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Our quick guide to selecting cabinetry handles for your renovation

No cabinetry design is complete without selecting the hardware. Whether you'd like the handles to be a feature or you prefer something more subtle, handles are an important decision that can complete change the look of your cabinetry. If you have no idea where to start or what options are even available, you are in the right place. We have put together a quick guide with all you need to know to help you make a decision:

1 | Handles or no handles

Even though this post is all about handles, the first option we want to mention is no handles at all! This is a great option if you want a really minimal or contemporary look. For your base cabinetry, we recommend fingerpulls for the no-handles look. This is when there is a gap at the top of your door or drawer for you to slide your fingers into and pull the door/drawer open from there. The other option is 'push latches' or 'push to open', however, we've found that they can be a bit fiddly and annoying to use. We usually only use push latches on hard to reach doors like below an island overhang. For overhead cupboards, we simply drop the overhead doors 20mm past the bottom of the cabinet to create a lip to open the door from.

You may also choose to go with a combination of handles and no handles in your space. For example, we often do handles to the case cabinetry and no handle to the overheads. Another common combination we use is handles to tall doors only (pantry, appliance cupboards, etc.) to make these a main feature in the space.

Custom designed kitchen joinery with Laminex Surf cabinetry and porcelain benchtop
Fingerpulls at our Brighton project

2 | Types of handles

If you've decided to go with handles over the no-handle look, then there are a couple of options you can consider. You may select one handle to go everywhere, or you may choose to have one type on the doors and another on drawers, or one type on the base cabinetry and a different one on the overheads. Some popular options are:

  • Bar handle: Generally the most popular type of handle you'll come across, which has a long section to grab onto and one bar at each end that connects to the cabinetry. There are lots and lots of styles of these from very contemporary to very traditional, and everywhere in between.

  • Lip pulls: are more of a subtle thin handle that sits on the edge of the door. They have a strip of metal and you fit your fingers under to open the door/drawer. They are a great option for a more minimal look if you prefer to have handles over fingerpulls.

  • Half-moon handles: these are a type of lip pull handle, but their half-moon shape make them more of a feature rather than a subtle look. You can pair them over two doors to create a full circle or use them as half circles only.

  • Knobs: this can suit either contemporary or traditional style spaces depending on the shape and how decorative the knob is. Knobs are great for overheads and smaller base doors/drawers, but we recommend handles for larger doors / drawers for better grip.

  • Cup pulls: great for traditional/classic style kitchens and looks great paired with knobs on the overheads

Polytec  Tasmanian Oak custom Kitchen cabinetry with timber flooring
Lip pull handles used at our Collingwood project

3 | Finish

Like tapware, handles come in a huge range of finishes and colours. The easiest way to select a finish that will suit is to match your tapware finish - however, that is not your only option. We do often select a finish that's different to the tapware, to match another feature in the kitchen instead. While we prefer not to mix and match metals, we find that leather, timber, black and white are easy to match to almost anything. If you have leather, white, black or timber features throughout your kitchen or dining space, you may choose to use one of those finishes for your handles instead. Another option is to have more of a subtle look and closely match your handles to your cabinetry - this is a great idea if you prefer handles but want more of a minimal look. And don't forget to consider maintenance and fingerprints when selecting your handle finishes as they will get a lot of wear!

4 | Placement & size

The size and placement of the handle or knob will be determined by the location and size of the door/drawer, and by the look you want to achieve. However, some guidelines that we follow are:

  • Base doors: For bar handles, lip pulls and half-moon handles you have the option to place these vertically or horizontally. Vertical is most popular for bar handles as it is easy to open, but if you have mostly drawers, you may prefer to continue the horizontal lines across to your base cabinetry doors as well. The size of the handle will depend on how much you want it to be a feature. You may choose to add oversized handles as a design feature, however, we usually stick to a medium sized handle.

  • Overhead doors: We recommend placing bar handles on overhead doors vertically. It's usually best to match the base door handle size on the overheads, however, if you've gone with oversized handles, you may prefer to swap to a smaller size for the overheads.

  • Tall doors: We recommend using bar handles and pulls for taller doors over knobs as they make the heavier doors easier to open. These should be placed vertically and be longer than the handles used elsewhere so that they look more in proportion and are easier to use.

  • Drawers: Drawers will have horizontally placed handles which can be either just below the top of the drawer or in the centre of the drawer, depending on your preference. We often like to follow a thirds rule for the handle length (handle to be a third of the overall drawer width), however, as with above, you may choose to make them more of a feature by going longer than that.

Bonus: Some of the companies we like to buy handles from include: Kethy, Lo&Co, Touch Handles, Linear Standard and Passio Interiors.

I hope these tips have been helpful! If you want to find out more about how we can help you with your project, get in contact with us below:

Have a wonderful week!

Nina xx

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