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Interior Design Styles: Shaker

This simple, yet very stylish interior design style continues to grow in popularity as many of us can’t afford unnecessary furnishings and furniture in our homes due to the current economic downturn. Others have adopted this style because of its use of natural materials, home-made furnishings and plain designs as they realise that the return of family life is more important than having the latest high-tech gadgets and gizmo’s.

When adopting the Shaker style the first thing to realise is that functionality plays a huge role and Shaker interiors steer away from unnecessary decoration. The use of natural materials is also high on the agenda and fits new lifestyle and ‘going green’ principles very well. The Shakers were self-sufficient as they could be, most had farms or small holdings and a sense of community spirit was encouraged. Despite their beliefs that over indulgence and unnecessary trappings were not required they still used the latest technologies to improve their ways of working.

Colours:

Deep ruby reds, forest greens and blues were the colours originally used by Shakers. The colour palette was increased further to include peacock blues, pinks and indigo.

Furniture:

Beautiful hand-made wooden furniture is used extensively and while our modern lifestyles don’t lend themselves to us making our own furniture you can use plain designs based on the Shaker style.

Walls:

Although walls were originally plain the introduction of wallpaper became popular and was used to cover the walls from the skirting board to the dado rail. In stricter Shaker homes walls remained plain and had a wooden peg rail, what we know as a picture rail, with hooks running around it added so that hats, coats and chairs could be placed up off from the floor.

Floors:

These were typically plain wood with the use of large rugs which had been hand-crafted in living areas and bedrooms.

Windows:

Somewhat surprisingly highly patterned curtain fabrics were used, with heavier weight velvet and damasks being used in the colder months and swapped for chintz and cotton during the warmer months. External shutters or wooden blinds will suit this style of interior beautifully.

Fabrics:

Curtains, table cloths and other soft furnishings were usually hand-made from wool, silk and cotton for quilting. Quilted bedding, especially bedspreads, were used and again have seen a resurgence within the world of stylish interiors.

Accessories:

Very few were used to adorn houses, however, hand-crafted samplers and cross stitch can be used as wall art. Wicker storage baskets lined with fabric will also work well in a Shaker styled home.

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