What is: Shaker Style?

What is: Shaker Style? | Alabama Sawyer

January 27, 2020

Shaker furniture refers to a style of furniture developed by the religious group known as the Shakers, or the United Society of Believers in Christ's Second Appearing. Their furniture emphasized simplicity, function, minimalism and attempted to de-emphasize overly ornamental decorative touches. Our own furniture belongs to the Shaker style of design. Here are some examples of the Shaker style:


Left: Shaker Sewing TableRight: Doug Coldwell Shaker Bureau

For reference, here are some of our own furniture pieces. Note the similarities and differences between our furniture and actual Shaker pieces:


 Left: Lanett Credenza in Sweet GumRight: Walker Bookcase


Left: Alasaw ChairMiddle: Spider Console TableRight: Waverly Table

Shakers tended to avoid using inlays, carvings, or veneers in their furniture since they were seen as overly prideful or deceitful. One big difference between Shaker style and our furniture is the practice of wood staining. Traditional Shakers would never stain furniture to change the color of the wood (unless it was one color used to represent that particular sect) while we at Alabama Sawyer love staining a variety of products for aesthetic reasons. Examples:

Sputnik Tables | Alabama Sawyer

Sputnik Tables

Cocktail Cubes with Brass Details

Some of the common wood types used in Shaker furniture include cherry, maple, walnut and oak. Interestingly enough, at the time of me writing this blog post, there are two remaining Shakers in the world. If you're interested, check out their website.

Sources and Further Reading

Doug Coldwell [CC BY-SA 3.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)]

“Shaker Furniture.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 19 Sept. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shaker_furniture.

Vermont Woods Studios. “Shaker Furniture 101: Everything You Need to Know.” Shaker Furniture 101: Everything You Need to Know - Vermont Woods Studios, vermontwoodsstudios.com/content/shaker-furniture-101.