The return of handleless cabinetry

Some might say its not a return, because its been round for years.  Your half right and half wrong.  Handleless cabinetry was “hip” back in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and died off before making a comeback over the last 5 years.

I grew up in a house that, for many years, had a late 70’s kitchen in it.  The cupboard and draw fronts on this kitchen were handleless and had a small quarter round groove about 100mm long cut into the top edge to grab hold of.

A mid 70’s art deco type of handleless door front

A modern take on handleless cabinetry

So what are the different types of handleless cabinetry out there and how can you put them to best use in your next project?

There are three ways in which a handleless cabinet front can be made.

  1. Cutting a bevel on the back edge of the top of the door front.  This creates a space for your fingers as well as creating a neat shadow line along the top of the draw or door.
  2. A trim in timber can be added which includes a rebate.
  3. An aluminium or PVC extrusion is fitted to the top of the draw.

The three options mentioned above all suit a “pull to open” style of draw.  Back in the 70’s that was about the limit of what could be done.   Luckily, cabinetry has come a long way since then!

Now you can get push to open mechanisms and electric driven opening, to name a few.

Below is a great little video on how push to open works, including showing you how they are installed.

Electric drawers are another option which is relatively new to the market, and not something I have personally installed in a home…yet.  They are a premium option, and as the video shows below they could do with some refinement for noise reduction.  However one big safety feature of electric draws is depicted toward the end of the video.


You would think that using no handles would save the cost of handles off your next cabinetry job right?  Unfortunately not quite.  Its not all bad though, there is a saving in not using handles, but there is an additional cost in cutting a bevel/adding a trim which negates the saving.

Our cabinet makers are able to provide handleless options for the same price as a standard drawer front, some cabinet makers charge a premium for this, so its worth getting quotes and ensuring that you are getting good value for money in this area.

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