When it comes to function, the kitchen sink is the most versatile feature of any domestic kitchen. While you can display your culinary flair at the hob or rummage for a treat in the fridge, it’s the kitchen sink where you’ll probably spend the majority of your time. From rinsing vegetables to cleaning dishes, washing hands to filling kettles, the kitchen sink is a constant hive of activity. For this reason, it’s vital that you make the right decision to get the best sink for both you and your kitchen.
There are several factors you will need to take into consideration when choosing the perfect kitchen sink. These will largely be influenced by a combination of the layout and style of your kitchen, how you intend to use the sink and, of course, your own personal taste. In this guide, we will break down the areas of consideration into four distinct categories – Size, Style, Material and Kitchen Worktops – so that you can make the most informed decision possible without scrolling through endless pages online.
Kitchen sink size is generally classified as single (1.0), 1.5 or double (2.0) bowls, although you can get additional half (0.5) bowls that sit separately next to larger bowls. A single bowl sink may be more suited to a kitchen with limited surface space while a bigger, busier kitchen will benefit more from a double bowl sink. One of the most popular kitchen sink sizes at the moment is the 1.5 bowl, which provides increased flexibility while not taking up too much space – it’s great for emptying glasses while you’re washing up!
The depth of your sink is another important size factor when choosing your kitchen sink. A sink that’s too shallow will make washing larger pots difficult, while one that’s too deep will take a long time to fill up and waste a lot of water. If you decide on a sink with multiple bowls, it’s a great idea to choose bowls of different depths for more flexibility.
Once you have decided on the size of your kitchen sink the next important aspect to consider is its style. This decision will ultimately come down more to your personal taste than any significant functional considerations. Below are the three main kitchen sink styles:
- Undermount – no surprises here, an undermount kitchen sink is mounted underneath the kitchen work surface. Although pricier than other kitchen sink styles, undermount sinks create a sleeker look with more space as the rim of the sink sits below the countertop. Undermount sinks also make cleaning up easier as there is no lip to collect dirt and any waste or water can be wiped straight into the sink.
- Topmount – sometimes called an overmount or drop-in sink because of the method of installation, this sink style sits slightly above the countertop. Unlike undermount sinks, topmounts have a visible rim that overlaps the worktops and creates a more traditional look. While they may be slightly harder to clean, topmount kitchen sinks are often cheaper than their lower counterparts because they are easier to install.
- Butler – whereas today butler sinks are categorised interchangeably as Belfast or farmhouse sinks, all three were originally designed to have slight differences. For example, Belfast sinks traditionally had overflows while butler sinks did not. This was because Belfast had a ready supply of fresh water and could afford to lose any excess while butler sinks in London had to be more austere because water was so scarce. Ultimately, all of these styles are characterised by a deeper than average single bowl which is great for cleaning larger utensils.
- Prep – also known as secondary or bar sinks, this style of sink is becoming increasingly popular in UK kitchens. As the name suggests, prep sinks are used to prepare food and are typically installed in island units to benefit from better counter space. This versatility also lends itself to sociable cooking and entertaining, as conversation is much easier from a kitchen island position, as opposed to a typical wall or window-facing sink. Prep sinks are also multifunctional, being suitable for multiple meal preparation, cocktail making, or even as a chiller for beer or wine.
When exploring the materials available for your kitchen sink, durability is going to be as important as versatility. The kitchen sink you settle upon will likely be used for years to come so the material you choose will need to be compatible with your lifestyle, budget and the kitchen look you want to achieve.
If you have a busy home you will benefit more from a robust material that is easy to clean such as stainless steel. Conversely, if you’re a household that regularly entertains guests you may prefer a more aesthetically pleasing material such as ceramic or composite. Read on to learn more about the most popular materials being used in kitchens today:
- Stainless steel – one of the most popular choices, stainless steel kitchen sinks are heat and stain resistant and come in a variety of styles and sizes. Also one of the more affordable sink materials, make sure to attach some sound-absorbing pads under the base of your sink as steel bowls can resonant.
- Composite – created from a mixture of materials, composite kitchen sinks are a great way to get the stylish granite look without the higher price tag. Typically manufactured by combining granite dust with acrylic resins, they are easier to install than stone sinks and also easier on the bank account too.
- Ceramic – standing the test of time, the silky smoothness of ceramic kitchen sinks shows no sign of falling out of fashion. They not only look great in traditional English kitchens but also are increasingly making their way into contemporary kitchen designs too. Whilst ceramic kitchen sinks baked in fireclay are near the higher end of the price scale, they are very long lasting and the market is full of affordable models.
While most kitchen sink styles are compatible with the majority of worktop materials, there are notable exceptions. For example, undermount sinks are not a good option if you have laminate worktops. This is because the cut edge of the laminate worktop will be exposed to moisture, which could result in the wood warping. It’s therefore a better idea to opt for a topmount sink if your heart is set on having laminate worktops.
For the ultimate kitchen sink and worktop compatibility, Corian can provide a tailormade sink that is built directly into your kitchen work surface. Available in a variety of colours and styles, Corian’s Solid Surface sinks are non-porous which prevents the growth of mould and mildew. Corian encourage you to work with their design specialists to create a unique sink that is specific to your requirements and perfect for your kitchen.
- Utility Room – if you already have or intend to have a utility room you will need to decide on the most appropriate sink for each room. A sleek 1.5 bowl undermount sink may be best for simple tasks in the kitchen, whilst a big, sturdy Butler sink will be better suited to the utility room where you can take on the big, dirty jobs such as cleaning shoes or washing larger items.
- Accessible Sinks – conventional kitchens can be very difficult for people with physical disabilities to navigate, especially when it comes to sinks. To make your kitchen more accessible, incorporate rise and fall kitchen sinks and worktops which allow the user to manually change the height of their sink. Wheelchair access sinks are also shallower which makes reaching items easier as well as providing more space underneath the bowl. There are also a variety of touch-free and easy use lever taps to make sinks as accessible as possible.
- Extras – depending on the type of sink you choose and how you intend to use it, incorporating extra features may make your kitchen life easier. For example, incorporating a waste disposal unit into one of the bowls of a 1.5 or double sink will make washing up significantly easier. Likewise, a Quooker boiling tap can be a great addition to a house that prioritises quick cooking or regularly entertains.
For a helping hand with designing a kitchen, get in touch with the award-winning team at Burnhill Kitchens for a friendly chat with a professional designer! We’ll be happy to offer you our expertise in all things interior design.