The handleless kitchen is a trend that has been on the rise over the past few years, offering homeowners the opportunity to introduce smooth, sleek lines within their kitchen without the need for “pesky” handles.
Are handleless kitchen units right for your home? Like any part of kitchen design, our answer is – it depends on what you want and need. Every element of your kitchen should be matched to suit exactly how you like to use and enjoy the space, so whether they are appropriate for you will depend on various factors, which are unique to your home and lifestyle.
However, if you are considering buying a handleless kitchen, read our guide detailing the pros and cons of this style to help you make your final decision.
Handleless kitchen design
One of the great benefits of handleless kitchen units is that they fit in very well with most contemporary or classic kitchens, creating an effortlessly smooth aesthetic. It can be an ideal choice for open-plan kitchen/living areas, too. All too often, brass wear can interrupt the flow between zones of the kitchen, making the change between the kitchen and relaxing areas jarringly distinct.
Additionally, a handleless kitchen gives you more space, as there is no “overhang” from obtrusive hardware. This allows you to navigate around your kitchen more effectively while you cook and prepare food, making it an ideal choice for those with limited floor space.
However, if you are a true traditionalist who loves the classic country look, or you have an affection for ornate kitchen handles, then the handleless kitchen design is unlikely to impress you at first. However, it may not be an all-or-nothing choice – perhaps consider a handleless kitchen design at base unit level, mixed with handles on your wall cabinets if you cannot quite choose.
Are handleless kitchen doors on trend?
One of the more modern kitchen trends that we have seen in recent years has been a shift to handleless kitchen doors.
They aren’t anything new. In fact, they have been incorporated as part of minimalist kitchen designs for many years. However, it is only recently that we have noticed a big demand for kitchen doors without handles and a glossy finish.
Handleless kitchens have been around for over 40 years. They used to represent such a tiny percentage of the domestic kitchen retail market that door manufacturers didn’t consider it worthwhile to develop new colours and finishes for the handleless kitchen market. However, with more people now embracing contemporary living and indulging in innovative modern design, what was once a stagnant style of kitchen door has been reborn into handleless kitchen doors.
We have found more and more of our customers are opting for the sleek handleless kitchen design, with it delivering a simple and minimalist look that fits in nicely with their fast and busy lifestyles.
The pros and cons of a handleless kitchen
It’s no surprise to see that so many people are blown away with the look of a handleless kitchen. It’s a design that truly catches the eye. However, it’s important not to get caught up in the excitement of it all. As with any large home improvement project, you need to think with your head as well as your heart. Therefore, it is vital that you weigh up the pros and cons of handleless kitchens before going ahead and choosing one.
The safety of a handleless kitchen
There’s no denying that the kitchen can be a dangerous and hazardous place. Hot stoves, gas and electrical appliances, knives, and other sharp utensils – there are a lot of potential hazards all over the kitchen. It can be particularly dangerous for children.
Generally, handleless kitchens are safer than those with handles. For adults, this is because there aren’t handles which you can bump into or catch your clothing on as you navigate your kitchen, potentially while handling hot food. For children, handles on base units are often directly at the same height as their head, making bumps more likely. This is why many families opt for handleless cabinets for their kitchen.
A further advantage when it comes to the safety stakes for handleless kitchen doors is that handles can be a bit of a shining beacon to young children, calling out to be pulled upon, and handleless units do remove this temptation. That said, you should always ensure that young children are supervised in the kitchen.
Does a handleless kitchen provide extra space?
Talk to any kitchen owner and they’ll tell you that space can be at a premium at the best of times! So, when looking for that extra bit of wiggle room in a busy area, does a handleless kitchen stack up? There is no overhang on the handleless kitchen cupboards, which does give you valuable extra space.
This can be extremely useful if you are considering an open plan design for the kitchen. Not only does it help to create a light and airy feel, but there are also no handles to disrupt the fluidity of the design, either. The overall effect creates the illusion of even more space.
Keeping a handleless kitchen clean
When it comes to the cleanliness of a handleless kitchen, there are definitely both pros and cons. On one hand, if you have for example, a white high gloss kitchen, fingerprints by the grip ledge may start to show as sticky fingers open the door.
Additionally, dust and debris can collect in the recessed area within the opening ledge, known as a channel, which makes regular quick clear-outs necessary.
On the other hand – if you’ve ever spent time awkwardly scrubbing behind a handle that’s tricky to clean, you may consider a quick wipe-down of your kitchen units a breeze in comparison with getting rid of ingrained dirt on or behind the handles themselves.
One potential disadvantage of a handleless kitchen is that it will definitely take you longer to clean if you have J-pull doors. Dust and crumbs will quickly and steadily build up in the recesses that you pull to open a door or drawer. Essentially, the recess is the only place available for dust to settle, but this does mean that it accumulates quickly.
Moreover, fingerprints can also be an issue, potentially ruining your handleless kitchen design – especially if you opt for a high gloss finish. Obviously, you need to touch the front of the cabinets more often with a handleless kitchen design. This adds to your cleaning burden. However, this is offset to some extent, because there are no awkward handles to navigate cleaning around and behind.
