What are the Best Cabinet Handles for a Minimalist Kitchen?

Article Topics:

  1. Introduction to Minimalism

  2. Minimalist Philosophy

  3. What is Minimalist Kitchen Design?

  4. Minimalist Handle & Knob Inspiration

Introduction to Minimalism

Most people are broadly familiar with the idea of minimalist interior design. The terms 'minimalist' and 'minimalism' have made their way into common usage since the key principle of 'form follows function' first emerged with modernism in the early to mid-20th century.


Minimalist interiors are generally understood to favour a 'less is more' approach. While that is certainly an element of minimalist style, it doesn't really do it justice.


Modern kitchen - dark blue cabinetry with t-bar handles - timber wall shelve

Minimalist Philosophy

Minimalism is more of a lifestyle philosophy that extends beyond design preferences. It's a desire to pare back the excess and focus on what truly matters in our lives and physical surroundings.

 Appartment kitchen with dark green handleless cabinets - with featured poloshed brass hanging light shades

By embracing minimalism, you invite in simplicity, intentionality and harmony, stripping away the superfluous and distractions to reach a purer essence of space. This idea can be seen in many areas, from ideas in Zen philosophy to religious groups in America, such as in Shaker and Amish culture, or in contemporary Scandinavian or Japanese-style interior designs for example.


It's important to remember that minimalist spaces are about serenity, not austerity.


So it's not simply about removing things from a space. The focus of minimalism is on the purpose of that space. Although it's true that often focus is achieved by only including objects or design elements that provide function, it doesn't necessarily follow that there should only be a sparse scattering of 'things' in a given space to create a minimalist vibe.

Handles for a minimalist kitchen - drawers with long D handles

What is Minimalist Kitchen Design?

Minimalism Doesn't Always Mean Modern

While the idea of minimalist interiors comes out of modernism, a minimalist space isn’t necessarily a modern design. Minimalism can work equally well for more rustic interiors, for example kitchens that use more traditional construction materials, such as stone surfaces, raw timber, and classic metallic finishes for hardware like polished brass, copper and pewter.

Modern-style handleless kitchen in timber - bench dining table - large window with shutters

Cabinetry Design

With home kitchen design, and kitchen cabinets and drawers in particular, a minimalist approach is defined by clean lines and uncluttered surfaces, creating a sense of visual harmony and tranquillity.

Cabinetry is simple, free from embellishment and ornamentation, while countertops remain plain for a more uncomplicated work space, inviting greater focus on the culinary task at hand.

New kitchen - momochrome palette - white walls and cabinets with grey island cabinetry

Layout, Light & Colour

Lighting should be tailored for individual areas of the kitchen to highlight and create a sense of shadow texture, rather than having a single bright light illuminating the whole space.

You can see in the image below three types of light: natural light from the large window, the hanging light over the dining table providing more focused, intimate light, and the hidden countertop lights for utility while preparing and cooking food.

Traditionally, a purist minimalist colour palette is pale monochrome, but these days darker natural colours and tones are popular, with an open kitchen layout creating more space, adding to the minimalist feel.

Modern appartment kitchen - dark wook and green cupboards - open plan with round dining table - large window

Storage Space

The minimalist aesthetic favours discreet and efficient storage solutions, such as larger drawers and cupboards, to keep countertops clear but often used utensils within easy reach —  remember, minimalist spaces are not empty spaces.

The kitchen cabinets pictured below are a good example of clever storage solutions to keep a minimalist kitchen feel. Notice the larger storage drawers and the pull-out cupboard shelves on runners.

View of modern kitchen canbinets showing space saving storage solutions

Minimalist Handle & Knob Inspiration

Now, the obvious question asked at this point is probably something like: 'surely to be minimalist, a kitchen should be handleless?' Well, yes and no. While handleless kitchen cabinets and drawers are great for a minimalist feel, it's really not necessary. As we've already seen, minimalist design is not at its core about empty space or absence. Also, often handleless kitchen cabinets are not actually handleless – more on that in a moment.  

Let's look at some minimalist handles to give you an idea of what's available. We'll begin with cabinet knobs.

Discreet Knobs

Smaller cupboard door and drawer knobs can work well with minimalist kitchen cabinetry. A simple cylinder-style knob is discreet and in matte black, brushed nickel or antique brass can offer a modern feel.

White kitchen cabinetry - white with small black nickel knobs

The Kensington cabinet knob design pictured below in antique brass is perfect for modern minimalist kitchens.

Minimalist knobs - small modern cabinet knob in antique brass

Clean Line D-Pull Handles

D-pull handles can offer kitchens simple, clean lines, as shown below with the Tewksbury handle design in matte black. It's slim, angular form works well in modern minimalist kitchens.

Cabinet D handle in matte black

The image below shows D handles used in a minimalist-style kitchen. Notice the handles' orientation as they’re used both horizontally and vertically.

Modern wood kitchen - large window - white work surfaces

Classic Cup Pulls

For a more traditional minimalist feel, try the classic cup pull, especially in polished brass, brushed brass (pictured below) or pewter finishes.

Low price cup pull handle in antique brass

This type of cup pull handle is typical of Shaker kitchen cabinets, which often have a minimalist sensibility, which is rooted in Shaker religious culture. Shaker-style kitchens and hardware feature simple, artisan materials and traditional construction methods.

Modern Shaker-style kitchen in white with pewter cup pull  cabinet handles

Versatile T-Bar Handles

Similar in style to D-pulls, T-bar cabinet handles have a modern look and as part of the right kitchen design can offer a functional, minimalist feel.

T-bar kitchen cabinet handles close-up view - chrome finish

T-bars are available in various lengths, from shorter handles that can be used vertically on cabinets or horizontally on drawers (pictured above), to very long for use vertically with full length cupboard doors. T-bar handles are also good to mix and match with minimalist-style knobs – usually with handles on cupboards and knobs on  drawers.

Large modern kitchen - monochrome palette - dark grey cabinetry - white tiles and work tops

Integrated Handles

The final word goes to integrated cabinet handles, sometimes known as J-pulls or edge pulls. This type of kitchen cabinet handle is often used for handleless kitchen designs.

Modern appartment kitchen - handleless cabinets - combination of wood and white finish

Edge pulls are very discreet, and a great choice for a minimalist vibe. As the name suggests, they run along the top, side or bottom edge of doors and drawers, depending where cabinets are located, giving a 'handleless' look. Actual handleless kitchen cabinetry uses a push-to-open catch mechanism.

Final Thoughts

Remember, minimalism is a philosophy as well as a design aesthetic, and as such it’s an element in a variety of different home design styles, from Mid Century Modern to Japandi. Find out more about popular interior designs with the Timeless Interiors article. Or take a journey into minimalist interior design philosophy.

Whether you’re upgrading cabinetry or fitting a whole new kitchen, the right cabinet handles and knobs will enhance the minimalist vibe in your kitchen space.   

For a wide range of kitchen handles and knobs in high quality finishes visit Hiatt Hardware.