The HUX Report Vol 12: Cabinet Handles Part 1: Fixed Handles
Your choice of handles can have one of the greatest impacts on the overall look of your new kitchen or cabinetry, and yet this crucial detail is often overlooked or left to the last minute. Your handles are the most tactile part of the door and are literally what you hold on to as you interact with the cabinetry, so for us it is an absolutely fundamental part of the design.
Your first decision is whether to go for a fixed handle or an integrated fingerpull, considering not just the form and aesthetic, but also the medium and material. We have split our guide into two and in this first part we are looking at fixed handles, keep your eyes on your inbox for our integrated handle special in a few weeks’ time.
Whether you are planning a brand-new kitchen or are just looking for a way to update your current units, choosing your kitchen handles is like choosing your jewellery: while a few pieces will work with your outfit, there is always one that truly completes the look. Be they bar handles, knobs or T-bars, the right handles will enhance your space and set off the style of your cabinets to perfection.
Perhaps one of the most universal door handle designs available, a bar handle suits almost any kitchen style, including modern, minimalist and traditional. A single-piece design with no additional features, bar styles can be fitted horizontally or vertically, creating a discreet look which works perfectly with minimal decors. Popular in kitchens across the world, bar kitchen handles are sleek, easy to use and effortlessly elegant so they are ideal for those that want to mix practicality with aesthetics expertly.
There is a wide range of bar styles available. Contemporary handle designers are integrating ribbed, fluted and hammered metal detailing on the main bar element to add architectural interest.
Another contemporary trend is to mix and match bar handles with T-bars as shown here:
Or you can pick a sleek chrome style to keep your contemporary kitchen seamless and straightforward or go wrought iron for a more traditional look. Whatever your preferences, bar kitchen handles are extremely user-friendly, particularly on heavier doors and high-performance fridge and freezer seals.
The T -bar handle gets its name from its handy shape which allows for the perfect grip. Featuring a horizontal bar with a visible fixing, T-bar designs are a popular choice for many households as it is simple and elegant and can be used to freshen up existing cabinets or drawers, or a full renovation in the kitchen.
They also have an architectural appearance, making them a great addition to modern interiors influenced by linear style. Typically they are fairly compact in a metal finish, but can also be elongated and incorporate other decorative materials as shown here in these antler handles by Ochre.
Featuring a horizontal length that curves down at both ends, D-shaped designs have a timeless appearance that will go beyond trends. Thanks to their smooth, curved and ergonomic shape, this style is comfortable to use, modern, sleek and easy to grip, making it a practical choice for homes.
We suggest choosing a bold metal, like copper or brass, to keep this timeless handle style on-trend. Pair with glossy contemporary cabinets for a modern aesthetic or keep it classic with a Shaker design.
With a simple, round style, knob fixtures have a minimal look, making them a favourite for those wanting to add elegant features to their space. Knobs are usually installed at the top corners of cupboard doors, these handles are also smaller in size, making them good for reducing visual clutter in compact layouts.
Knobs are popular in both contemporary and traditional kitchens, although they tend to be particularly well-suited to classic designs. Kitchen cabinet knobs are ideal for those that like to experiment with their style too, as they are easy to replace in the future.
If you would like to compliment a contemporary kitchen, choose an unlacquered polished brass finish. Popular among designers for its lustrous golden hues and chic, lavish look, polished brass suits a spectrum of contemporary interior styles and is favoured in particular, in kitchens, living rooms and bathrooms. As a natural living finish, the charm of Unlacquered Polished Brass is that the material will age naturally adding to its beauty over time.
Knobs are available in many shapes including square and oval. Elegant in their simplicity, Square Knobs can suit contemporary interior schemes seeking a clean and modern look.
Introducing curved accents to a space, the rounded appearance of cup-style fixtures creates a decorative look that suits traditional designs. Fitted on the centre of door fronts, they can be gripped on the underside, rather than above.
Cup kitchen handles are the perfect choice for traditional kitchens and a great way to introduce curved lines into a schemes. Pair yours with either contemporary or modern shaker-style cabinets for timeless elegance, and note how these can be mixed with knobs to great effect.
Cup handles usually look best in a metal material. Antique-effect brass is particularly popular, as well as vintage pewter. For industrial-inspired kitchens, consider choosing a copper or mixed metal design to add a touch of traditional flair to your edgy décor.
Oversize Pull Flush pull handles are available in a range of shapes, colours and materials and make a big style statement, like these aptly named brass lapels from OB&B.
Finishes & Suppliers
The choice in metallic finishes has exploded over the last few years. We work with a few key suppliers and each of them have their own bespoke range of metallic finishes, ranging from polished and antique brass or copper to satin chrome and burnished nickel. There are now nearly as many shades of bronze as grey, and that is before you decide on lacquered or unlacquered. We keep samples of their finishes in our workshop, to help you choose the finish once we have finalised on the style. Our preferred suppliers include:
- Buster & Punch – Best for edgy cool handles with a modern, signature look by a London-born brand
- Dowsing & Reynolds – Best for trendsetting value for money
- Armac Martin – Best for width of ranges and high-quality product
- Joseph Giles – Best for contemporary look and high-end finish
- Beardmore Collection – best for elegant classic ironmongery in an enormous amount of finishes
Don’t forget to keep an eye out for part two, where we explore the bespoke nature of integrated handle detailing, one of our favourite aspects of design.