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Shaker Style

1747 to 1900

The Shaker’s were a religious sect founded in England in the late 1700’s. The Shaker’s design philosophy is one of necessity and usefulness. Once these elements are achieved, they believed in beauty. They were strong believers of common ownership and communal living and were persecuted for their beliefs.

They later immigrated to America and led peaceful lives of abstinence and celibacy. Because of their celibate beliefs, the Shaker community is slow to grow and the only way they can survive is by conversion.


Shaker Style

The Shaker’s believed first and foremost in functionality, and veered away from unnecessary decoration. However, they were strongly focused on the quality of their word so each item was generally made to perfection. Their style was open plan, simple and uncluttered with a lot of natural materials such as handcrafted wood furniture and cotton quilting, wool and silk.

Shaker Furniture

Furniture was the key element of the Shaker design philosophy.

Shaker Color

Colors were rich and dark. Ruby red, forest green or blue, with heavy damask patterns were prominent. The color palette was initially restricted until the mastering of chemical process dying. Peacock greens and blues, magentas, violets and raw pinks burst onto the scene. Fabrics were highly patterned. Velvet and damask were of choice for the winter, switching to cotton and chintz for the cooler summer months. Wallpaper became mass-produced and was embraced by the masses. Paper went from the skirting board to the dado line and was pattered in flock, damask or water silk.

More information on Styles and Periods of Interior Decorating

Styles and Periods
Furniture History
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About the Author – Lee Brown

Lee Brown is the co founder of, she has worked in the Interior Design Industry for over 23 years, specializing in commercial, hospitality, high end architectural homes and retail design. Over the past 13 years Lee and Chris Brown have been collating their wealth of design knowledge to provide free interior decorating education to the world. Make sure you register for your free ecourse today. Free Interior Decorating eCourse