Is a handleless kitchen practical?
This will very much depend on what you consider a practical kitchen layout, and, which type of handleless kitchen you choose. In one respect, it’s a very practical choice, as there is no need to spend time choosing and matching handles.
On the other hand, a J Groove opening may not suit someone who has limited dexterity – just as certain kitchen handles which are difficult to grip should be avoided in these instances. However, a push-open handleless unit may be a great option in this case – even better than a unit with traditional handles.
Practicality in the kitchen will vary by household, so it’s always worth considering what matters most to you before choosing any kitchen unit.
In general terms, a handleless kitchen shouldn’t be any less practical or harder to use than any other type of kitchen. However, there are a few factors that you might want to consider that could make handleless kitchens a little inconvenient for some. For example, if you have very long fingernails, it can be a bit tricky to grip a door without a handle, although this wouldn’t be with a problem with a push-to-open design. Similarly, for those with strength or mobility issues, especially conditions affecting the hands – such as arthritis – handleless kitchens may not be the best choice. Likewise, for those with busy lifestyles who are always rushing around the kitchen, you might miss having handles that you can quickly grab.
Do handless cabinets and drawers cost more?
Although you might think that the lack of handles in a kitchen could keep the cost of a kitchen down, you need to be aware that handleless kitchens do come with a higher price tag. First of all, the mechanisms that allow doors and drawers to be opened without handles require specialist craftmanship. Not only that, but installation of handleless kitchens requires expertise, too. All of this adds to the overall cost. It’s a cost that many would argue is well worth it, but that’s a decision that you need to make for yourself.
Handleless kitchens do tend to cost at least 15% more than their “handled” counterparts, and can even be a lot higher. This is due to the technique and craftsmanship that goes into the design of handleless drawers and cabinets, which require additional mechanisms to function without handles.
Therefore, if budget is one of your main concerns when it comes to choosing your kitchen, a handleless kitchen design may not be the right choice for you. However, why not browse our range of affordable handleless kitchen units?
Handleless kitchen doors are slightly more expensive than their counterparts with handles – for instance, our Lucente white kitchen doors are just over £4 more expensive for the smallest door than the high gloss white doors with handles. For those on a tight budget, this can certainly add up.
What is the modern handleless kitchen?
No other range of kitchen doors can produce the same ultra-modern design that handleless doors achieve.
While they have been used in minimalist designs for a while now, it is only recently that they have become a common element of creating an everyday modern-looking kitchen. Compare standard kitchen doors to our Handleless high gloss doors, for example – it’s easy to see just why so many people choose the handleless option.
They blend in seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen, create a shiny and fresh look, and stick to their minimalistic principles while promoting an ultra-modern style. Anyone who needs to drag their kitchen into the 21st century with a cutting-edge design should consider these handleless doors, and have a modern handleless kitchen at their disposal.
Are there handleless appliances to match?
If you want to go for a totally handleless look, you can! The idea of a handleless kitchen now extends beyond the cabinetry and doors of standard kitchen design. As the trend for a handleless kitchen has evolved, more and more homeowners have also looked for appliances with handleless doors. They are striving for a completely sleek and seamless look for their kitchen to create a feeling of streamlined space.
To this end, you will now find more appliance manufacturers who are producing built-in appliances that fit flush with kitchen cabinetry. Some have glass finishes, and the ‘touch to open’ mechanism is certainly becoming more popular in integrated appliance design.
What kind of cabinet fronts are best for handleless kitchens?
As a handleless kitchen will be touched a lot, thought should be given to the material used for the door and drawer fronts. The choice of material can have a significant impact on how often you will need to clean the handleless kitchen cupboards. The material, finish, and colour all need to be carefully considered. Staining will naturally occur, but over time this can create a polished film of dirt that can become impossible to remove completely if you choose wrongly – regardless of how often or how thoroughly you clean.
Kitchens with a lower sheen tend to show fewer marks. Similarly, lighter colours don’t tend to show marks and fingerprints as much as darker colours. For this reason, incorporating natural wood and steel into a design can create a superb finish. Not only do they look good, but they are also easier to maintain and keep clean. Additionally, any wear that occurs over time only adds to the character and charm of the finish.
So, you can see that even though a cool grey handleless kitchen might appear to be the ultimate in contemporary kitchen design, it may not be the most practical of choices – especially for a busy family and children with mucky fingers.
Try our sample handleless doors
We can provide you with a sample of any of our handleless kitchen doors for a small fee. In fact, you can pick up a sample from us for as little as £9.98.
This gives you the opportunity to see if the style of the door fits in with what you want for your kitchen. It can also allow you to see how our doors work in person, and to decide if they are a practical option for your home.
We are happy to assist you every step of the way with your choice. You can get in contact with us through a variety of channels, including visiting our showroom located in Ripon, North Yorkshire.