February 22, 2021

Is a Handleless Kitchen Right for Your Home?

Expert Advice

Classic white kitchen with american oak doors

Kitchen handles might be a small addition to a new kitchen design, but in reality, handles are one of the most utilised features in your home, without them, you typically cannot access the contents of your kitchen!

Kitchen handles come in all kinds of styles, materials and finishes. These small details really impact the overall style and mood of your kitchen. So, choosing the perfect luxury kitchen handle is an important functional and aesthetic decision.

At Dan Kitchens, we have guided many clients on how to choose their perfect kitchen handles. In recent times, many of our clients have liked the look of a handleless design, so to make sure our clients make an informed decision, we want to share the pros and cons of the handleless kitchen design.

At the end of the day, we want you to pick the best kitchen design for your family, not a kitchen design based on trends. Like most trends, they might not always be suited to everyone’s needs, which is why it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of a handleless kitchen in order to make the right decision for your home. Check out the Dan Kitchens Portfolio for more inspiration for your next contemporary luxury kitchen.


What is a Handleless Kitchen?

As the name implies, a handleless design is the absence of handles attached to the fronts of cabinet doors and drawers, leaving a flat and smooth surface on the kitchen cabinetry. The handleless option oozes a modern minimalist style, creating crisp linear edges and blends unobtrusively with the rest of the kitchen. The materiality and geometry of the kitchen take centre stage in the handleless design.

The original handleless kitchen designed in the 1960s and ’70s featured timber recessed pocket handles. Then considered a niche design feature, the popular form diminished soon after. However, in recent years we have seen a popular resurgence in handleless designs among luxury contemporary kitchens.

Now a standard feature in a contemporary style kitchen, which is all about balancing free-flowing surfaces with paired-back decor. There are three opening styles available in today’s handless kitchen:

  • Touch technology, also called a servo drive, is an electrical mechanism attached to the inside of the cabinet and behind the drawers. When the drawer’s front surface is touched, the drawer is pushed open by the servo drive. Touch technology is also a popular mechanism for lift-up doors, where the kitchen cabinet opens by swinging upwards, rather than opening sideways.
  • Integrated handles are hidden profiles machined out of the top or bottom edges of the door. This method provides adequate space for fingers to grip the opening and pull the door or drawer forwards. Integrated handles can either be made from the door surface material – e.g. poly, timber or laminate – or by attaching metal handles to the profiled door.
  • Finally, many people would be familiar with the Push Catch Doors method. The door and drawers are pressed lightly, and through a simple mechanism, the door pops open, with the drawer opening less effectively.


What Are the Pros of a Handleless Kitchen?

The kitchen is the hub of the home and should emulate the personal likes of the household. If you are looking for a minimalist and modern aesthetic for your new kitchen design, handleless is a good option.

The handleless design is focused on the form and materiality of the kitchen, unhindered by the decorative detailing of handles. It’s a very exclusive look that elevates its appearance above the typical kitchen.

Notably, the handleless design is extremely beneficial for certain areas in your kitchen cabinets. As handles tend to catch on clothing as people walk by, the handleless kitchens avoid this problem. Installing touch-to-open hardware on bin drawers is an excellent option as the drawer can be opened with the push of a knee while your hands are free to place items in the bins.

Another good placement for a handleless cabinet is on the kitchen island. The style allows for a clear path around the island, avoiding the bother of handles catching onto clothing and creating a seamless look right around the island’s sides.

In addition, there are many colours and a large variety of finishes available, such as gloss, glass, matte, curved and wood options. But, integrated handles are the most popular opening option for a handleless design, because it eliminates the visibility of finger marks on the surfaces’ front.


What are the Cons of a Handleless Kitchen?

Although you are not purchasing handles, the handleless design is more costly – particularly for drawers – as they require more expensive hardware and take a longer time to install. Besides, like any new and more complicated technology, you might have to get used to your guests asking, “how do I open your drawers!”.

No matter which type of opening style you get in your new kitchen design, each have their pitfalls. Touch technology can be heard when pressed; it’s not loud, just a soft hum while the mechanism is pushing the drawer open. Also, push-open doors and drawers can be more easily and accidentally opened, which can be dangerous if your household has small children.

The touch open design also requires more cleaning as people are constantly touching the door and drawer surfaces; the fingerprints can be an eyesore.

Drawers with touch technology or servos are more prone to fail, particularly with close lightning strikes; because of this, servos usually have a very short manufacturer’s warranty and can be costly to replace. In the case of failure, the only way to open a drawer is by pulling it open from underneath. This is not so bad if you need to get into the bottom drawer, but this can be annoying when trying to get into the top drawer on a bank of four!

Often with a fully handleless kitchen design, homeowners opt for handleless appliances to match. While stylistically matching handleless cabinetry with the entire kitchen looks high-end, creating a seamless contemporary design, handleless appliances tend to overcomplicate the kitchen.

Handleless fridges are more problematic as they require a knock-to-open hardware or a knock-to-open integrated fridge. It’s a double-action that takes longer. You first have to knock or push against the door, and then you have to pull the door open by the door’s edge. Some designers specify integrated handles on fridges, but the problem is fridge doors can be hard to open with just your fingers due to the air seal.


A Handleless Luxury Kitchen Renovation from Dan Kitchens

So, whilst stylistically the handleless design can impress guests and homeowners who like a contemporary kitchen design. Functionally there are many pitfalls to the design in comparison to traditional handles. No matter what new kitchen design you choose, be rest assured that Dan Kitchen’s highly experienced teams will help you produce a beautiful and highly functional contemporary kitchen – whether you need a large contemporary kitchen renovation in Hornsby or a small contemporary kitchen renovation in Mosman.

Are you ready to get started? Why not speak to the expert kitchen design team at Dan Kitchens and get the premium designer look you desire, as well as all of the functionality you expect from a high-end kitchen.

Dan Kitchens have highly experienced luxury kitchen designers and manufacturers with an unrivalled reputation for expertly made kitchens and joinery in Sydney. Visit our luxury kitchen showroom to see how the finest craftsmanship, coupled with high-quality materials and finishes, can transform your kitchen into a luxury oasis. We offer a fully project managed service, from an initial concept and manufacturing, right through to installation. Call us today on (02) 9624 2344, discover how Dan Kitchens uses Danish principles to design impressive custom kitchens.