Handleless Shaker kitchens: the latest trend to keep on your radar

Handleless kitchen worktops and cabinetry in sage green and pale pink

Wish you could combine the timeless look of a traditional kitchen with sleek cabinetry? Say hello to handleless Shaker units – homeowners’ and designers’ latest obsession.

The classic Shaker door design is largely defined by symmetrical cabinets with in-frame panel doors. Now, handleless cabinetry is gaining popularity, with this modern style being carried over to the more traditional kitchen designs, too.

The idea of a handleless Shaker kitchen is quite simple, really: in-frame cabinets with no visible handles. And the outcome? A clean, classic-contemporary design that offers the best of both worlds.

Kitchen island with sage handleless cabinetry.
Integra Wardley island and cabinetry in Misty Moors, Magnet. Kitchen prices start from £1495.

“One of the biggest trends we have seen this year is pairing different styles and finishes of cabinetry in one design,” Dawn Filkins, head of creative at Smile Kitchens, tells me. “So, handleless cabinetry is perfect for this trend, as the streamlined effect removes extra visual stimulus, keeping the focus on the cabinetry itself rather than leading to a cluttered and overwhelming design.”

Tim Green, founder at Archway Joinery, agrees that this sleek look can elevate the overall aesthetic value of your space. “The absence of handles creates a seamless appearance while maintaining the classic charm of Shaker-style cabinetry,” he says.

Kitchen island and handleless cabinetry in white, with wood details.
Linear Finesse kitchen in Platinum, from £6790, Symphony.
Kitchen design with handleless cabinetry in cream and wood.
Crathorne kitchen in Taupe Grey, from £15,000, Second Nature.

The pros of handleless Shaker kitchens

Next to their wow factor, handleless Shaker kitchens are also easier to clean, earning them bonus points with busy homeowners. “One significant pro of handleless Shaker kitchens is the more straightforward and streamlined cleaning process. There are no crevices where dirt can accumulate, so all you have to do is wipe the surface down,” says Tim.

Handleless cabinets can be safer for children, too, as there are no sharp corners or protruding handles for them to bump into, as Jen Nash, head of design at Magnet, explains.

Handleless white design with purple kitchen chairs and metallic pendant lights.
In the Synergy kitchen project by Mowlem & Co, the scheme embraces the timeless shape of Shaker-style door panels but without handles, so they appear more contemporary. The upholstered seating adds an element of comfort.

Mix and match

For those of you who can’t quite let go of your traditional Shaker cabinetry, why not combine it with the handleless trend? Matt Phillips, head of UK operations at Rotpunkt explains that the main selling point of the handleless Shaker look is its ability to mix and match handle options.

For example, you can include handles in your base cabinets but keep the top units or your island handleless for a more streamlined look. In fact, there’s a good chance this blend will make your kitchen even more attractive.

Open-plan kitchen with green island and cabinetry, and wooden dining table in the back, looking out to garden.
A blend of traditional and handleless Shaker-style cabinetry in Velvet Green soft-coat lacquer finish, Rotpunkt. Prices start from £17,500.

What about colours?

According to Matt, contemporary colours like green and black are a great way to give this look a modern edge. However, the beauty of the latest generation of oak-fronted designs means you can go for a natural or bespoke painted finish and combine it with the rest of your – perhaps bolder, colour-wise – kitchen-living space.

“Materials like wood can be used to emphasise practical areas in the kitchen, as well as create a welcome contrast to a block colour scheme, and bring in accent details,” says Matt.

White space with marble worktops and island with wood cabinetry.
The wooden cabinetry works well with Neolith’s Himalaya Crystal sintered stone, price on application.

Dawn adds that the handleless style, especially in an open-plan space, can create the perfect opportunity to play with darker colours, while ambient lighting will help achieve a balanced scheme.

“The light and airy effect of an open-plan design will lift and complement the drama of black cabinetry, furniture and accessories,” she says. “Utilise effective lighting in these areas to enhance the impact even further. Incorporating ambient lighting is a great way to create an atmosphere in the room and ensures that your space feels sociable and warm even with deeper cabinetry.”

Chelford Kitchen range in Dusk Blue, Howdens. Price on application.

Whatever design or colours you decide to go for, handleless doors are sure to elevate your Shaker kitchen, adding a touch of sophistication and finesse to your classic-chic cabinetry.

Featured image: Magnet

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