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What Are Shaker Cabinets?


Shaker cabinets are a specific style of cabinets featuring simple construction and recessed panels to create a sleek, classic look.

In this article, we’ll cover:

Want a quote to install shaker style cabinets? Contact us online or call (480) 641-9611 and one of our cabinet experts will give you an upfront, same-day quote to reface or remodel your cabinets.

Shaker cabinets vs. raised cabinets

Shaker style cabinets are characterized by their five-piece doors, featuring a four-piece frame with a flat recessed center panel.

They differ from the more traditional raised panel cabinets in the:

  • Center panel. Raised cabinets have a raised center panel (at the same level as the frame), but the frame and center panel have beveled edges that create a groove around the panel. Shaker cabinets have a completely flat recessed center panel.
  • Edges. Raised cabinets typically have grooves or a type of decorative edge around both the frame and the center panel. Shaker cabinets are minimalist in design and usually feature no carving or beveling.

Where does“shaker” come from?

The term “shaker” cabinets comes from a religious group called the Shakers, who were known for their strict, austere values as well as their skills as craftsmen and woodworkers. The Shaker religion placed emphasis on simplicity and utility—believing adornment and materialism offended God—and so carried these values into their woodwork.

These beliefs resulted in the shaker style cabinets that, while boring and severe compared to the intricate styles of the 1800s, is a favorite today among contemporary and transitional designs.

Common features and variations of shaker cabinets

While shaker style doors and drawers are typically without ornamentation, they can come in various styles and have different features.

Shaker doors

Shaker doors don’t have much variation in their construction, but they can have different types of hinges:

  • Concealed hinges: The hinges are completely hidden from the outside when the cabinets are closed.
  • Semi-concealed hinges: The only hinge barrels are displayed when the cabinets are closed.
  • Exposed hinges: The entire hinge, often decorative for added ornamentation, is on the outside of the cabinet.

Shaker drawers

You usually have the option of 2 types of shaker style drawer fronts:

  • Recessed panel: Sometimes called five-piece drawer fronts, these cabinet drawers match the cabinet doors with a four-piece frame around a recessed center panel.
  • Slab: Also called solid drawer fronts, slab drawer fronts feature a single, flat panel with no recessed or decorative elements.

Pros and cons of shaker cabinets

Shaker style cabinets aren’t for every home. We’ll go over the pros and cons to help you decide if shaker style cabinets are the right choice for your kitchen or bathroom.

Pros of shaker cabinets

The benefits of shaker cabinets include:

  • A timeless design that can last decades. Because of their sleek, simplistic design, shaker cabinets outlast many design trends. If you ever want to refresh your kitchen, you can refinish the cabinets with a new stain or coating and update the hardware, giving you a brand new look without having to replace the cabinets. Learn more about refinishing cabinets on our cabinet refinishing page.
  • Easy maintenance. The basic, squared edges of shaker cabinets don’t trap as much dust, grease and grime as traditional cabinets with decorative grooves and bevels. If the cabinets do start to get dirty, you can easily wipe them down with a gentle cleaning solution.
  • Good ROI. Shaker cabinets appeal to both buyers looking for modern features and buyers who want a more classical style. Upgrading cabinets is a good way to add value to your home, meaning you’ll likely get a good return on investment for installing shaker cabinets.

Cons of shaker cabinets

On the other hand, shaker cabinets:

  • Might be too classical for a modern home. The five-piece design of shaker style cabinets may feel out of place among the sleek lines and linear elements of ultra modern homes, where you’ll often see flat panel cabinets (with no recessed center panel).
  • May appear boring in traditional homes. If your home features a lot of accents and moulding, the plain, simplistic look of shaker style cabinets may pale in comparison to the rest of the house.
  • May not appeal to all homebuyers. While the transitional style of shaker cabinets will appeal to a lot of homebuyers, they won’t win over everyone.

Cost to install shaker style cabinets

To install shaker cabinets in your kitchen, you have 2 options:

  • Cabinet refacing: Involves replacing your existing cabinet doors and drawer fronts with shaker style ones and then applying the finish of your choice to the cabinets. Cabinet refacing costs typically range between $5,000 and $15,000.
  • Cabinet remodeling: Involves completely removing your existing cabinets and installing brand new shaker cabinets featuring the finish you choose. The cost of replacing cabinets can range anywhere from $10,000 to $50,000.

Learn more about whether you should reface or replace/remodel your cabinets in our blog “Reface or Replace: Which is Best for My Cabinets? An Arizona Pro Explains.”

Need a quote to install shaker cabinets in your home?

Contact us online or at (480) 641-9611 to schedule an appointment. One of our cabinet experts will evaluate your current cabinet layout and give you an upfront, same-day quote to replace them with shaker cabinets. We’ll help you get the sleek, timeless style that will keep your kitchen looking classic for years to come.

Tim statezny

Tim Statezny