Millwork cabinets aren't very useful if you can't open them, hence the need for handles. Current design trends are leaning decidedly to the style of the minimalist and with that comes the desire to make handles and knobs all but disappear...or at least appear to disappear.
Here's a few ideas for giving you a sleek design without having extra hardware cluttering up your kitchen design:
When a contemporary, European look is what's called for, the 'recessed channel' case is one of the more popular options. In this style of construction there's a horizontal slot cut into the cabinetry, usually in a brushed metal of some sort, and the doors are drawer fronts are reduced in height to accommodate.
This type of cabinetry allows the fronts to be opened from any position and gives that clean appearance; however, there is a cost in lost volume. The channel stays with the cabinet in most cases and therefore there can be up to 6" in lost height for your interior drawer & storage space. Also because there are no handles to act as a contact point between your oft-messy hands and the cabinets, the finish of the cabinetry might degrade faster.
'Touch to Open' Cabinets
This type of cabinetry is really broken down into a couple of categories.
The first type of touch to open system has been around for a long while. Most often referred to as a 'touch latch' system whereby a magnetic or gravity catch is located inside the door or drawer. This catch is engaged by pushing on it to 'pop' it open and then when closing, pushing the catch back into place. This is a fairly inexpensive system but it has the downside of being easily put out of alignment and not always functioning without putting extra effort in.
The second type of touch to open system is the newer, 'power-assist' type. Similar in function to the touch-latch style, with the exception being that there is an electronic brain that recognizes the touch and pushes the drawer box out with any effort from you. This is the most reliable system but also the most expensive. You may have the odd drawer opening into your hip if you're a power chef, bouncing around from cabinet to cabinet. One other detail to consider is that if there is a power outage, opening your power assisted drawer might become an exercise in frustration. Keep some chopsticks handy just in case.
'slim line' Handles
While not technically a handleless system, the slim line handles of today give the appearance of your cabinetry having no hardware, but still making the millwork easy to open. Open referred to as 'lap over' or 'lap' pulls, these usually sit on tops of the door and drawer fronts and a thin strip of metal extends out (and sometimes down a little bit) to be grabbed by a couple fingers. This option is minimally expensive compared to the other options, protects the finish of the cabinet from dirty fingers, but does introduce a small bit of handware to your otherwise clean fronts.
So to keep things clean and simple there are a few options for you to choose from, each with their own unique functionality. Ultimately you get to decide which one works best for you. Come down to the showroom and see all 'no handle' options in action.