Too hot to handle?
Once considered a niche design feature, handle-less kitchens have soared in popularity over the past 10 years, fuelled by an increasing demand for contemporary styles, minimalist looks and the need to maximise space.
Versatile, accommodating and timeless, they make a beautiful addition to any home. However, with many different handle-less options now available, where do you start? Here’s what you need to know about this style in order to make the best choice for you and your home.
The handle-less kitchen look
While contemporary in appearance, the handle-less look is reminiscent of the early 20th century Bauhaus style: simple yet functional, with designs characterised by a lack of decorative facades or ornamentation.
In the same way, cupboard and drawer handles today are a choice rather than a necessity. Opting for a handle-less design creates a streamlined flow of kitchen units – beautiful as well as efficient. The resulting look is chic, clean and clutter-free.
Benefits of handle-less kitchens
The handle-less style can help to create a clutter-free look, making it the best choice for small kitchens where space is at a premium. This is not just a visual effect, it’s also a physical one, since the lack of handles frees up more of the kitchen compared with a handled design. While we’re not talking huge amounts of extra space, it’s enough for a more comfortable and efficient working environment, with maximum room for manoeuvre.
This style also means you can’t snag clothing or bang your hips or, worse, small children’s heads, on door handles. Another benefit for parents is there are no handles for children to grab hold of and hang from, plus handle-less doors and drawers are much harder for young children to open – especially if you opt for child locks!
A handle-less kitchen is so much more stylish than a kitchen with cupboard door handles and drawer handles. It looks clean, uncluttered and streamlined. If you’ve got an open plan house, with your living room or dining room flowing into the kitchen, you’ll find that a kitchen without handles and door knobs will offer fluid movement throughout the house, giving excellent feng shui.
That being said, there’s more to focus on than just the looks when it comes to choosing the style of kitchen that will suit your lifestyle. Whether you’re thinking about having handle-less kitchen doors with a push-open mechanism, or handle-less kitchen cabinets with soft closing hinges, there are a few things to consider. To help you out, we’ve come up with the advantages and disadvantages of choosing having handle-less kitchen cupboards.
The Pros and Cons of Handle-less Kitchen Cabinets
Pro: Handle-less Kitchen Cabinets are Safer
Everyone knows what it’s like to bash their hip or head on kitchen cabinet knobs and kitchen drawer handles. It hurts, and quite frankly we could all do without it. From catching sleeves on a door handle to ripping jeans on a handle, we’ve all been there. Handle-less doors remove this issue, as there is nothing to catch yourself on. If you have kids, then it means there is one less thing for you to worry about them walking into.
Con: Handle-less Kitchens Cabinets Need Extra Cleaning
If you’ve got a handle-less door that has a channel at the top where you slide your fingers to open it, you’ll be surprised at the amount of dust and crumbs that can get in there. This isn’t to say these crevices will constantly be filled with dirt, but it is something to take into consideration – especially if you want a kitchen that requires minimal maintenance (don’t we all).
Pro: Handle-less Kitchens Carcasses Look Amazing
Handle-less kitchens look incredible. Their clean, effortless finish will give your kitchen a contemporary and sleek design that is hard to achieve with any other style of kitchen furniture. Some styles of handle-less kitchen doors and drawers require minimal touching on the front of the door, so you can go for a high gloss finish that would otherwise show up fingerprints and marks.
Con: Handle-less Doors are More Expensive
Due to the craftsmanship that goes into making handle-less doors, they may cost a little more than a standard cupboard door with a handle. This style of furniture requires one of the following;
- Push-to-open mechanisms
- Finger pulls
- Electric mechanisms if it is an electronic handle-less door
- Soft closing hinges
These should all be installed by a specialist, and will therefore cost a little more money.
Pro: Handle-less Kitchens go With Kitchen Accessories
Due to the modern and simplistic look that handle-less kitchens offer, if you’ve got some modern kitchen accessories that you want to use (such as a coffee machine or a toaster) they’ll go with your kitchen theme very well. If you’re hiring a kitchen specialist, let them know what accessories you have and they will create the perfect kitchen for you.
As handle-less styles have evolved, so too have kitchen appliance options. To complement the sleek look of handle-less kitchens, many integrated ovens, microwaves and hobs now exude ‘cleaner’ exteriors; they have slimmer profiles and fewer controls – which also makes them easier to use!
Fridges, freezers, dishwashers and washing machines have all followed suit, and are now available with handle-less doors. You can even get dishwashers with an ‘auto open’ function, which means the door pops open as soon as the cycle finishes, without you even touching it.
For the few appliances where the true handle-less system isn’t compatible, such as a cupboard above an extractor, you can opt for a push-to-open door mechanism instead.
Colours and finishes
If you’re concerned that handle-less kitchens only come in a limited range of styles, don’t be: there’s a plethora of colours and finishes available.
As mentioned earlier, with a true handle-less option, your fingers won’t touch the front of a door as you open it. However, if you’re still worried about fingermarks – especially if you have small children in the house – it’s worth noting that they will show less on lighter, matt or textured finishes as compared to glossy dark tones.