How to choose kitchen door handles

Your choice of kitchen door handles can have the greatest impact on the overall look of your new kitchen but this is often a crucial detail that is overlooked and then becomes a last minute choice.  Let me take you through some ideas and show you how much a difference the type of kitchen door handles can have on the final look.

An understated look for kitchen door handles

How to choose kitchen door handles
Image: Homes to Love

Although you see many kitchens without door handles at all, you may still prefer the practicality of a handle on your kitchen drawers.  Often the style of your kitchen will not lend itself to a shark nose profile – that is the top of each drawer being inset so that you can open without handles.  If this is the case then select a handle that disappears into the kitchen joinery.

Very easy to do if you have dark cabinetry but achievable to a certain degree with white also.  The kitchen below has white and silver knobs, even for the drawers and this disguises them.  You can clearly see them but they don't make an over-riding statement.

How to choose kitchen door handles
Image: Architectural Digest

Another way to keep the look simple and understated is to use a hidden cabinet door handle.  These are fixed to the underside of the cupboard door or the top of a drawer so that only a small portion is visible.  I really like the look for the cabinetry below.

How to choose kitchen door handles
Image: Best & Company NYC via Decorpad

Making a statement

Statement handles on your cabinetry look great and really define the look for your kitchen.  You have to ensure you love them though as they become quite a feature.

Ensure that rather than just selecting something that you love, that it links into the rest of of your scheme.

I really like this kitchen below from Tom House in the UK.  He has brought a very masculine vibe to this kitchen design and has linked the strong dark colour statement of the kitchen handles to the other styling elements of the room.  Without introducing other brass and darker elements in the room, the door handles could have looked a little out of place but by doing this the end result is very appealing.

How to choose kitchen door handles
Image: Tom House UK

You can link the kitchen door handles to your kitchen styling in a more understated fashion as in the image below.  The pale gold delicate door handles used here match the pale timber shelving and styling accessories.

How to select kitchen door handles
Image: Kelly Elko

It is so important to get these details right so you must always look at the whole picture when designing a kitchen space.

This is where a mood board can stand you in good stead.

You would instantly see that the effect was wrong if you were planning to use darker door handles or a silver kitchen handle with the golden hues of the accessories and the honey tones of the shelf.

Selecting the right size

Another way to make a statement with the kitchen door handles is to use over-sized ones.  The designer below has introduced long handles to take up most of the space of the kitchen door itself.  It's important that you replicate this through the kitchen for doors and drawers, as below, to bring continuity to the design.  In a simple white kitchen, this can be a very effective way to bring in another design element.

How to select kitchen door handles
Image: Z Design at Home

If you are making a colour statement, as in the black handles on the white kitchen below, you need to ensure that you don't overdo it with the size too.

Statement door handles in colour AND size can be overwhelming.

The design below works well because knobs have been utilised on the kitchen doors while a pull handle has been used for the drawers.  The pull handles on the drawers are also in proportion to the size of each drawer.

How to choose kitchen door handles
Image: Private Book Home Design Ideas 

Selecting kitchen door handles to suit your style of decorating

There are certain kitchen door handles that also belong to a particular style of decorating so ensure that you take this into account too.

Shaker style cupboard doors can be partnered with a more streamlined simple nickel door handle or with a classic Shaker door handle to give you a more authentic look.  This is demonstrated in the two images below.

How to choose kitchen door handles
How to choose kitchen door handles
Image: I Design Arch

You can see that the more traditional door handle gives you a more authentic look while the first kitchen is definitely of a similar style but the handles give it a more contemporary edge.

How to choose kitchen door handles

Don't forget that if you have feature appliances, perhaps a bank of ovens and/or coffee machines that become a focal point that you will need to consider how your selection of door handles works with those.

So, to recap, here are my top 7 tips to ensure that you choose the right kitchen door handles:

  1. Consider the colour for your kitchen door handles   Do you want them to blend into your kitchen joinery or to make a statement?  Whether the statement is subtle or dramatic, ensure that the colour links to other elements of the kitchen design, eg benchtops, shelving and styling.
  2. Think about the size of your kitchen door handles  Do you want them large enough to make a statement in their own right or keep them smaller and in proportion to each drawer or door size.
  3. Remember that you don't have to keep all of the kitchen door handles the same.  You can mix knobs with pull handles.
  4. You also don't need to have kitchen door handles on all of your cabinetry.  Upper cabinetry can have no handles at all and be opened by a push mechanism or from underneath by making the door longer than the cabinet (my favoured option).  This look is streamlined and you just have handles on lower drawers and doors.
  5. Consider the material that the kitchen door handles are fabricated from.  If you are in a coastal location you will need to invest in very good quality hardware as a cheaper alternative may corrode very quickly.
  6. Try before you buy  Don't just purchase kitchen door handles from the internet unless you have previously seen and most importantly, felt the product.  You need to be able to comfortably grip the handle and ensure that it doesn't have sharp edges that can be quite uncomfortable.  Perhaps buy one handle and/or knob online before committing to the entire range.
  7. Final note  Ensure that you consider the style of kitchen and the style of your house and decorating when selecting a handle.

How to choose kitchen door handles

I would love to hear how you have selected your door handles and whether you think it really makes your kitchen.  And of course, if you have any comments then leave a note below.

How to choose kitchen door handles

Before putting any decorating scheme together you should gather all your samples and inspiration and put it into a decorator's mood board.  I have a step by step guide showing you how to do this in my FREE Resource Library.  Click here to download it.

Are you currently renovating your kitchen?  If so, I have a range of kitchen posts that you might find useful:

Related: Kitchen Styling – My 5 top tips 

Related: My Guide to Contemporary Timber Kitchens

Related: Have you considered using blue for your kitchen cabinetry?

Related: How to create a classic white kitchen

Related: How to choose the right kitchen splashback

Related: How to select a kitchen benchtop

7 thoughts on “How to choose kitchen door handles

  1. David Valle says:

    Door handle is a front view of a home or a door. So its really important to choose a perfect handle for a gate or a door. Thanks for your nice tips and guideline to choosing a door handle.

  2. Patti Casazza says:

    Great article and advice! Can you share the hardware source for the delicate pale gold knobs and handles in the white kitchen?

    • Samantha Bacon says:

      Hi Patti Thanks for the note! This lovely kitchen is from a very clever US designer – Kelly Elko – so I am afraid I don’t have a supplier to give you. Generally smaller boutique companies will stock this type of handle – I’m sorry I can’t be more specific for you. Samantha

  3. Olivia Grace says:

    Thanks for the kitchen renovation information. My husband and I are excited to get a new kitchen. We’ll start looking for remodeling contractors in our area. But Cleaning is the first pirority is the best cleaning company

  4. Anne Fibbiyon says:

    Great upgrade! I have a couple of sets of my Grandmother’s glass door knobs. I’m waiting for the perfect place to install them!! After see your post, I also want install door knobs in the kitchen door. Thanks for sharing this info.

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