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The Resurgence of Shaker Style

Jessica Thomas, Style and Design Director for Better Homes & Gardens, describes how the utilitarian approach of these early English settlers is being adapted for modern home decor.

In our November 2017 issue we featured colonial Shakers as the original minimalists, whose 19th century craftsmanship is synonymous with efficiency and comfort. Their appreciation of the everyday life is a popular theme in present-day interior design as well—with handcrafted furniture, natural materials, and minimal decoration becoming highly sought after features for many homeowners. Especially in the era of tiny homes, apartment living, and environmental consciousness, space-saving, multi-use furniture is a must. Here, Better Homes & Gardens Style and Design Director Jessica Thomas demonstrates how to adapt this early American trend for your modern home.

How did you decide to spotlight Shaker style as a home trend?

Shaker was, and still is, an iconic style of form and function in furniture, woodworking, and basket and textile weaving. Its simplicity remains modern and has influenced Scandinavian furniture designers in particular.

What draws people to this pared-back style of interior design?

I would say it's a classic shape and line, and it can be interpreted in a variety of home interior aesthetics when used judiciously. Shaker style speaks to what many millennials are drawn to, in terms of things made by hand that have an authentic feel.

With its modern adaptation, who is likely to embrace Shaker style furniture and decor?

The purpose of this article was to introduce this quintessential style to a new generation who may not have realized that certain modern design was derived from Shaker workmanship.

Is there a signature piece, material, or pattern that defines Shaker style?

Naturals, such as wood, grasses, pottery, and textiles—simple and graphic motifs.

What other home decor styles pair well with Shaker construction?

A mix of some of the Shaker sensibilities can be seen in modern and boho styles, but a mix is key so that it doesn't feel like a museum.

How is the modern Shaker trend different than the original Shaker style that focuses on honesty, utility, and simplicity?

It follows in the same footsteps, but what makes it current is using bolder renditions of pattern, scale, and color for a fresher feel.

Thanks, Jessica!

Learn more about Shaker style in our November 2017 issue.

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