For our latest lookbook, we’ve put together ten interiors that recall the style of the Shakers, a Christian sect that believed in simplicity and usefulness.
The Shakers, a religious sect from the mid-18th century, believed it was possible to “build a more perfect society on earth”. Followers practiced communal living and shared all property.
Interiors and furniture in Shaker style have since been known for their very simple, no-frills design, which lets the qualities of the materials – especially wood – shine through. The style is still popular today, especially in the kitchen.
Here we have put together ten examples of interiors that underline the charm of this simple, functional design.
This is the latest round up of our Dezeen Lookbooks range, providing visual inspiration to designers and design enthusiasts. Past lookbooks include home libraries, minimalist bedrooms, and concrete living rooms.
Círculo Mexicano, Mexico, from Ambrosi Etchegaray
The bedroom of this Mexico City hotel has a calm but welcoming feel to it. Warm wood forms a striking contrast to plain, white walls and is complemented by beige linen fabrics. A hook rail, often used by shakers to hang hats, clothes and light furniture, adorns the wall.
“We envisioned architecture without ornament, where the correct use of simple materials would improve the quality of the space,” architect Ambrosi Etchegaray told Dezeen.
Learn more about Círculo Mexicano ›
Florist Bakery, Canada, from Ste Marie
This artisanal bakery in Vancouver, Canada was designed by Ste Marie with Shaker-informed furniture to offer a “blend of farmhouse sensibility and Scandinavian design principles”.
Built-in wooden shelves provide space for cookbooks, cooking utensils, and decorative ceramics. It was left in its natural color to underline the traditional, handcrafted atmosphere of the room.
Learn more about the Flourist bakery ›
This is the best that works best, Canada, from Mjölk
An exhibition of original Shakers furniture was combined with contemporary interpretations of the sect’s designs in an exhibition at the Toronto Design Store Mjölk.
The juxtaposition of a classic dark wooden bench and contemporary ceramic vases creates a modern interior that is still clearly reminiscent of historic residential buildings. Framed pressed flowers are reminiscent of the Shaker way of life, in close connection with nature.
Learn more about This is the best that works best ›
Townhouse in Queens, USA by White Arrow
The New York design studio White Arrow has fitted the kitchen of this row house in Queens, New York with dark blue furniture. Though more colorful than the designs typically associated with Shaker-style interiors, the cabinets have the clean lines and shelf inserts widely used by the sect.
The dark blue color of the kitchen cabinets stands out particularly against the white walls of the room and the copper lighting. A floating shelf holds dishes and glassware, while a marble backdrop adds to the calm luxury of this kitchen design.
Find out more about the Queens Townhouse ›
Kitchen interior, UK, by Pinch
These pieces of wood furniture by the London design studio Pinch were designed to express a “low-key interpretation of luxury” and displayed in a simple but elegant setting. The shiny natural wood colors are contrasted with white details and set against white walls and a white-toned wooden floor.
The studio’s round Rodan dining table was designed as a reference to the round or oval bentwood boxes that shakers used to store kitchen ingredients in the past.
Learn more about Pinch ›
Clover Hill Residence, USA, by Ravi Raj Architect
This black stove from Wittus looks like traditional angular shaker stoves. It warms the bedroom of the Clover Hill Residence in New York State and recalls the history of the house that began as an iron foundry in the 1890s.
Wood furniture, a woven rug, and a color palette of only brown, white, and dark blue tones create a soothing, peaceful bedroom.
Learn more about the Clover Hill Residence ›
Furnishing Utopia, USA, by various designers
This wooden bench with matching table was designed for the Furnishing Utopia exhibition, which featured Shaker-style interiors and designs. Presented in a traditional setting, the bench is a modern take on the pared-back designs that nicknamed the sect “the first minimalists”.
The 11 designers participating in the exhibition visited the preserved shaker sites in the Hancock Shaker Village and the Mount Lebanon Shaker Museum to get inspiration for the furniture.
Find out more about furnishing utopia ›
Terracotta House, Australia, by Austin Maynard Architects
Austin Maynard Architects designed Terracotta House for an avid gardener. It was created as a community living family “compound” – similar to a village square – similar to the practice of community living of the Shaker.
Wood furniture was used for the interior of the house, a wood-paneled Victorian worker’s cottage that has been renovated and modernized.
Learn more about terracotta house ›
Historic schoolhouse, USA, by White Arrow
The classic Shaker-style kitchen in this US home has been painted all white to create a light-filled, bright interior. Golden details on handles, sockets and lighting create an elegant contrast to the cream-colored cupboards.
A herringbone parquet floor gives the kitchen a more rustic feel with floor-to-ceiling storage spaces and marble worktops.
Find out more Historical school building ›
Kitchen, USA, by Gabriel Tan
This sun-drenched kitchen features simple wooden furniture, including the Shaker-inspired stool by designer Gabriel Tan. It can be hung on a hook on the wall – a traditional way for shakers to store their goods and furniture.
“The chair is really about two things that I love most about the Shakers,” said the designer. “First, that you hang your furniture and things on the wall when you are not using them, and second – the unusual shape of the wood-burning shaker stove.”
Learn more about this design ›
This is the latest in our line of lookbooks with curated visual inspirations from Dezeen’s image archive. For more inspiration, check out previous lookbooks showcasing home libraries, minimalist bedrooms, and concrete living rooms.