Handleless Kitchen Design Ideas | Nicholas Anthony

Marie Kondo promotes the idea that having a less cluttered home will bring you happiness. There is certainly something in that – walking into a clean, open kitchen with clear surfaces will naturally lessen anxiety and promote a relaxed, peaceful vibe. When people think of their dream kitchen, a modern kitchen with smooth lines and no clutter probably comes to mind.

There is also a trend for high-tech kitchens which supports this minimalist look. Kitchens today are often open-plan; used for entertaining as well as food preparation. A minimalist aesthetic allows for flexibility of use – you can transform the kitchen space from a family space during the day to a social hub in the evening.

What is a handleless kitchen?

Handleless kitchens have seen a surge in popularity to match the trend for modern, airy spaces in the home. The beautiful, yet functional design of handleless kitchens is reminiscent of highly regarded Scandanavian interior design.

Instead of the traditional handle being attached to the cupboard doors, there are three different types of handleless doors:

  • You can choose from a channel or groove which runs along the top of the door in a refined, clean line to allow the door to be opened from the side or top
  • Alternatively there are doors with push to open mechanisms which are useful for those who have reduced use of their hands – such as those with arthritis
  • Finally, there is an option to have a recessed aluminium rail which is hidden from sight, but which allows you to pull open the door from the side or top

With the lack of handles in your line of vision, the handleless kitchen allows for clearer sight lines and can improve the flow of the kitchen.

What are sight lines?

Kitchen designers use sight lines to describe how the room can be seen from a certain point in the room. The aim is to create a space with clear sight lines to make it as seemingly spacious and as visually appealing as possible.

Ideally when you walk into your kitchen nothing should obstruct your sight lines and your eyes should be drawn to the other side of the room. Designers intentionally create kitchen spaces to give you the ideal visual experience.

One way of immediately creating smooth sight lines and making the space appear bigger is by using light colours for your kitchen units with shiny reflective surfaces and handleless kitchen cupboards. Handleless kitchen designs are currently the most desirable luxury kitchen design.


Sleek handleless kitchen units

The first impression as you walk into the kitchen is crucial as you immediately form an opinion.

When you are redesigning or extending your kitchen, start by standing in the doorway and consider where in the room your eyes naturally go, and use that as your focal point. Perhaps the focal point is a large window or glass doors to the garden, or perhaps it is a piece of artwork. You should then make sure that the sight lines to the focal point are clear of any obstructions with low furniture and no fixtures and fittings that distract the eye.

An aesthetically busy kitchen space with handles jutting out on all the unit doors can instantly obstruct those sight lines. Sleek handleless kitchen units are a small attention to detail within the kitchen that can make a big impact.

The beauty of bespoke luxury kitchen design is that every little detail has been thought of. You might not be able to put your finger on why when you walk into a particular kitchen that you instantly feel relaxed, but the removal of handles instantly creates a stylish and streamlined look.

Appliances can be perfectly integrated into the kitchen units using a bespoke design service. It is best to avoid stand alone kitchen appliances as you want to create clean lines without interruption.

Handleless kitchen cabinets

A clear sight line also helps different areas and spaces to flow together, which is vital if your kitchen is open plan. Always aim to create the longest visual sight line possible, without interruption. Handleless kitchen cupboards will continue this flow from one space into another, especially if you have a kitchen island or bar area linking a kitchen with a dining or lounge area.

You can also integrate a wine cooler into the handleless row of cabinets – perfect for easy access when socialising. Handleless units keep the space around the island clear to walk around, pull up a stool or lean against without the cupboard handles hitting your knees.

The sleek design of these cupboards is also highly practical as they are easy to clean and therefore more hygenic with no intricate details or grooves. The handleless cabinets are also safer for children. Many traditional handles are placed at the perfect height for children to catch their clothes and bump into. Handles also enable babies and toddlers to explore the potentially dangerous contents of a kitchen cupboard.

Sleek handleless kitchen rails

Sleek handleless kitchen rails allow a ‘grip ledge style’ so that you can open and close the doors with ease – this continuous rail has become a design feature in itself. The colour of the rail can be matched to a wooden veneer or kitchen splashback. The rail is positioned into the midline of the carcass and only put in after the kitchen units have been installed to make sure that the look is streamlined and the rail runs continuously.

There are a lot of design ideas which need to be taken into account when you are planning for your new kitchen – whether you choose to have a kitchen island, feature splashback, butler sink or cupboards with a glossy or matt finish – sight lines don’t usually get much attention.

However, by considering the use of handleless cupboards to improve the physical and visual flow of your kitchen, you can make your design so much more successful. The perfect finishing touch is essential to make the difference between a kitchen you like and a kitchen you love.

Nicholas Anthony