A Sleek Finish

Are you looking for a sleek design on your kitchen cabinetry, or do you prefer the “jewelry” of hardware? Local design professionals give their opinions on not using hardware on kitchen cabinets.

Edited by Moe Godat 



Classic! Hardware is an element that we often replace in dated kitchens for a quick and easy update, so cabinetry without hardware should stand the test of time. However, the decision of hardware or no hardware should be consistent with the overall design style of your space. In traditional kitchens where you typically find more intricate details in the cabinetry, plumbing fixtures and lighting, cabinet hardware can be another layer of detail that adds to the overall cohesion of a space. In contemporary kitchens where the design intentions are to keep everything clean and simple, having no hardware allows the eye to appreciate the overall aesthetic of the kitchen rather than focusing on too many individual elements.

Brett Clark, Savvy Design Group.

The look and feel of a super-sleek, modern kitchen is complemented with cabinetry that is seamless with minimal features. In a super rustic kitchen or rustic bath space, it works well when the cabinetry focus is actually on a distinct wood grain or texture of the cabinet. Contemporary cabinets can also benefit by using a simple wood pull versus using hardware. The beauty of the cabinetry used in modern, rustic or contemporary spaces is enhanced when there is not a visual interruption to the design of the cabinetry. No-hardware cabinetry has the perk of easy cleanup and simple design. The no-hardware look will stick around for a long time, especially with design styles that require a seamless, clean and uncluttered look. No-hardware cabinetry is definitely a classic. Barbara Collins, Barbara Collins Interior Design.

I think contemporary cabinetry designers have always looked for ways to be simple.  In the past, C-channels were used to create the finger pull area, and today we use touch latches and Gola profiles behind doors. As long as there is interest in contemporary design, there will be interest in simplicity. Keith Markus, Markus Cabinet.

This will be a staple. It will be a preference, but not the norm. Just like men’s suits with and without ties. It’s a different look and preferred by people who want a less visual clutter. Discreet kitchens are trending upwards, and cabinets without handles support that style. In one kitchen we are designing, we have some cabinets with and without hardware, creating a unique and fresh look. Dana King, Dana King Design Build Remodeling.



This is certainly not the first time for this trend.  Cabinets void of hardware certainly have a place within certain style kitchens. It keeps the lines clean and, hey, you don't have to select from thousands of knobs and drawer pulls, which don't seem pricey until you realize how many you actually need.  As before, I predict that these folks will eventually tire of this and "update" by adding some fresh hardware.  I'm going to go ahead and say this is a craze. Teddy Karl, The Great Cover Up.

It's a craze and we have been there before. The one plus to not having hardware on cabinets is they are easier to clean. There are more pluses for having hardware. It is much easier to the open doors and drawers with hardware. The most important plus is that hardware personalizes your cabinets. With the vast variety of choices in hardware, you can make your own design statement. Hardware gives the plain surface of cabinets a spark of personality. You wouldn't want to wear a little black dress without the accent of jewelry. Cabinet hardware are the jewels of the room. Linda K. Kusmer, Total Interior Designs Inc.

I love it and did it in a powder room bath with sleek cabinets floating off the floor. Great look in a contemporary space. But most clients want to have a knob or a handle to grab onto. So I have to say it’s a craze, but a great one! C.J. Knapp, Yours By Design.



Not using hardware on kitchen cabinets isn't really a classic, but I would also not call it a craze.  It’s just a trend that falls in and out of favor.  Current new cabinet designs tend to include some form of hardware, as the doors and drawers are typically mounted with very minimal gaps.  Therefore, the function of the hardware is pertinent, yet also a way to add a little jewelry into a space.  Past trends have led to a cleaner look; think of the Scandinavian style of the 60s and 70s and modern style kitchens of the past and present.  The minimalist trend in kitchens definitely lends itself to going without hardware, but it does make it more of a challenge to open doors and drawers, so I like to use a touch- or push-latch to open these!  We are still seeing the majority of our clients favoring the jewelry aspect of hardware on their new kitchen cabinets.

Julie Cullmann, Anne Marie Design Studio, LLC.