1. QUALITY AND FUNCTIONALITY
When choosing handles it is important to make sure they are good quality and are well designed. Think about how many times you open and close the cabinet doors and drawers in your kitchen. You will want your handles to be as comfortable as they are stylish.
Test out the handles you intend to buy. Hold one against your cabinet doors and check how easy they are to grip and how they feel in your hand. Also ensure the handles have the right grip for those using the kitchen – such as those with bigger hands or older people who may have arthritis in their fingers.
Finally, ask your supplier what material the handles are made from and what warranty they carry.
Think about the overall style and feel you would like to achieve in your kitchen. The handles you choose have a big influence on the overall feel of your kitchen and can tip the style one way or another.
For the purpose of this story I have broken down kitchen styles into three main broad categories: contemporary, traditional and transitional.
3. THE FINISH
Once you have chosen the style of handles you would like, determining the finish will be a lot easier. Traditional handles, for example, are available in a huge variety of finishes – from stainless steel to brass, pewter and even black.
Consider other feature elements of your kitchen design when choosing the finish (and style) of your handles. These black handles look so sophisticated on the light grey cabinets – and the colour ties in with the black gas stovetop as well as the black tile grout.
Some handles are available in various lengths. It’s really a personal choice and a matter of taste wether or not you mix handle lengths in your kitchen, however using the same length handle throughout, regardless of the length of the drawers you put them on, will create a less busy, more consistent look in the kitchen.
Try to go for an “in-between” length handle that won’t look too short on long drawers or too long on shorter drawers. If you’re not sure how long is right, ask your kitchen designer or a supplier to suggest a size they would recommend based on the size of the cabinets in your kitchen.
Ask your cabinet-maker/kitchen installer not to put the handles on until all of your cabinetry has been installed. This will give you an opportunity to stand in your new kitchen and hold your handles against the cabinet doors and drawers to try out different positions and heights. The general rule is that handles are placed horizontally on pull-out drawers and vertically on doors.
If you are creating a contemporary, streamlined look in your kitchen you could consider placing the handles horizontally on your doors also – but try out the feel of this first because it doesn’t feel as natural as opening a door with a vertical handle.
Also, make sure the handles are placed in a position where they won’t hit one another when you open your cabinets – this is something your kitchen designer should also consider if you’re adding handles to a new kitchen.
6. TOTALLY NO HANDLES?
If you would like your kitchen to be super contemporary and streamlined, consider having no handles at all on your cabinetry. This kitchen has a recessed lip at the top of each door and drawer front which creates a channel that allows you to open them without handles.
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