

This charming kitchen features white shaker cabinets and drawers that contrast the sleek black appliances and is mediated by the gray marble countertop.

This charming kitchen features white shaker cabinets and drawers that contrast the sleek black appliances and is mediated by the gray marble countertop.

The sleek modern fridge and matching dishwasher stands out against the shaker cabinets and drawers that frames the herringbone patterns of the backsplash.

The sleek modern fridge and matching dishwasher stands out against the shaker cabinets and drawers that frames the herringbone patterns of the backsplash.

The subtle white lines of the white wooden shiplap ceiling are a perfect match for the white shaker cabinets and drawers that have modern silver handles.

The subtle white lines of the white wooden shiplap ceiling are a perfect match for the white shaker cabinets and drawers that have modern silver handles.

The red wingback stools along with the black kitchen island are the centerpiece of this white kitchen that has white shaker cabinets and drawers.

The red wingback stools along with the black kitchen island are the centerpiece of this white kitchen that has white shaker cabinets and drawers.

The complex patterns of the backsplash's black and white tiles stand out against the traditional white shaker cabinets and drawers that blend in with the white walls and ceiling.

The complex patterns of the backsplash’s black and white tiles stand out against the traditional white shaker cabinets and drawers that blend in with the white walls and ceiling.

This hardwood floored kitchen features a white kitchen island with a wine fridge beside shaker cabinets that match the pantry attached to the kitchen island.

This hardwood floored kitchen features a white kitchen island with a wine fridge beside shaker cabinets that match the pantry attached to the kitchen island.

This is a bright and spacious kitchen due to its white shaker cabinets that are fitted with brilliant backlights paired with white backsplash tiles arranged in a brick wall pattern.

This is a bright and spacious kitchen due to its white shaker cabinets that are fitted with brilliant backlights paired with white backsplash tiles arranged in a brick wall pattern.

The white ceiling has exposed wooden beams that serve as a nice contrast for the white shaker cabinets and drawers of the U-shaped kitchen peninsula.

The white ceiling has exposed wooden beams that serve as a nice contrast for the white shaker cabinets and drawers of the U-shaped kitchen peninsula.

The sleek modern black fridge is perfectly framed with the contrast of white shaker cabinets and drawers that have two types of handles.

The sleek modern black fridge is perfectly framed with the contrast of white shaker cabinets and drawers that have two types of handles.

The L-shaped kitchen peninsula with white shaker cabinets and drawers houses the oven stove and dishwasher as well as the kitchen sink paired with gray marble countertops.

The L-shaped kitchen peninsula with white shaker cabinets and drawers houses the oven stove and dishwasher as well as the kitchen sink paired with gray marble countertops.

The white shaker design is applied to the white cabinets, drawers, tray ceiling, and the kitchen door. This is well contrasted by the hardwood flooring and the sleek modern kitchen appliances.

The white shaker design is applied to the white cabinets, drawers, tray ceiling, and the kitchen door. This is well contrasted by the hardwood flooring and the sleek modern kitchen appliances.

This lovely kitchen has a white theme that is consistent on the wooden shiplap ceiling, marble countertops, backsplash, and the shaker cabinets and drawers.

This lovely kitchen has a white theme that is consistent on the wooden shiplap ceiling, marble countertops, backsplash, and the shaker cabinets and drawers.

The dark wood tones of the shaker cabinets and drawers emphasize the silver handles that match perfectly with the flooring and the sleek modern appliances.

The dark wood tones of the shaker cabinets and drawers emphasize the silver handles that match perfectly with the flooring and the sleek modern appliances.

The silver modern fridge is complemented by the light gray hues of the shaker cabinets and drawers that are given black handles to complete the aesthetic.

The silver modern fridge is complemented by the light gray hues of the shaker cabinets and drawers that are given black handles to complete the aesthetic.

The metallic sink matches well with the modern appliances and the gray marble countertops of the L-shaped peninsula that has white shaker cabinets and drawers.

The metallic sink matches well with the modern appliances and the gray marble countertops of the L-shaped peninsula that has white shaker cabinets and drawers.

The U-shaped peninsula has gray marble countertops that match with the complex patterns of the backsplash tiles that are perfectly framed with the traditional white shaker cabinets and drawers that have stylish elongated silver handles.

The U-shaped peninsula has gray marble countertops that match with the complex patterns of the backsplash tiles that are perfectly framed with the traditional white shaker cabinets and drawers that have stylish elongated silver handles.


Summer Segar

Summer is a content writer and social media manager for the home improvement company Lily Ann Cabinets. She specializes in kitchen design and affordable renovation ideas. Her superpower is saving the world from overspending on home remodels.

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