A Guide to Kitchen Door Handles

5 August 2020
Kitchen Door Handles

Handles are crucial to building your dream kitchen. However, with several kinds of door handles available in the market, you might find it difficult to settle on just one or two kinds. That said, the best way to pick the right door handle is to know your options first. Read on to find out more about the different kinds of door handles and the available materials and finishes you can choose from.

Different Kinds of Door Handles

Kitchen door handles vary greatly in shape, design, and finish. Keep in mind the kitchen style you’re going for while you learn the different kinds of door handles below.


Bar Handles

Bar handles are one of the classic pull-out handles. They work best with traditional and contemporary kitchen styles. Their design is quite straightforward: a long rectangular bar you can easily grip and pull. Because of their simple design, they work well with traditional cabinet doors.

They might be too simple for homeowners with more ornate tastes. However, if you’re looking for a simple, practical handle that doesn’t stand out too much, bar handles are one of your top bets.


Bow Handles

Bow handles are the bar handles’ fancy cousins. They’re also pull-out handles, but the grip comes in several designs, including a wave-like shape or a porcelain-like finish. They fit well in a traditional kitchen, where you can add them for a slightly vintage feel. 


If you plan to use bow handles, make sure to carefully choose your cabinet doors. They might clash and fight for attention if your cabinet doors are ornate as well. Overall, try to find a balance between the two and find a match that suits your tastes.


T-Bar Handles

T-bar handles are similar to bar handles, except that they are tubular in shape. These handles work best against flat, single-coloured cabinet doors due to their distinct style, giving kitchens a sleek look. If you’re going for a modern or contemporary kitchen style, T-bar handles are something you should definitely look into. 


Cabinet Knobs

Cabinet knobs are the favourites of vintage enthusiasts who are going for an old school look. They are the small circular knobs commonly found at the opening corner of a cabinet door. While commonly circular in shape, they can come in other customised designs as well, such as flowers or even animals.

Their small size has its own advantages and disadvantages. One key advantage is that they match well with ornate cabinet doors. Because they don’t take up a lot of space, they don’t fight for a spectator’s attention and blend well with the kitchen’s overall look. 

On the other hand, knobs don’t work well with drawers because of the limited area to hold. Because of this, they are often used along with other handle styles, such as bar handles. They are also prone to becoming loose with constant use, so you need to check them from time to time to ensure they’re still attached properly.


Cup Handles

Cup handles are another favourite among vintage lovers. Invented in the mid-19th century, cup handles are sturdy and made for heavy drawers and cupboards. No matter what finish you use—whether it’s antique brass or brushed gold—they emit archaic feeling, which can be elegant and nostalgic at the same time. If you hope to go for a more rugged or vintage look, consider getting cup handles.


Edge Profile

Edge profile handles are great if you want your kitchen to have a clean and smooth look. These handles are grooved bars attached to the edge of drawers, where you slip your fingers in the groove to use it. Because they only slightly jut out, it makes it seem as if the cabinets are handleless—perfect for modern and contemporary styles. Edge profile handles can serve you well if you don’t want to bump into jutting handles or discourage children from opening drawers.



Sometimes the perfect handle is to not have one at all. If you want to remove handles from your kitchen design entirely, you can always choose the handleless option. Handleless cabinets and drawers are installed with a  push-to-open mechanism that allows you to access and close cabinets with ease. Homeowners who wish for contemporary or modern kitchens might enjoy using handleless cabinets. 

Different Kinds of Materials and Finishes

Aside from handle styles, you also need to consider material and finish. Take note that the two terms are closely related, so they are often used interchangeably. However, they refer to different things. A handle’s materials contribute to how long a handle may last and how often they should be cleaned or maintained. On the other hand, the finish is the exterior of the handle and can affect your kitchen’s overall look. Keep this information in mind to help you distinguish between different handles the next time you go shopping.


Chrome handles consist of a metal core coated with a thin chromium veneer. Traditional chrome has a shiny and reflective surface, and they offer a classical and traditional look in a kitchen setting. There are also satin and brushed variants for a matt finish.

One important aspect you need to keep in mind is that chrome handles require a lot of maintenance. Their smooth exterior makes them prone to fingerprints and scratches, so you need to clean them regularly. 



Nickel handles are the go-to handles for traditional and farmhouse kitchens. Their main difference from chrome hardware is that the metal chrome is plated instead with nickel. One of the great perks of nickel handles is that they can look beautiful in several kinds of finishes, including antique, satin, or high polish. 

While they’re resistant to corrosions, keep in mind that they tend to dull and tarnish over time. Manufacturers often coat them with lacquer to slow down the process, but cleaning them from time to time may help keep their shine for longer.


Stainless Steel

Stainless steel requires the least maintenance among all handle materials. Unlike nickel and chrome handles, they don’t have any plating, so there’s no outer layer that can flake off. Additionally, they are resistant to scratches, tarnish, and corrosion. They can fit in several kinds of kitchen, but they work best in transitional and contemporary styles. If durability is what you’re looking for, give stainless steel a go.



If you’re going for a monochrome colour palette, try out black handles. They often come in two kinds of finish: matt and gloss. Glossy black handles have a smooth and more reflective sheen compared to their matt counterparts. In terms of kitchen style, they are similar to nickel, wherein they match well with traditional and farmhouse kitchens. If you’d like to highlight the contrast between handles and cabinet doors, try black handles.



Copper handles are a bold and beautiful choice. They give a warm, metallic accent to the kitchen and work well against plain and dark-coloured cabinet doors. Not every kitchen can pull off this look, but selecting a good colour palette and door style can give your kitchen a sleek yet industrial look.


Brushed Finish

If you find high polished handles too shiny, opt for a brushed finish. These handles have a dull, matte sheen with very fine lines. This is a result of polishing the handle with a very fine brush on a belt or wheel in one direction, then softened afterwards. The process creates a very distinct, metallic look, which works very well in contemporary kitchens.

Antique Finish

As its name implies, antique finishes give handles an olden and vintage-inspired look. They make it seem as if the cabinets, drawers—furniture in general—have been around for a long time and have a story to tell. Despite their rugged exterior, they have a certain charm, which is why several homeowners still love the antique look today. Some of the handles that work well with antique finishes include nickel, black, and brass handles.

In the market, these materials and finishes are often mixed and matched. Check different combinations to find a handle style, material, and finish that fits best your kitchen vision.

It’s important to take note that these are only some of the most popular kinds, materials, and finishes offered in the market. Having a solid understanding of these, however, can help you decide when it’s time for you to choose your own kitchen door handles. Keep in mind that no matter what kind of style, material, or finish you go for, if the product quality is bad, the handles won’t last. Thus, it’s important to conduct business with a reputable supplier to ensure that your handles will last in your kitchen for a long time.


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