first friday feature - french chateau kitchen (1)

Shaker Cabinet Door Style Variations

The shaker cabinet door style has been around for what seems like forever, and it’s not going away anytime soon! We get asked for a “white shaker” a lot (sometimes adding in a second color). However, who knew that there were so many shaker door style variations? Take a basic shaker and add a little “something” to it and… Ta-Da! A brand new door style with a little more personality! Below we show you what a standard shaker style looks like in a kitchen, along with four variations to take your cabinetry to the next level.


A standard shaker cabinet door is a 5-piece door construction. What does this actually mean? Well, you take two rails (pieces 1 and 2, laid in a horizontal direction) and place them top and bottom between two stiles (pieces 3 and 4, laid in the vertical direction) that sit left and right all around a center panel (piece number 5) – voilà. The stiles and rails are very basic in shape, so they are square on each side. The center panel seems thinner than the outside pieces, creating a dropped effect, and giving you that recessed look. There you go – shaker. This kitchen below is in a home built early 1900’s so the shaker style was just perfect. What gave this a little more interest? Making it inset to the cabinet box and adding exposed hardware. But, it’s still just your standard shaker door!

Beveled Shaker

Now you know that with a standard shaker cabinet door, it drops at a 90 degree angle from your stiles and rails to your center panel. So, what’s an easy way to update this? Create a bevel. Instead of a sharp 90 degree, find a door style that uses a 30, 45, or even 60 degree angle into your center panel, and it can soften the look. This, we think, is the first step to making your standard shaker a little more interesting, and a little more contemporary looking. The smaller the angle, the larger that interior part looks, and the more contemporary of a feel you get. Check out this transitional kitchen (that we just love) that used a beveled shaker door style!

Shaker With A Bead

Love the simple shaker cabinet door look but want to push a little more traditional in feel? Adding a bead never hurts. Instead of the bevel above, you can add a little curved “bead” between the outside of the door and the interior recessed panel. Sometimes even the smallest detail feels like a lot, especially when you have smaller doors and drawers, so think about using this as an option for your “shaker with interest” kitchen! Below we have a funky but charming kitchen and did just this, and we think it’s just perfect.

Shaker With A Triple Step

Surprisingly, we have several cabinet lines that have a door style like this that are all very similar to each other and are quite popular with clients. Some people have turned away from the “shaker with a bead” because either it was too harsh of a look, or they thought the bead – which comes to tiny 90-degree angles at the edges – can be too hard to clean. Enter the triple step. The stiles and rails have 3 different “drops” at varying degrees to take it to the center panel. None are very large, but it’s a little more of a classic style than a straight bevel, so perfect for a more detailed design. This château inspired design below is a perfect example.

Shaker Inside A Shaker

Anyone else love the movie Inception? Consider this the shaker door style of that movie. Instead of just a single 90-degree drop to the center panel, the stiles and rails in this door style do it two times. Twice as nice! A little more of a designer look that works well with any home style, like this kitchen as seen below. It’s also perfect for spaces that have larger doors and for frameless cabinets where you may want to mimic the look of inset cabinetry. Not sure what that means? Check out a detailed explanation here on cabinet construction styles. Again, this is something several cabinet lines offer, like all of the options above, so you aren’t very limited by species, colors, budget, interior fittings, or customization.

What’s your favorite go-to variation of a standard shaker cabinet door? Is it one above, or maybe some other style? There’s more than you think, so don’t feel like you are stuck with the basics unless that’s truly what you want – we love that too! Still not what you’re looking for? Learn about other door styles here and find the right one for you.