Kitchen Handles Guide for 2023
There are lots of big design decisions to make when planning a kitchen renovation – benchtops, flooring, cabinetry – but a smaller, yet important choice to make is around the handles throughout your space.
Not only do your handles contribute to the overall design style of your kitchen, but they play a large role in the day-to-day functionality, too. Your handles will tie together the other finishes in your kitchen to create a cohesive look; so they’re a more important choice than you may initially think!
With so many options on offer, it can be hard to pick the right kitchen handles for your project. Read on to learn more about the different styles, shapes and sizes of handles, and how to pick the right ones for your home.
Beginning with the overarching types of handles to choose from, there are two main styles – a rounded knob, or a pull handle. While both come in a variety of options, fundamentally these are the two classifications that will guide your handle choices.
You may opt for only pulls throughout your kitchen, or use a combination throughout the space. A common choice is to use knobs for upper cabinetry, and pulls on the lower cupboards for ease of use. Similarly, you may opt for all drawers to have pull handles, and use knobs on the cupboard doors.
Whatever your choice, try to get hands-on with your kitchen handles. Visit a showroom or supplier to feel how your knobs or pulls sit in your hand. If you have a family, ensure these are comfortable for kids to use, too.
With your styles sorted, it’s time to consider the size of your handles and where these will be positioned on your cabinetry.
A general rule is that the larger your door or drawer is, the larger the handle then needs to be. Your design style will play a role in the size of your handles, too – in more modern designs, for example, it’s common for handles to be oversized and run to around a third of the size of the door or drawer.
Next, determine how your handles will sit on the cabinetry. The first choice – will your pulls run vertically or horizontally? The former is more traditional, the latter more contemporary.
Depending on installation, handles themselves are relatively easy to swap out over time as design preferences change. Position, however, is not – so ensure you are happy with your handle placement before drilling any holes in your cabinetry.
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The different styles of kitchen handles can overarchingly be classified into three categories: contemporary, traditional and transitional.
Contemporary handles are minimalist, sleek and modern. They’re usually in a polished metal or matte black finish, and are often in the oversized style to create lines throughout a space. Accordingly, these are best suited to modern design styles or minimal spaces.
Traditional handles are most typical of country and heritage style kitchens. They are usually more ornate and detailed, adding to the overall design style of the space. Typical traditional handle styles include drop handles and shell-style pulls.
Transitional handles are just as the name suggests – an intermediary option between the two, perfect if you don’t want to commit to either design style. These may be handles that are sleek but with a decorative feature in the centre, lending well to a more eclectic or blended kitchen.
With your handle types, sizes and styles sorted, your last decision is around the finishes of your kitchen handles.
If working with a metallic base, such as stainless steel or bronze, you have a wealth of different finishes to choose from:
The finish you choose, in conjunction with your other handle design choices, will contribute to the overall design style of your kitchen.