The Practicality of Adopting Shaker Design Principles

Perhaps you have heard of the virtues of the Shaker design principles in our previous journal post or through your own research into the history of minimalist living. For those who have just discovered the philosophy, welcome.

For context, the Shakers lived communally and ascetically in the 18th century; preparing a utopian reality on earth to reflect the beliefs of their faith. The material culture around the Shaker faith stemmed from their idea of freedom from desire. In releasing their desire for materialistic need as it was rendered irrelevant by the communal way of life, Shakers would prioritise asceticism, cleanliness, simplicity and function, whilst attaining faultlessness in their work.

The simple, pared-back approach of the Shaker design eventually weaved its way into acceptance in the post-Industrial world, as an alternative to the over-done, decorative baroque aesthetics before it. By the early 20th century, the rise of Modernism gave hero to the Shaker values, and we saw the Shaker, Scandinavian and Japanese vernacular design bridge in unison.

Today, the values can be adopted in their pure essence – to design and create purposefully, simply, and essentially. Who would have thought that 18th century principles would be even more relevant in today’s world of growing waste and over-consumption?

For us, we draw on the principles of Shaker design for a few reasons.

Authenticity in design

Design starts with intention and purpose. A core principle Plyroom lives by is by providing authenticity in our practice, valuing quality craftsmanship in each of our products and investing in high-quality, natural materials such as plywood to withstand the test of time.

Featured above is our Shibui Room Divider

Pared-back minimalism

Aesthetics in the home, of course, play a major role in coming home to calm. In creating pieces that we can use as vessels to enhance our home life, we keep the theme of natural simplicity through neutral hues. Neutrals in the home reflect nature and represent a sense of peace, calm and wholesomeness.   

Featured above is our Cabine Small

Versatility and function 

Another significant principle as part of Plyroom’s design intention is to offer ultimate functionality. Creating children’s pieces to adapt and grow as your little ones would, through to storage units that can rest on ground, or fixate to walls. Our pieces aim to serve your life and its unique needs.

Featured above is our Ava Lifestages Cot

Good for the planet

By virtue of the above and in adopting the Shaker principles, our design favours the health of the planet. When you buy well, you only buy once.

Featured above is our Dream Cloud Loft Bed


Adaptive and minimalist furniture and homewares as inspired by the Shaker design principles...


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