Whether your kitchen style is traditional, contemporary or somewhere in between your choice of handle can make a big impact on the final look. Available in a variety of materials and finishes, they really help to establish the style and mood of the space.

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But how do you know which handles to choose to suit your cabinets, particularly if you want something a little away from a standard silver knob? And will something more decorative stand the test of time? Read on for the answers to these questions and more…

Quality and functionality
Quality is always key and your handle needs to be comfortable as well as stylish. This element of the kitchen is sometimes over looked. Think about how many times you open and close the cabinet doors and drawers in your kitchen.

Test out the handles you intend to buy. Hold one against your cabinet doors and check how easy they are to grip and how they feel in your hand. Also ensure the handles have the right grip for those using the kitchen – such as those with bigger hands or older people who may have arthritis in their fingers.

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Style – Traditional, contemporary or a combination?
Think about the overall style and feel you would like to achieve. The handles you choose have a big influence on the overall feel of your kitchen and can tip the style one way or another.

– Traditional

Traditional-style cabinets demand decorative, old-world style handles like the ones shown here.  Similarly, combining a cup handle with a matching knob creates a very sophisticated, yet still traditional, feel.

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-Contemporary
Using a very simple, streamlined handle on minimalist-style cabinets with flat-fronted doors and drawer fronts invokes a very sleek, contemporary look.

Consider slim rectangular bar handles or softly curved barrel handles with clean lines. Also, look for handles that have flush ends as opposed to ends that stick out that you can catch your clothes or knees on as you walk around the kitchen, this is a particular concern with small children whose heads are handle height.

A Combination

Shaker-style cabinets are versatile giving you the flexibility to choose the style you like rather than be dictated by fashion. This can create a personal and eclectic feel to your space.

The finish
Once you have chosen the style of handles you would like, determining the finish will be a lot easier. Traditional handles can be stainless steel to brass, pewter and even black.

When deciding on a finish for your contemporary-style handles, again consider other elements in the kitchen. Polished chrome designs are very contemporary and stylish, and can be used alongside a polished chrome tap.

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Similarly, brushed stainless-steel handles have a very sleek, modern appearance and can be matched to the stainless-steel finish on your appliances or sink.

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Have a look at other, more unconventional finishes also – you may be surprised at what you find. Glass knobs can create a real wow factor.

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Size
Some handles are available in various lengths. It’s really a personal choice and a matter of taste whether or not you mix handle lengths in your kitchen, however using the same length handle throughout, regardless of the length of the drawers you put them on, will create a less busy, more consistent look in the kitchen.

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Try to go for an ‘in-between’ length handle that won’t look too short on long drawers or too long on shorter drawers.