With an uncanny ability to create a smooth, sleek look, handleless kitchens are beginning to develop a timeless appeal. The key to their ongoing popularity is their ability to include opening mechanisms that function just as well as traditional handles.  

Having first made an appearance in the 1970s, kitchen draws without handles have made a comeback. Delivering a sleek, uncluttered, streamlined look, they are particularly popular in contemporary kitchens.

This popularity stems from the fact that, despite being kitchen drawers without handles, these kitchen cabinets are able to provide this flat, sleek look and, at the same time, are made with opening mechanisms that are just as effective (or at least almost as effective) as traditional handles.

Developments in opening mechanisms, hinges, and runners mean that opening and closing is now as easy as it’s ever been.


Types of handleless kitchen doors

Kitchens with no handle fall into two broad categories:

1. Kitchens with push open drawers

The first category is those that feature cabinets with touch technology. Opening and closing them involves a gentle push. Because of its smoothness many actually find this satisfying in itself. Using a push to open latch mechanism has a sort of ‘faultless’ appeal.

Kitchens that employ these push openers are in a sense the only true kitchens with no handle. Their main advantage compared to other handleless kitchen cabinets is that there no gaps between cabinets or drawers and therefore no place for crumbs and so forth to gather. On the negative side, their push to open latch mechanism can sometimes break. Also, they can accidently open when leaned, which can be a problem particularly for those with small children.


2. Handleless kitchen cabinets with hidden opener

In the second category of handleless kitchen doors, the cabinets actually do have handles (or at least things to hold onto) that are hidden from view.

In some cases, the openers are rails that run the full length of the cabinet. They involve no extra attachment as the rails are created on site by specialised trades people.

Then there are cabinets with small, concealed finger pulls, either made of aluminium or moulded into the drawer or cabinet itself. In some cases, these can be very small and therefore not as easy to get a hold of as other options.


 The Pros and Cons of handleless kitchen cupboards

As mentioned, the major attraction of the handleless kitchen stems from its uncluttered and sleek look. Though this style has been around for far less time than other classic designs, there is every indication that the handleless kitchen will find a place in the timeless category.

Another benefit is that handleless kitchen drawers offer fewer points to which your clothes can accidently hook. This is an important consideration in kitchens, where hot food is prepared, and accidents need to be avoided.

On the negative side, some people find that the opening mechanisms in handleless kitchen draws are never quite as effective as real handles. (Hands up if you’ve ever found yourself alone in an unfamiliar kitchen, trying to work out how to open something!)

The other negative is cost. Depending on the type you choose, handleless kitchen cabinets will set you back about 20 % - 50% more than those with traditional handles. This extra cost is because of the opening mechanisms and/or the extra labour costs.


Some excellent handleless kitchen design ideas

1. Contemporary handleless kitchen

This first example exemplifies the sleek contemporary that the handleless kitchen choice ensures. The cabinets here variously contrast or complement the Benchtops. Together, they present as continuous surface.

contemporary handless kitchen


2. Handleless kitchen with customised handle rails

The standout feature of this modern handleless kitchen is surely the personalised handrail. In this case, the grey handle rails contrast effectively with lighter tones of the overall kitchen.

handless kitchen customised hand rails


3. Two tone handleless kitchen

The distinct smoothness of this modern kitchen is subtly interrupted by the contrast between the cashmere gloss wall units and the grey Acacia laminate kitchen island.

two tone handless kitchen


4. German style handleless kitchen

According to some, the handleless kitchen originates in Germany. The sleek rail system seen in this example is typical of the German style. Once again, this example typifies the timelessness of the style. Sure to be a classic.

handless kitchen german style


5. Handleless kitchen with industrial colours

The industrial colours of graphite, silver grey, and foundry tarnished copper represent a daring choice. Combined with the exposed brick wall, the ovens in the tower units, and impressive splashback the result is right on the money. It presents almost as a handleless shaker kitchen.

handless kitchen industrial colour


6. Sleek meets rustic

Here the sleek handleless is unexpectedly matched with timber flooring to provide a real surprise.

handless kitchen sleek rustic


7. Handleless kitchen with marble benchtops

The dazzling uninterrupted drawer in this modern kitchen are the perfect companion to the marble benchtops. Meanwhile, the dark overhead cabinets take a different direction altogether.

handless kitchen marble handtops


8. White handleless kitchen

This kitchen is so sleek, so smooth that it almost sparkles. The timber flooring provides just the right amount of relief form the otherwise mainly white palette.

handless kitchen white