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The Pros and Cons of Handleless Kitchen Design

A popular choice in the 1960s and 70s, the handleless kitchen has experienced a rapid resurgence in recent years thanks to the growing preference for smooth, sleek interiors. And given that any home renovation is a huge investment, it is also a great long-term option. You can be confident that the elegant, simplicity of a handleless kitchen will never date.

Many of our customers have been wowed by our chic Linear Edge kitchens (the handleless version of our standard Linear range), and this style may have caught your eye too. However, it’s vital to weigh up the pros and cons of a handleless kitchen before committing to one.

What is a handleless kitchen?

A handleless kitchen design features no handles on the cabinets, cupboards or drawers, creating a clean, uncluttered look which is entirely modern and minimalistic. Although this is a straightforward concept, there are several handleless kitchen design variations to choose from, and each opens in a slightly different way:

J-pull

This design essentially incorporates a handle into the door or drawer itself. A 'J' shaped curve is built into the kitchen cabinet for fingers to easily hook into and pull open.

True handleless

Unlike a J-pull, a true handleless kitchen cabinet has no built-in ‘handle’. Instead, there is a rail behind the door or drawer which creates space for fingers to grip and pull open the furnishing. These units can be opened from either the top or the side.

Push-to-open

Rather than grabbing and pulling the kitchen door or drawer, a push-to-open handleless design means that just a light touch from your hand (or foot for lower cabinets) is all that’s needed for it to pop open.

Would a handleless kitchen be right for me?

As with all elements of kitchen design, the key is to choose an aesthetically pleasing but highly functional style that’s perfectly suited to your specific lifestyle. Even if you’re convinced a handleless kitchen would look wonderful in your home, or are feeling skeptical about its practicality, make sure you weigh up the pros and cons before deciding either way.

The pros 


Improved safety

Hot food, sharp knives, potentially hazardous gas and electrical appliances — your kitchen can be quite a dangerous place. Luckily, a handleless design helps make it as safe as can be, with no fear of you or your children accidentally bashing into knobs or handles and receiving nasty cuts or bruises. Nor will you ever catch and rip sleeves and pockets on jutting out handles.

Beautiful design

There’s no denying that this kitchen design is a sleek alternative to handled cabinetry, making it ideal if you want a clean, contemporary aesthetic. The flat, smooth surfaces are sure to make your kitchen look elegant and streamlined. There are also plenty of materials, colours and finishes to choose from, ensuring your kitchen is perfectly in line with your tastes.

Additional space

Removing handles from your kitchen instantly gives you more space as there is no overhang from your cabinetry. This is particularly valuable if you’re thinking about designing an open-plan kitchen. As well as contributing to the light, airy feel you’re aiming for, there are no metal handles disrupting the fluidity of your furnishings or creating a jarring divide between your kitchen and your living and dining areas.

 

The cons 


Increased cleaning time

A handleless kitchen design will take you a bit longer to clean as dust and crumbs will quickly accumulate in the recess you pull to open the door or drawer. Fingerprints may also be more visible if you choose a high gloss finish, as you and your family will need to touch the front of the cabinets more frequently. However, a push to open handleless design will make the cleaning process quicker in another respect, as you have no awkward handles to clean around or behind.

Higher costs

Though you may think removing handles would result in a cheaper kitchen, specialist craftsmanship is needed to create the mechanisms allowing doors and drawers to open without them. Therefore, handleless kitchen cabinets will be more expensive. What’s more, these also must be installed by an expert, adding to the cost.

Practical issues

Generally speaking, a handleless kitchen shouldn’t be any harder to use, but there are some factors that could make this design a little inconvenient. For example, gripping a door or drawer without a handle can be trickier if you have particularly long fingernails. A handleless design could also be impractical for those with strength or mobility issues affecting their hands, such as arthritis. And finally, think about how busy your lifestyle is, and whether you’d miss having handles when rushing around your kitchen. 

Is a handleless kitchen right for you?

Now you are aware of the main pros and cons, you probably have some idea of whether a handleless kitchen is for you. For a clean, spacious, timeless design, it is certainly something to consider. However, if you’re attracted to a modern look but still want the familiar functionality of handles, perhaps you would be better off choosing something like a Shaker kitchen.

Whatever ideas and questions you have about handleless kitchens, our experienced designers can advise you on your project. Call 0800 389 6938 to speak to a designer in your local showroom, or click here to request a complimentary design consultation.

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