Contractors: Everything to Know About Shaker Style Cabinet Doors

What are shaker style cabinet doors? Can you use them to make unique kitchen designs? Learn more about your options with this door style.

A kitchen featuring Rift Cut White Oak shaker style cabinet doors with a natural finish.
Image provided by Hiebert Cabinets & Fine Woodwork Ltd., customer

The home design, building, and renovation industry is highly competitive. With so many businesses vying for the same market, it can be challenging to stand out. So, how can you make your kitchen designs unique and irresistible to your clients?

One great way is by choosing a distinctive cabinet door. If you’ve heard of shaker style cabinet doors, you might wonder if they could be the perfect fit for your projects.

At Cutting Edge, we’ve produced cabinet doors for over 20 years. During that time, we’ve developed some unique shaker style options.

But you need more information before you offer your clients shaker style doors. Keep reading to learn:

Shaker style cabinet doors are a simple and popular option

Shaker style cabinet doors have a flat centre panel surrounded by a solid wood frame. Although traditional shaker doors have an unprofiled wood frame, this has changed over the years. Now, the only requirement of shaker style cabinet doors is the flat centre panel.

Thanks to that centre panel, shaker style doors have a simple appearance with clean lines.

However, don’t make the mistake of assuming shaker style doors are a plain option that always looks the same – because nothing could be further from the truth. You can choose from many wood species, profiles, and finishes to make your shaker doors unique.

A variety of shaker style cabinet doors.

Are you thinking, ‘OK, they might be unique. But how popular are shaker style doors really?’

While we can’t speak for the entire industry, we produced 112,000 cabinet doors last year. And of those, 51,300 were shaker style doors. In other words, almost half of your customers will choose some variation of shaker style cabinet doors.

Now, shaker style doors fall into two general categories.

Types of shaker style cabinet doors

Although the traditional shaker style cabinet door has a solid wood centre panel, that is not the only choice. There are two general types of shaker style cabinet doors. 

1. Shaker cabinet doors with solid wood panels

Solid wood panels are the traditional option. They are more expensive, stable and distinctive than the next option.

An infographic showing the parts of solid wood shaker style cabinet doors.

2. Shaker cabinet doors with plywood panels

Plywood panels are a cost-effective alternative to solid wood panels in shaker style cabinet doors.

An infographic showing the parts of a plywood panel shaker style cabinet door.

4 ways to make shaker style doors unique

These two types of doors aren’t your only choices when looking for a unique shaker style door. While traditional shaker doors are still popular, not all customers want the same door style. So, you can also choose from many inside profiles, outside profiles, wood species, and finishes to make your design truly one-of-a-kind and capture the business of customers who want to steer away from the typical options.

1. Inside profile

With the wide range of profile options in the woodworking industry, there are countless ways to make your cabinet doors more decorative. The inside profile is the most noticeable profile selection. 

You can choose a simple inside profile to enhance the appearance and cleanability of the cabinet door or a more detailed inside profile to draw attention. 

Or, you can even combine two different inside profiles for a truly unique design.

2. Outside profile

The next option is the outside profile. Often, you would base the outside profile on practicality, like one that makes cleaning the cabinet door easier. However, you can choose a decorative outside profile for a more ornate door.

3. Wood species

The wood species you choose has an incredible effect on the appearance of your cabinet doors. Some woods have more natural characteristics and beauty than others

For example, Hickory, Walnut, Maple, Alder and Birch all have a wide range of grain patterns, colours, and other characteristics that add to the uniqueness of your cabinet doors. These wood types often work well with less ornate profiles, which allow the natural beauty of the wood to take centre stage.

4. Finish colour

Last but not least is the finish. You can choose from clear lacquer that allows the wood to shine, paint that hides the wood entirely, and everything in between. With these four customizations, you have thousands, if not millions, of possible combinations. 

A kitchen with light-grey shaker style cabinet doors.
Image provided by Komplete Custom Woodworks Ltd., customer

Shaker style doors work well in many designs

Thanks to their simplistic design, shaker style cabinet doors fit in with many designs and styles. Most notably, designers often use shaker style doors in traditional, contemporary and modern designs.

However, if you choose the right profile combination, wood species and finish, you can make shaker style doors work for almost any style.

Designs that traditional shaker style doors are ideal for

Traditional shaker cabinet doors have clean, straight lines. When paired with a painted finish (especially a white paint) shaker style doors naturally work well in modern designs.

For contemporary or minimalistic designs, pair the traditional shaker doors with warmer painted finishes, like creams and greens. This adds warmth and coziness to the space while maintaining a clean feel.

Shaker style cabinet doors work well in contemporary, traditional and modern designs.
Image provided by Gateway Kitchen + Bath, customer
A bank of Walnut drawer fronts in a clear lacquer finish, which allows the wood to shine.
Image provided by Chris Murray Custom Cabinets, customer

Designs that work better with customized shaker style doors

On the other hand, customized shaker cabinet doors work exceptionally well in more detailed designs like traditional, farmhouse, or country.

These styles don’t require as much emphasis on minimalism and clean lines, allowing you to embellish the cabinet doors without muddling the kitchen design. 

Adding more detailed profiles or using wood doors instead of painted doors increases the warmth and coziness of the overall kitchen design. 

The picture to the right is a great example of this. The island has Walnut cabinet doors with a bevelled inside profile and a clear lacquer finish. Combined with the white painted doors around the kitchen perimeter, this creates an inviting space.

Use shaker cabinet doors to make unique spaces

Although shaker style doors have a traditional option that is classic and popular, that isn’t the extent of the possibilities. 

With the ability to choose from many wood species, profiles and finishes, you can design a special cabinet door for every customer. 

And why does this matter?

Providing distinctive kitchen designs to your customers will help you stand out in the crowd of competitors, making your company memorable. In turn, this means customers are more likely to choose to work with you, which will allow you to grow your business.

Shaker style cabinet doors: a timeless choice

As a business owner who wants to continue to make a profit, you need customers to choose to work with you. Having unique and distinctive kitchens will make you stand out in the crowd.

But, before you decide to order shaker cabinet doors, you should learn more about them to be certain they are the right choice for you and your customers.

So how should you start?

Well, now that Cutting Edge has provided you with some basic information, you should learn more about the specific options. Next, read more about shaker style cabinet doors with plywood panels or dive into shaker style cabinet doors with solid wood panels.