Minimalism with pure abandon

Handleless kitchens for practical functionality with no flourishes

Abandoning handles can have an enormous impact on the look: This minimalist design shows off the fronts perfectly, while also having many practical benefits. This article explores the pros of this approach.

White fronts matched with wood
The perfect combination of different materials and colours draws attention to these furnishings.

The trend towards purist beauty

White fronts, grey shelves and flooring
The white fronts provide harmonious transitions between the greys in the flooring and the shelves.

Kitchens without handles have been growing in popularity for years. There are many reasons for this, ranging from personal sense of style right through to practical benefits. 

The following aspects are in favour of abandoning knobs, handles and co.:

  • Harmonious overall look
  • Space to move
  • Easy maintenance

Harmonious overall look

Traditional white is still the most popular colour for kitchen fronts. It is easy to match with other colours, and dirt is immediately noticeable for easier cleaning. Having said this, dark colours and matching with elegant materials are also on trend. 

Abandoning handles definitely lends itself to this harmonious effect, as it makes the fronts look pure. It also creates a sense of serenity and tidiness, which is important – especially if your kitchen and living room are combined into one.

Elegant glass, varnish or stainless steel really come into their own here. The full effect of the warmth of the wood fronts can be felt without any disturbance from excessive flourishes. Concrete or natural stone and their natural patterns are much more impressive without handles in the way. 

At the same time, the handleless design indicates a certain opulence, as not using handles requires modern technology. Which, of course, comes at a cost.

Space to move

Are you or one of your loved ones sometimes clumsy? If so, knob-free cupboards can help to prevent injuries. For families with small children, the space to move will make life so much easier, as there is one less safety hazard to contend with. This, in turn, enables you to relax as you cook with the whole family.

Easy maintenance

An end-to-end flat surface is much easier to keep clean than a surface with several elements. In the kitchen, organic matter can take hold in nooks and become the perfect breeding ground for biofilm. This compromises hygiene, even when diligently cleaned.

The downsides of abandoning handles 

Just like everything in life, a kitchen without handles also has its downsides. To open doors, you will need to press points on the surfaces. This means they get dirty quickly, so they need to be cleaned often. If touched, the cupboards may also open without you wanting them to.

The various operating concepts

Deciding on a handleless kitchen means having to choose an operating concept. There are three systems that make knobs and handles superfluous.

1. Profile handles and grip recesses
Profile handles are usually made of aluminium and can be affixed to the top, bottom or side of the front. They protrude from the unit slightly to provide space to grab them. They are usually subtle and barely visible.

Grip recesses, by contrast, are milled into the body. The recesses can be clad in metal, however these grip recesses can also be made of the front’s surface finish.

2. Push-to-open mechanism
This mechanism, also known as ‘tip-on’, requires sophisticated technology. Closing a door loads a spring. A strong magnet in the hinge ensures it remains closed. Applying pressure on the closed door releases the spring. A pin integrated in the hinge now gently pushes it open. This system is purely mechanical. With drawers, the mechanism can be directly integrated in the rails.

3. ‘Serv-on’ with sensor
The ‘serv-on’ mechanics work with electronic sensors and a small electric motor that moves the hinge. A sensor registers the light touch on a certain field on the front. This then activates a motor to automatically open the drawers and cupboard doors.

Can’t decide on a solution? Then why not try a combination of methods? For example, grip recesses on the wall units, push-to-open for the base cabinets and serv-on for the doors you open most frequently.

Frequently asked questions about kitchens without handles

How does abandoning handles influence the look?

Without knobs or handles, the materials on the fronts come into their own. It also creates a feeling of serenity and tidiness.

How come there is more space to move?

It is extremely difficult to hurt yourself on smooth fronts. This is particularly important with small children.

How is cleaning made easier?

Organic matter can take hold on handles, which encourages an unhygienic biofilm to form.

What are the benefits of profile handles and grip recesses?

They are easy to install from a technical standpoint and do not require additional technology.

What is the difference between push-to-open and serv-on?

Push-to-open works mechanically with magnets and springs. With serv-on, an electronic sensor triggers and electric motor.

Handleless kitchens for the perfect look and easy operation

Abandoning handles allows kitchen fronts to come into their own. The full effect of wood, concrete or natural stone and the combination of various colours can then be experienced without annoying flourishes. It also makes the units more convenient to use. There are three systems for designing a kitchen without handles: profile handles, push-to-open and serv-on.
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