In the event that you like furniture with bunches of bends and elaborate enhancement, then you’re looking in the wrong place with shaker furniture. Not at all like furniture styles that endeavor to win you over with extravagant millwork and itemized carvings, Shaker style furniture is known for precisely the inverse: its straightforward, utilitarian outline. Then again, it’s precisely that humble, yet excellent, look of shaker furniture that is in charge of making it so prevalent with American mortgage holders and originators alike.
Shaker Style Furniture: a History
Shaker furniture has changed little since it’s inception in the late 1700’s by a Christian denomination (the Shakers) that stressed beliefs of simplicity and efficiency. Their furniture reflected their values, as did their high level of craftsmanship. The resulting designs were functional, well built, and beautiful in their understatement. Those same traits remain the trademarks of shaker style furniture to this day, and spotting quality shaker furniture is simply a matter of knowing what to look for.
Shaker Furniture 101
If you’re interested in decorating your home with shaker style furniture, there’s several building styles and design elements you’ll want to get up on your radar screen. The first thing to look for is straight, uniform lines. You won’t find fancy carvings or wood work anywhere on these pieces. Modesty is the name of the game. A second trademark is found in the joinery. Like other finely crafted wood furniture, shaker furniture uses the traditional strategies of tenon and mortise joinery, and dovetailing, in fitting pieces of wood together. You won’t find screws, nails, or braces anywhere on a well built piece of Shaker furniture. Finally, shaker chairs are known not for the wooden frames, but for the carefully woven seats. It’s a unique trait that sets Shaker style chairs and dining sets apart from many other custom furniture building styles.
Where to Find Shaker Furniture Today
The large Shaker communities that produced Shaker style furniture in days past have mostly disappeared in modern times. In fact, as of this writing, only one, small working shaker community still existed in the United States. Fortunately for enthusiasts of their trademark furniture style, over the years the fine craftsmanship and straightforward designs of shaker style furniture have been passed on to custom furniture builders from all walks of life.