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Beautiful Shaker-Inspired Door Designs

by Rachel Lyon, Editorial Director for The House Designers

The Shaker design movement first established in the 18th century is experiencing a resurgence thanks to today’s focus on simple chic aesthetics! You’re probably familiar with interior finishes and furnishings in the style, but you can also outfit your home’s exterior with a nod to historical minimalism. Here’s a look at some Shaker-inspired doors and how they can adapt to suit any kind of architecture!

Therma-Tru Fiber-Classic Mahogany Collection

With authentic wood charm and historically inspired glass details, a Fiber-Classic® Mahogany Collection™ (Style No. FCM6240) entry is perfect for a renovation or for new construction with old-fashioned appeal.

Traditional Shaker Style

Simple and practical as a rule, Shaker-style furniture and cabinetry are known for minimalist construction with straight clean lines and no extraneous decoration. These pieces were either kept in neutral wood tones or painted white, with other colors used sparingly around the house. If this sounds familiar, it’s because these are the same design principles popular today! Trends are cyclical and our new appreciation for transitional schemes has renewed interest in Shaker finishes, so you’ll find them making a comeback in a variety of forms.

The front door sets the tone for your home, so make sure it supports your theme! Traditional Shaker-style doors are built with recessed panels, similar to what you’ll find in cabinets. The rails and stiles over the base have square edges—no fancy beveled or routed profiles like you’ll see in raised panel carpentry—to create the sharp recessed look. The most common Shaker door designs have two narrow panels side by side beneath a lite or a series of three to five full-width panels stacked from top to bottom, but there are many other options if you’re looking for a bolder, more unique entry.

Therma-Tru Smooth-Star

New in 2024, this Smooth-Star® Shaker door (Style No. S4200) and sidelight (Style No. S3200SL) make great choices for a modern farmhouse. Two-over-two divided lites underscore the country aesthetic while the simple panel and muted orange hue provide an updated pop of interest.

Transitional Shaker Style

Isn’t Shaker construction transitional by definition? Yes, but that doesn’t mean everything Shaker aligns with our current idea of transitional design. We streamline familiar favorite types of architecture into new transitional forms, and that can mean something different if you start with a farmhouse, Craftsman, or European home as the base. We also aren’t afraid to use color these days, and some of them are a definite step away from palettes favored in the past. So, don’t be afraid to tweak the Shaker format into something fresh and new!

Shaker doors are perfect for updating entries on transitional homes. You have a choice to make, though—do you want your door to fit the overall aesthetic of your architecture or stand out in contrast? Most homeowners choose to complement the original design, so they select a recessed panel door with a pattern similar to what would fit the house in a raised panel style. Those who aren’t afraid of making an eclectic impression may go with something more modern overall. In any case, painting your Shaker-style door is a great way to further simplify the final picture—not only does it look cleaner than a wood surface, but it also draws the eye straight to the shadow lines of the panels! Don’t be afraid to use a color that pops or clearly contrasts against the exterior, because the front door is supposed to be a focal point.

Therma-Tru Classic-Craft Visionary Collection in Fir Grain

Reeded glass obscures the view across the threshold in this Classic-Craft® Visionary Collection™ in Fir Grain entry (Style No. CCA2320XK). With wood looks and glass across five lites, this door is ideal for mid-century or organic modern design.

Modern Shaker Style

The Shakers predate the modern design movement by centuries, but their adaptable style still works for it! This shouldn’t be a surprise, given modern architecture’s emphasis on simple shapes and clean lines. But there’s one key feature of modern design that wasn’t available when the Shaker style was developed—expansive single panes of glass. Now, you can give a Shaker door a fitting modern update by swapping recessed panels out in favor of lites! Consider how different types of glass will tailor the look—you can’t go wrong with clear glass, but there are also plenty of privacy types that obscure the view between indoors and out. Decorative glass may take away from the entry’s understated Shaker charm, so tread carefully if you want to maintain that vibe.

Whatever sort of front door you’re in the market for, Therma-Tru® has you covered! Their extensive collection includes plenty of traditional, transitional, and modern Shaker-style entries, and you can make each one your own with different paint and stain finishes. Find a local dealer who can help you choose the perfect door to complement your home today!