If you’ve a fan of minimalism, you may have heard of the Shaker style, which emerged in 1800s United States. Characterised by simplicity and bare, functional minimalism, the S haker style has been practised to this day by the American community of the same name. The Shaker community is dubbed as the world’s original practitioner of minimalism for their beliefs in making every element of Shaker construction and form, especially furniture and homeware, as simple, unadorned and durable as possible.
The Shaker community’s idea of minimalism is not so much a look, but more about principle of using what one already has or features already available in the architecture and surrounding environment, which translates to many DIY and up-cycled elements. Waste not, want not.
HOW TO GET SHAKER MINIMALIST LOOKS
1. ADD VINTAGE, REPURPOSED, OR UP-CYCLED ELEMENTS
The traditional Shaker homes incorporate many DIY and up-cycled elements. Think of old tabletops converted into folding kitchen surfaces, pipeworks that double as clothes rack, and other inventions – nothing goes to waste. So go thrifting, hunt for vintage pieces and relook of your old furniture to incorporate into your home.
2. GO HEAVY ON WOOD
The Shaker community is big on solid wood. The classic Shaker look is rich with dark wood because that is the common local material in the community’s native New England. So use locally available wood, like teak. Stick to simple forms and unadorned surfaces.
3. ADD SHAKER-INSPIRED DETAILS
this might sound like contradiction, but we won’t judge you for adding homage to the actual look of New England’s Shaker to emulate its unique minimalism. Some elements that are identifiably influenced by Shaker style includes black iron hinges, pulls and joinery, ladderback chairs, picture rails and chair rails, which are narrow trim boards that run horizontally along the walls about 70cm above the floor. When done carefully in our context, this could result in an interesting modern spin, like in this interior by KNQ Associates.