Does a Handleless Kitchen Fit Your Style?

Handleless kitchens are becoming popular these days. The clean and effortless look seems to appeal to homeowners, particularly to those who are going after contemporary kitchens. It was also popular back in the 1970s, but it has gained popularity again, particularly over the past few years.

If you are determined to veer away from handles, then think about how you might create a handleless kitchen design without compromising on practicality. For instance, you don’t want to be running around the kitchen in tizzy and finding that there are no handles on cabinets or drawers to hold on to.

Here are the pros and cons, as well as different approaches to making a handleless kitchen design, to help you decide on whether or not a handleless kitchen is right for you.


Ageless style  –  One of the major concerns of homeowners about kitchen cabinets is whether or not it will become out of style.  Handleless kitchens have a stylish, ageless look that becoming dated should not be a worry at all. They display a sleek unfussy profile that guarantees the style will forever be a ‘less-is-more’ design classic.

Safety  –  Aside from the fact that the lack of handles is a no-fuss, stylish option, it also offers safety. There would be no handles to unintentionally catch you clothes on and for young kids to walk into and bang their heads on.


Cleaning   –  The channel at the top of each door or drawer that creates a space to pull the drawer or cabinet can collect dust and crumbs, and this will need to be cleaned regularly. You might want to keep this in mind if you prefer to have a low-maintenance home.

Cost  –  Contrary to popular belief, handleless kitchens don’t cost less because the expense of handles is eliminated. Depending on the option selected, the cost of handleless kitchens is roughly between 20-50 per cent higher than a kitchen with customary handles.

This is due to the extra work needed in the manufacturing process of handleless cabinetry, plus the cost of specialist hardware needed like electric mechanisms or finger pulls.

Another factor to consider is your appliances. If you’re looking at integrated appliances, like a dishwasher or a fridge, there are certain kinds of handleless kitchens that would match your design.

Firstly, pick the appliances you’d like to put in your kitchen, and talk about this with your kitchen designer. This would allow him or her to offer you the handleless kitchen that is right for you.

Types of Handleless Kitchens

Here is a look at the different types of handleless kitchens and the methods of cabinetry construction used in each type.

Overhead Cabinets
The door of an overhead cabinet can extend further than the body of the cabinet to form a finger pull lip at the foot. You can open the cabinet just by hooking your hand under the door and pulling it. You can also choose to have a push-to-open mechanism attached to the cabinet.

It is easy to open overhead cabinets without using handles that the following techniques are only used for under-bench cabinet drawers and tall pantry cabinet doors.

True Handleless
A true handleless kitchen is characterised by a continuous rail that is put into the cabinet. The rail is found behind every door and drawer front, and forms a space that you hold and pull to open the cabinet or drawer.

PRO: No alterations are needed for the doors or drawer fronts.

CON: The specialist labour needed for installing the continuous rail is an added cost to a true handleless kitchen. This is conducted on-site after all the cabinets have been installed.

Moulded Finger Pulls
This style features a channel that passes through the top edge of the door or drawer front, creating a tiny lip for gripping and pulling to open.

PROS: No extra hardware needed, which makes this style one of the most inexpensive types of handleless kitchen cabinetry. Plus, the cabinet doesn’t need to be altered.

CONS: The channel at the top of the door can be shallow, leaving with just a small lip to grasp. This can be irritate a person who has large fingers or long fingernails. Plus, the slim piece of wood or other material left at the back of the channel can be vulnerable to chipping or cracking. To avoid this problem, make sure to hire a contractor that uses only quality materials.

Aluminium Finger Pull
This style features a J-shape handle in the shape of a piece of moulded aluminium attached to the top of doors or drawer fronts. They are cut to size, allowing them to be customised to each individual door or drawer front. Though this is considered a handle, it offers a streamlined look and evokes a handleless appearance.

PROS: The advantage of this technique is the same as that of moulded finger pull in that it offers complete access to the interior of the cabinet. In addition, the aluminium finger pull makes a kitchen interesting minus protruding handles.

CONS: These handles must have a slim channel directed into the top of the door for fit in the handle. This cannot be done with certain door materials, like those made of vinyl-wrap finish, because it may cause the vinyl to shed.

Push-to-open Mechanics
This type is a pleasure to use. You can close the door by pressing a button on the side of the cabinet, which prompts the mechanism to return the door to a closed position.

PRO: No fixtures between the drawers, no finger pulls and no high-maintenance channels; there is only an even, flat front that is very easy to clean.

CON: Doors and drawer fronts can accidentally open when you lean against them. This can be annoying, particularly if you have inquisitive children.

Alternative Option
If you’re not 100 per cent sure of a fully handleless kitchen, but rather keen on the streamlined appearance, then consider a finger pull with a U-shape profile handle that is found on the top of the door or drawer front.

Now you’ve decided on the type of Handleless kitchen you prefer, finding the right kitchen manufacturer can be the next difficult decision.  Call me and I’ll be able to make my recommendations!  Having recently gone through the whole process myself I can let you know what will suit you best!