In the Dwelling House: 16 Design Ideas to Steal from the Shakers

Not too long ago, on a cold wintery morning, I drove from southern Maine through increasingly rural back roads to Canterbury, New Hampshire, then up the crest of a hill where the Canterbury Shaker Village sits, surrounded by fields and paths. Here at Remodelista, we’ve taken inspiration from the Shakers for a long time: We’ve seen Shaker-inspired cabinetry emerge from companies such as Plain English and deVol; extolled the benefits of Shaker peg rails in our new book, The Organized Home; and even named Shaker style as one of the trends to watch in 2018. But walking around the quiet, 200-year-old village, I was still taken by the cleverness of the Shakers: a broom hung in the nook of a stairwell; a clothes-drying rack, hung in an attic window to catch the sun; painted stacks of drawers. And more than that: the simplicity, symmetry, muted color palettes, and winter light in every room. Here are 16 design lessons from the Shakers.

Photography by Erin Little for Remodelista.

The village in winter.
Above: The village in winter.

1. Make the most of small spaces.

In the Dwelling House (the communal building where the Shakers slept), a small room off of the Baker&#8
Above: In the Dwelling House (the communal building where the Shakers slept), a small room off of the Baker’s Kitchen houses bags of flour and allows bread doughs to rise. It’s efficient despite its small footprint, with a built-in cabinet, Shaker peg rails, hooks, and shelves. Make the most of small spaces by thinking through the purpose of the space, and incorporating storage in every nook.

2. Use furniture in the kitchen.

Not just for clothes: In the Baker&#8
Above: Not just for clothes: In the Baker’s Kitchen, a chest of drawers adds extra storage.

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