When it comes to creating the perfect Shaker style interior always remember that ‘Less is More’. It is the Shaker belief that every item within the home should be practical and functional not simply just for decoration. ‘Beauty rests on utility’ and whilst Shaker interiors may not be adorned with glamorous accessories, each and every item contained within the home is crafted to an extremely precise, perfected standard.
Whilst the feel of Shaker interiors may be simple and minimal, this allows the beauty of the few designs they feature to shine through. Follow these simple steps to achieve this interior look in your own home and don’t forget these looks can be modernised slightly using varying materials and finishes whilst maintaining the original style and appeal of this period.
Shaker homes are all about neutrality and nature and the internal colours of the home reflected the beauty and simplicity of their surroundings, Walls were almost always plain white or beige with any additions such as furniture or fabric adopting natural orange and brown tones. The only colour that may be used was in quilting and bed throws and this remained simple and sparse in navy, russet and mustard tones that would not stand out too obviously from the backdrop of the home.
Lighting and light fixtures were a necessity that did not require any flamboyant design or eye-catching features. Candle holders would be placed on tables and wall sconces would be placed in the darker areas of the home for an ample supply of light. Sconces and sticks were made from a basic metal such as tin and were left in a rustic state for a rural country look. While candle lit lighting may not be appealing in modern times you can easily recreate this look using metal framed wall lights and candelabra style ceiling lights but ensure that you avoid an over polished look by choosing matt black, antique or distressed metal finishes that will capture the purity and natural beauty of Shaker interior design.
Shaker fabrics were made from natural sources that were simple to make and simple in appearance. Wool, cotton and linen were the main materials and these would be left in their natural colour state of white and beige for a minimal textural appearance. Colour would be introduced only in quilts and throws which featured uncomplicated shapes and gingham patterns. Denim tones and autumnal hues were used that complimented the simplicity of the decor and furniture. Whilst original Shaker quilts may be a rare and expensive find, reproduction quilts and more colourful prints can now be found in traditional high street stores and will add a splash of visual interest against a neutral interior setting.
Practicality came above style in all aspects of Shaker life and when it came to the home there would be no visual signs of clutter or accessories. Any excess items would be cleverly hidden away in furniture items and wonderfully simplistic Shaker style boxes that could be stacked in a corner or on a cabinet or sideboard for a centralised and neat storage area. Boxes were an oval design and made using a swallowtail and copper pin construction from natural wood or hide. Opt for natural finishes for a rustic country look or choose more modern painted finishes to add add detail and colour to your interior space.
Function over fashion was the key to successful shaker style furniture so who would have thought that these days Shaker style designs are extremely ‘fashionable’ in modern home interiors. Traditionally carved from cherry and maple woods each item featured simple and practical designs and plain handles with wardrobes, cabinets and chests being popular items due to their vast storage capabilities. In modern homes this look can be recreated using golden oak or walnut finishes and selecting statement furniture items that fit the look and feel of Shaker homes such as simple slat back chairs, oak benches and dressers that will provide the perfect balance of function and beauty within a modern home.
For more ideas on how to create a minimal and naturalistic Shaker interior, head over to our latest Pinterest board - Pinterest - Shaker Interiors and for a selection of furniture ideas take a look at our extensive Oak and Hardwood furniture collections.