To handle or not to handle? That is the question.

Once an OTT affair, embracing art deco, maximalism and the cluttery aesthetic of farmhouse kitchens…  Then, more recently, receding altogether to let clinical gloss-white kitchens come to the fore.  This post takes the middle ground and draws on inspiring kitchen examples to determine exactly where handles work and don’t, and how is best to incorporate them into your design.

The case for handles:

Seamless flow

Modern with nods to heritage style, this unique open plan layout uses the same brass bar pulls/white cabinet front combination to create a seamless flow from one area to the next.  Set off to perfection by the Flos style brass pendants, a room that multi-tasks as a bar, kitchen, dining, chilling space suddenly becomes cohesive and makes perfect sense.  Credit namely to the beautiful handles (it’s what the post’s about after all) and maybe something to do with that stunning suspended fireplace…

Handle with care

Brass drawer pulls seem to be having a design moment…  Here they create a feel of understated elegance, neither distracting nor disappearing.  The very length of drawer pulls mean they are very effective at elongating cupboards; horizontal across lower drawers, and vertical on upper cupboards – the epitome of sophisticated style.  A central island in a contrasting hue is tied in through the use of the same handles, and the brass is echoed again in the bar stools and pendants. 

Contrasting classic

The timeless shaker style is given a fresh interpretation through crisply contrasting colour choices, and a symmetrical design in this kitchen supplied by Portland.  All eyes are drawn to the feature of the space – the shining black range cooker, backed by the equally striking splashback of black tiles.  The handles aren’t noticeable until up close, but their unique hammered metal finish paired with their traditional shape add a layer of depth to the scheme.

Small but significant

Where do we start?  This inspiring kitchen is full of unusual design choices; daringly dark cupboard fronts contrast with rich panelling and ornate cornicing.  It’s obviously all about the little details… from the chain-hung pendant lights to those gorgeous leather bar stools, from the antique mirror insert on the bar to those small but perfect round brass door knobs.  And we haven’t even started on the floor, wall lights or worktops…!

Get a handle on it

Ok, so leather handles are definitely on our hit list!  All at once artisan and luxury, these would be a serious design statement in any kitchen.  The rich blue of the kitchen island shows them off to perfection here, but we can imagine them working well with neutrals and wooden surfaces…

The case for handleless:

Handleless wonder

Sleek and shining, this tasteful kitchen design captures exactly why handleless cupboards still hold a place in our hearts…  We wouldn’t go as far as to say handles would spoil the design, but it certainly wouldn’t look as clean, crisp or ‘designed’ with them.  So, while you might chose handles or drawer pulls to create a statement, the absence of them can be just as effective if paired with stunning cabinetry and worktop finishes that do the talking!

Golden glow

When your cupboards shout as loud as this designer kitchen, it’s recommendable to skip handles altogether!  Just don’t go there.  Striking and unusual, this kitchen has just undergone a highly reflective ‘once-over’ from Midas himself.  Certainly not for the faint of heart, we’ll just say that if constant yellow-tinged reflections of yourself enhance your cooking then you’re welcome!

Touch wood

Brick walls, parquet flooring, and reclaimed-wood cupboard fronts…  There’s a whole lot of rugged texture going on in this kitchen.  The open shelving provides a refreshing change from the usual upper cabinets, and the lower cabinetry looks incredibly effective without flaunting hardware!  Add a few industrial pendants into the mix and you’ve got a characterful kitchen that could suit many interior styles.

Timeless texture

With emphasis on the natural textures of this simple and neutral kitchen, the only way to go is handleless.  Soft lighting, textural stone wrap-over worktops  and a good dose of natural wood are carefully blended to create a subtle, warm atmosphere; complemented by the off-white wall colour.

Minimalist dream

White buildings silhouetted starkly against a cobalt blue sky.  There’s a whiff of the Mediterranean about simple all-white interior choices, and we think this kitchen captures just that.  This tasteful Portland kitchen combines dark wood with white walls, cabinetry and a white stone worktop.  A unique arc shape flows around the corners of the kitchen, minimising wasted space.  Only handleless cupboards could carry that off…