Shaker Cabinets 101 | How to Design & Style Shaker Cabinets in Your Own Kitchen

Let’s talk Shaker cabinets! I’ve used them in several kitchen renovation projects recently, and I’m in love with the look! They’re class, they age well, and they add a touch of class to just about any kitchen. Here’s everything you need to know before designing your kitchen with Shaker cabinets.

shaker cabinets

What Are Shaker Cabinets?

If you’ve spent any time scrolling Pinterest for kitchen inspiration, you’ve probably seen Shaker cabinets. They’re simple, clean cabinets with uniformly framed doors, recessed fronts, and sleek hardware. Most people paint them white, but I’ve seen them in bright colors, natural wood finishes, and even black! They’re super versatile and easy to style no matter the look you’re going for.

Where to Find Shaker Cabinets

Luckily, these cabinets are super common these days, especially the classic white Shaker cabinets. Just about any cabinet maker can craft them for you. If you’re looking to DIY your kitchen renovation, you can also find ready-made Shaker cabinets or doors online. 

Shaker Cabinet Styles to Choose From

There are tons of different Shaker cabinet styles to choose from, and you really can’t go wrong! Here are a few things to consider.

Overlay Style

Traditional Shaker cabinets are designed with a partial overlay, meaning the doors don’t fully cover the base of the cabinet. You can also get them in the inset style (meaning the doors sit flush inside of the cabinet) or the full overlay style (where the doors entirely cover the front of the cabinets).

Typically, inset cabinets look more modern while overlaid cabinets look a little more traditional. Either way, the Shaker style is timeless, so any of these styles will age well. Go with what you’re most drawn to! 


Most of these cabinets are made of either hardwood, medium density fiberwood, or plywood. Traditional Shaker cabinets were made with hardwood and either painted or stained. If you like the natural wood look, this is definitely the way to go.

Plywood is the most affordable option, but it’s not quite as durable. Look for cabinet-grade plywood, which is sanded on one side and very easy to paint.

If you want a mix of durability and cost-effectiveness, medium density fiberwood is a great middle ground! It’s especially easy to paint and way more affordable than hardwood. Plus, tons of cabinet makers use it, so it should be easy to find someone willing to create the style you’re looking for.

Stile Size

While traditional Shaker cabinets feature thick stiles, you can also get “skinny” ones, which feature thinner stiles. These work better for more modern, minimalist homes. If you’re looking for the classic farmhouse style, opt for the traditional design.


In my opinion, a these cabinet pairs best with simple, understated hardware. Choose long, thin handles to compliment the cabinets’ right angles, or opt for no hardware at all! Either way, the cabinets will be enough of a focal point themselves, so don’t overpower them with flashy hardware.

A Timeless, Classy Look

If you’re looking for a kitchen upgrade that will stand the test of time, I highly recommend Shaker cabinets! They can fit just about any style, and they add so much class to a kitchen. For more inspiration for your kitchen renovation, check out these posts:

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