How to choose handles for your kitchen!

Sometimes when I am designing a kitchen, I can’t wait to select the handles! It is like choosing the last finishing touches for the space and they are so important!  Read below to learn how to choose handles for as if they really are like the jewelry for your kitchen.

Choosing the right size

Some handles only come in one size, however most of them come in a range of different sizes.  Depending on the handles you have chosen, you need to consider what sizes you will need and how many different sizes you want and for which drawers and doors.

If they are all the only one size, then it is simple! If there are a variety of sizes then consider where you want the large sizes, the medium sizes and the smaller sizes. For large drawers, I like to use a slightly larger handle (if available). That way, when you are working in the kitchen, it makes it easier to open the drawer even if you don’t have your hand positioned directly in the centre.  For pantry doors and integrated appliances, I always again go for the larger size. I reserve the smallest sizes for the smallest cabinets and for the others, I usually see which size works in proportion to the rest of them.

The positioning of the handles

Now this is something that most people don’t think about and it is reallllllllly important! Not just for aesthetic reasons for functionality too. It is especially important for shaker style/hampton style profiled door like in the below image.  I personally like the handles to be in the centre of the drawers (center as in height). I have seen people position them above in the rail and not in the recess, but to me it looks a little off. I personally prefer them inside the recess.

Drawer option 1 – This image below, shows all the drawers with two handles each as the handles are quite small. The handles are also in the centre of the recess.

Drawer option 2 – Personally, this is my preferred option (image below). The next handle down has the handle positioned the same distance the top handle is from the top of the drawer front.  This looks more even and also, it brings the handles that are lower down up higher for you to reach. If you have them in the centre of the drawers, you need to reach down further for the bottom handles.

Positioning the handles that are on adjacent doors is then simple, the top of the handle hole/centre is in line with the neighboring handles.  This goes for knobs too!

Another thing that you can consider when choosing your handles, is whether you want all the doors horizontal with the drawers. It definitely looks great in a kitchen which has minimal lines. Keep in mind that if they are centred horizontally in the door, then when you go to open the door for the first time, you may not know which side the hinges are on!


Fingerpulls are one option if you want a modern look with no handles protruding.  Kitchens without handles are a trend that has been out for over a decade now and it is seems as though it is a trend here to stay.  There are various fingerpull options, some are square and some bevelled. Which ever option you decide on, make sure that you are happy with the way they open and understand that you will be losing space in your drawers and cabinets.

Handles for kitchens that have fingerpulls

With kitchens that have fingerpulls, sometimes there is still a need for handles.  Most of the time handles are easier to open on large pantry doors than push-to-open catches.  The other place a handle may be required for ease of opening is on an integrated fridge or dishwasher. Due to the suction of these appliances, a handle is much easier to use to open.

So what sort of handle do you choose?  I always say, either go for a similar shape or style as the appliances OR add some interest!  It is a perfect place to incorporate something unique. These days there are so many fabulous and unique handles. Take this handle on this walk in pantry in the image below. The entire kitchen had fingerpulls, so pretty much handle-less, so we opted for a solid timber handle for their pantry door to tie in with the use of timber features throughout the rest of the home.

Lip pull handles

If you want to opt for a handle that is minimal without losing space in your drawers with the recessed fingerpulls, then consider having Lip-pull handles (see below). Lip pull handles look tidy and you can again get them in all sorts of shapes and lengths to suit the cabinetry. This one below is a custom-made handle that was made so that it blended in with the cabinetry.

 Designed by Interior Blank. Photography by The Styling Collective

Designed by Interior Blank. Photography by The Styling Collective


Tips + Tricks

  • If you live close to the beach where there is a lot of salt in the air. Either go for no handles, timber handles or make sure you have chosen handles that have centres/holes that are pretty standard. That way if they start to corrode with the salt, you can replace them with ease! Anyone who has lived on the beach, knows how hard it is to stop metals from corroding with the salt!
  • Think about how easy you want your drawers and doors to open. The handle style, size & position is important!
  • Try something unique and interesting!