Integrated C and L Handles: No door pulls Kitchen Cabinet Design Solution


An important part of any kitchen cabinet design is whether or not to use traditional handles or go handleless. For decades using traditional drawer pulls and handles was the norm. There were, and still are countless options available. A homeowner can choose from glass to wood, to stainless steel options and more. Back in the 1980s, someone decided that perhaps a better alternative existed. That alternative was the handleless kitchen cabinet. The idea became a favorite of many people.

In the past few years, the concept of integrated handles or handleless cabinets has once again become the go-to kitchen design solution. Why? Traditional drawer pulls and handles can be difficult to install so they are properly aligned across all cabinets. Furthermore, handleless or concealed handle kitchen cabinets are also far safer than the traditional option. Homeowners are turning to the less obtrusive and safer design option to help provide their kitchen with an overall sleek, stylish, and streamlined appearance.


When looking for kitchen cabinets that are handleless there are a number of different styles available. Some people might believe that simply because they are opting to go with a handleless kitchen cabinet that means that they are limited in design options. This is the furthest thing from the truth. When it comes to this type of cabinet individuals can choose from the popular push-to-open mechanisms, C and L profile handles, and the integrated handles. These options, as well as others, afford the individual with the ability to choose the type of concealed handle that best suits their needs. The following are examples of kitchens utilizing the C and L integrated profiles.


Blue-Lilac Kitchen Cabinets


In this stunning Blue-Lilac kitchen the handleless kitchen cabinets make a powerful statement. The use of the aluminum C and L profile handles is a stark contrast to the cabinet color. The color adds both interest and a hint of color, which ties into the stainless steel appliances installed in the kitchen. Here are additional examples of kitchens incorporating the aluminum C-Profile handles. 


Bright Orange Kitchen


This bright orange kitchen combines stark white walls, with black counters and stainless steel appliances to make a modern statement. 


Red Kitchen Cabinets


This elegant red kitchen offers clean lines and a modern look. The choice of bold color paired with the sleek lines of handleless cabinets entices people into this well-designed room.


Turquoise Green Kitchen


The lines in this one-wall kitchen are sleek and seamless. By choosing to go handleless there are no protruding handles or knobs that would disturb the clean lines. The installation of the C and L profile handles offers a continuous rail for easy grip as well as providing a break in the turquoise green color of the cabinets.


Small One-Wall Red Kitchen


The single rail of this handleless kitchen design blends in perfectly with the countertop. This small kitchen is pleasing to the eye and uniform in its design. A design such as this affords the resident with easy-to-open cabinets and drawers. The seamless lines allow for easy clean-up and cabinet maintenance. 


Additional Handleless Kitchen Cabinets


Throughout this collection of photos, it is possible to see how the lack of traditional handles appears less cluttered. Furthermore, individuals working in this kitchen will notice and improved visual flow. In the photo above, the open floor plan is enhanced by the use of handleless kitchen cabinets.


It is easy to see how with the C and L shaped cabinet doors the use of a contrasting color, in the above cases metallic, brings attention to where the base cabinets are opened. It also adds to the design appeal of the kitchen. In place of traditional pulls or knobs, the integrated cabinet door handles offer visual interest. 


Combining Traditional and Handleless Kitchen Cabinets

For some kitchen designers, the best look combines two different handle options. Notice how it is possible to perfectly execute the use of both traditional handles in conjunction with the handleless option. 


The stainless steel handles used in the top photo serve two distinct purposes. They are functional and work with the overall design. Although they fall into the traditional category they do not detract from the kitchen’s clean and minimalistic design. In the second photo, although the tall cabinets feature substantial handles they serve as a complement to the stainless steel appliances and features in the kitchen.

Versatility and Style


Many of the photos pictured featuring the C and L profile handles have been in the aluminum or metallic color. When installing these types of handles it is possible to select a color that matches the color of the cabinetry identically. The use of a single color helps make all of the kitchen cabinets flow smoothly. The incorporation of additional accent colors can be achieved through the appliances or other kitchen décor items selected.

As previously touched on, one of the advantages to cabinets with integrated handles, especially with children in the house, is no accidental injuries as a result of bumping into knobs and handles that protrude. In the narrow U-shaped reddish-orange kitchen pictured above, if it featured traditional knobs or pulls the potential for snagged and torn clothing is increased dramatically. The potential for physical injuries is increased as well. When kitchen cabinets without handles are installed, multiple people could be working in this kitchen without the risk of damaging clothes or getting hurt. The absence of the handles makes for a beautifully designed streamlined kitchen.

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Alternative Concealed Handles on Kitchen Cabinets


The C and L profile handles are only two of a variety of cabinetry options available that do not include a handle at all. In this grouping of photos there are numerous tall or upper wall cabinets with no visible handle. These cabinet doors may be equipped with push-to-open and push-to-close hardware. There is no trick to using them, simply push on the cabinet and it will open on its own. If you need to close it, push it closed and it hooks. Magnets are frequently used for this type of cabinet door. It may take some time to determine exactly how much pressure is required to open and close this particular type of handleless kitchen cabinet doors.


Sleek walls of cabinet doors do not always use the push-to-close hardware. Other options include edges that are carved into the cabinet door with a router. Upon completion, they leave a smooth curved edge which allows an individual's fingers to grip them easily. Unlike other handleless door options, they do not require any additional hardware to function. It is important to note that the curved edge can be on the inside or outside of a drawer or cabinet. 


Additional Handleless Kitchen Cabinet Information


Not all integrated handles or concealed handle kitchen cabinets are the same. In many cases, some form of actual hardware is required to get the appearance of a cabinet without any handles. The push-to-close option is one example. Kitchen cabinets where an edge or finger grip is routered into the drawer or door do not feature hardware.

For those homeowners desirous of a true handleless kitchen cabinet that would require the use of rail hardware associated with the C-profile handles. The rail runs the full length of the cabinet. With it properly installed it provides a gap between the cabinet carcass and the door or drawer front. When this option is selected no alterations are made to the kitchen doors and drawers. 

With respect to upper cabinets, the cabinet doors are created so they hang down below the edge of the cabinet. The simple addition of longer cabinet doors provides an edge by which to open the cabinet doors. 


In summary, there is a lot to consider when designing a new kitchen layout. One of the first things to consider is the use handles or handleless cabinetry.  If opting for handleless kitchen cabinets, it is important to note what will work best for a particular household. One running theme with much of the kitchen cabinetry displayed herein is the presence of a high gloss finish. In a home where there are a lot of children present or there is a concern over maintaining the shine of the cabinetry, the push-to-open mechanisms may not be the ideal choice as finger smudges could be left behind. Another key point to consider is that in a narrow kitchen the cabinetry with the push-to-open mechanism may open inadvertently by leaning against them.

A kitchen featuring integrated handles, C and L profile handles, or handleless cabinets is going to provide a much safer cooking environment. This is especially true in narrow galley kitchens or small U-shaped kitchens that swapped out their traditional kitchen door handles and drawer pulls for the handleless option. Although the handleless cabinet trend is not new, it is one that works in a broad range of kitchen designs. Whether an individual is creating a modern or contemporary design any of the various types of integrated handles will work. The ultimate payoff when choosing this option in a kitchen is a design that is timeless, sleek, and streamlined.