How Do You Modernize Shaker Cabinets?

Posted on: May 22, 2022


Shaker cabinets have been popular for a number of decades. That’s because they’re simple and attractive with clean lines, ideal for a variety of kitchen remodeling ideas. Named after an 18th century religious sect known as the Shaking Quakers, this style is indicative of the furniture and architectural style of that group of individuals, which was plain with no decorative touches.

Sounds boring, perhaps? Well, tens of thousands of homeowners would disagree with you. Sales of Shaker cabinets continue to boom, largely because they present a clean slate from which you can do just about anything.

So, if you like these cabinets but are worried about your kitchen looking dull or out-of-date, know that there are lots of ways to modernize Shaker cabinets and make your kitchen look totally 21st century.

  • Consider bold and bright colors – Nowhere is it written amongst kitchen remodeling ideas that Shaker cabinets need to be white, though that’s the color you’ll most often find. However, as color trends in kitchen design change and grow, you’ll find these cabinets not only in white or other neutral shades like gray or cream, but also in navy, yellow, green, and red. These bright, bold colors will provide a contemporary look for your kitchen while still maintaining simplicity and clean lines. You can also consider two assorted colors or shades, like navy cabinets on top and white on the bottom, for a rather nautical look.
  • Replace knobs and handles – Normally, Shaker cabinets either have no hardware on them or remarkably simple handles and knobs. So, to make them more your own and add a bit of a contemporary vibe, you can choose some modern hardware to match the rest of your décor. Something in gold makes your cabinets look luxe while knobs and handles in bright colors or perhaps chrome or stainless steel add a different kind of pizzazz. Look for photos of kitchen remodeling ideas to get some inspiration.
  • Include an island – Nothing says modern kitchen quite like an island. Besides giving your space a more contemporary look, it adds more food preparation space, a place for some bar stools where friends and family can gather to eat or watch you chop and slice, can accommodate an extra sink, and might even be a good place to stash a wine chiller.
  • Embed your appliances – Use your shaker cabinet doors to hide your appliances including your regular refrigerator or a wine fridge. A lot of kitchen remodeling ideas include “integrated” appliances, which keep your design looking modern and minimalistic without bulky appliances disrupting your sightline. Talk to your kitchen design company about this idea, which has become increasingly popular through the years.
  • Add a few accessories – If you want to give your Shaker cabinets a totally fresh look, kitchen remodeling ideas that shake things up a bit include doing things like adding crown, corner, or scribe molding to make your cabinets look taller and more spacious. You can also consider keeping traditional Shaker doors on the lower cabinets but replacing the doors on the upper cabinets with glass doors or – if you’re really daring – take off the doors all together.

Remember, the Shaker style easily lends itself to modern design since most modern kitchens contain truly little “gingerbread” and are very minimalistic in general. In addition, it’s important to remember that customization doesn’t have to be costly. Some modern knobs and handles that cost a few dollars a piece can make all the difference in the world when it comes to transforming your kitchen. Changing the elements around your cabinets, like your backsplash or floor, can also help it go from plain and boring to minimalist but exciting.

KCR can provide you not only with Shaker cabinets in a variety of colors but can also provide additional tips about how to keep them from looking uninteresting. To talk to one of our kitchen remodeling idea experts, visit us at