Shaker end tables have worldwide appeal, both as valued collectibles and as beautiful, unfussy pieces of furniture that go with anything in the home.
Introduced over 200 years ago by the Shaker religious sect, this unfrilly furniture style has a truly timeless quality that makes sense for any style of home. Shaker end tables can accent your couch or other living room furniture with chic simplicity, and while they are not bold furniture designs, they make the perfect complementary pieces for your rustic or modern living room. Place your books, artwork, and most prized family photos atop your Shaker end table for a stylish, comfortable look. Mix and match your shaker end tables for a more eclectic aesthetic.
Shaker end tables are light and airy, evoking a warm, country feel in any space they occupy. Traditionally, “country” style decor and furniture is sometimes seen as overly cluttered. The modern minimalism of Shaker end tables, however, is far from cluttered! Shaker style furniture is charactarized by its clean build, unassuming lines, and tapered leg shape. It’s beautiful in its simplicity and in its rich centuries old heritage.
Shaker end tables are some of the most versatile styles for your living room. So if you don’t feel comfortable committing to a certain style, this is the perfect type for you. Switch your styles around as much as you like and your Shaker end table will still look just as wonderful beside your couch or comfy living room chair.
What do you think, would you add a Shaker end table to your living room space? If not, what style do you like better?
We don’t typically re-share articles from others, but when I read “The First American Modernists” by Lance Esplund, I knew I had to share it with our community of Shaker furniture lovers. Lance provides a thoughtful, interesting look at the Shakers and Shaker furniture, as inspired by an art exhibit at the Farnsworth Art Museum in Rockland, Maine. The exhibition, titled “The Shakers: From Mount Lebanon to the World,” provided a historical overview of the Shakers and their simplistic, spiritual lifestyle; focusing on the craft of their now world recognized furniture.
While Shaker communities were once vibrant and thriving, there are now only 3 Shakers left. Brother Arnold Hadd and his two elderly sisters practice their faith at Sabbathday Lake’s Shaker Village in New Glouster Maine. It’s the worlds last active Shaker Community. Brother Arnold Spoke at the exhibit & covered topics such as the concept of “Shaker Style” (which he claims does not exist) and the inspiration behind their modest furniture design. According to Esplund, the exhibit was full of Shaker Furniture. He goes on to explain:
“That “classic” Shaker style is well represented here in strong, unassuming cupboards, tables, desks and chests of drawers; delicately crafted oval wooden nesting boxes; inviting, wide-mouthed wooden bowls; tightly woven rugs and baskets; and sprightly, no-nonsense ladder-back chairs. Made of chestnut, walnut, flame birch and bird’s-eye maple, these lightweight, sturdy chairs have rhythmically dynamic woven cane and checkerboard tape seats. They could be easily hung on wall pegs to allow for the ecstatic “shaking” dancing prayers for which the “Believers” became commonly known.”
While I haven’t had the opportunity to see the exhibit first hand, I have a deep appreciation for Shaker Furniture and it’s honest, unassuming design. Rich with history, Shaker Furniture has a legacy and heritage that we are proud to represent here at Vermont Woods Studios. If you’re interested in learning more about this Shaker exhibition, Esplund’s article is full of practical insight on the history and inspiration behind their furniture.
2013, our first year at Stonehurst gave us another reason to study and analyze what our customers’ favorite American made furniture styles are. With limited space in our showroom, we wanted to display the very best selection of Vermont furniture, as defined by customer purchases. After looking through the sales statistics, we found these Top 3 American Furniture styles, which we’ll be featuring often at Stonehurst:
Shaker Style Furniture
This Vermont Shaker bed, nightstand and chest are pretty accurate reproductions of the original Shaker style furniture crafted by communities of the United Society of Believers starting in the late 1700’s. Born here in the Northeast, this American furniture style is a simple, utilitarian design characterized by straight tapered legs and mushroom-shaped wooden knobs. Vermont furniture makers have become today’s authority on Shaker furniture and customers seeking a simple elegant, solid wood design have grown to love their work. It’s our top seller and customers are customizing it in their choice of cherry, walnut, maple and oak woods (preference is in that order). Sometimes customers will choose two contrasting wood colors like cherry and walnut or maple and walnut to trick it out– if there is such a thing for “Shaker furniture”.
Craftsman Style Furniture
This Contemporary Craftsman Bedroom Furniture collection is a modern rendition of the American craftsman and “arts and crafts” furniture that became popular in the late 19th century and remained prevalent through the 1930s. It’s handmade of real solid cherry wood with contrasting drawer pulls in solid walnut wood and reflects the true craftsmanship of this period. The finish on this collection is a traditional hand-rubbed oil and wax. If you like this contemporary craftsman style furniture, learn more about the details and craftsmanship here.
Shaker beds have been a specialty of Vermont furniture makers for over 200 years and they remain popular today. I was helping a customer work through the process of finding the perfect Shaker bed yesterday and realized it’s not so easy. We have almost 20 different shaker beds in our online furniture store. All are top quality, 100% American made (handcrafted right here in Vermont) using responsibly harvested, real solid wood.
After looking at our Top 10 Shaker beds and all the different variations in design, we came up with a few subcategories that might make shopping easier for those looking for a particular style:
Traditional Shaker Beds
Four Poster Shaker Beds
Shaker Panel Beds
Shaker Sleigh Beds
You’ve probably noticed that these beds are all shown in solid cherry wood, which has a rich reddish brown color (once it has “ripened” after exposure to light). Cherry is by far the most popular wood for our customers when ordering Shaker furniture. However all of our Shaker beds are also available in three other woods: maple, walnut and oak. Some customers even like to mix two woods together like the Sarah Shaker beds below (shown in maple and walnut).
Two Tone Shaker Beds
Hopefully this makes shopping for your new Shaker bedroom furniture a little easier. Questions? Come visit us at Stonehurst our new fine furniture and art gallery or contact us through our live chat, email, Facebook or phone.
1. New England Shaker 8/10 Drawer Dresser: This traditional 8/10-drawer New England Shaker Dresser will add beauty, style and functionality to your bedroom. It’s sleek lines and simplistic design make it a perfect piece for the tastes of both husband and wife–not overly masculine or feminine! The two top drawers have internal dividers and a saw kerf on the drawer fronts that give the appearance of separate drawers.
2. New England Shaker Bed: Our New England Shaker bed is true to authentic Shaker style and design, with soft arches and understated features. With this handcrafted bed there is no need to worry about your furniture going out of style–Shaker furniture has been held in high regards since the 1700s, and is still one of the top furniture styles! Pair with your favorite bedding and comfy pillows, and you’ll find yourself not wanting to get out of this beautiful Shaker bed.
3. New England Shaker Dressing Stool: The New England Shaker Dressing Stool is an ideal accessory furniture piece for the bedroom. It’s super versatile and can be used as an accent to your bed or dressing table–or for relaxing while you put on your makeup in the morning. It’s very comfortable, and features an elegant tapered leg, true to Shaker designs.
4. High-End Shaker Full Length Armoire: This luxurious solid wood Shaker Armoire is an elegant, sophisticated piece for the bedroom. It’s functionality in combination with its unique, high end aesthetic make it an ideal piece for those looking for additional storage and style in their space.
5. New England Shaker Lamp Table: This table is an essential piece for the bedroom. Whether its actually used for holding your lighting, or for your books, plants, & other items that there seems to be no other place for, its a stylishly useful furniture piece that would fit well in most bedrooms!
If you were re-decorating your bedroom and could only choose one of these furniture designs– which would you pick? Let us know on our Facebook page, or in the comments section! 🙂