Making Sense of Kitchen Sink Design
In nearly every home, there exists a convenience that has only existed for the last two centuries – the kitchen sink. Often taken for granted, this invention has only been around for 200 years. Invented in around 1820, the old kitchen sinks were basins with deep bowls. Pitchers of water often kept on the side of the basin, were used to fill the bowl. This method saved the user from washing dishes outside of the home and shuffled in the era of better hygiene.
Having to use a dry basin sink, while a step forward in hygiene and food preparation techniques, was inconvenient and still required improvement. The dry basin sink required a homeowner or user, still, to walk outside and fill a pitcher with water and then bring it back to use in the dry basin sink. This took a great deal of time and was very inconvenient. An additional step was necessary if the water needed to be hot for cooking or sterilization. The invention of running water and indoor plumbing solved a great majority of this problem by bringing water, and subsequently hot water, into the home. This made for an improved process of getting water into the sink and allowed the user to run hot water or cold water through kitchen sink units.
The invention of the kitchen sink is a leap in modern cleanliness, better food standards, less disease and more convenience for cooking and washing dishes. The ability to wash and clean fruits and vegetables before cooking, wipe down and sterilize counter tops, clean hands before cooking and several other points of hygienic convenience have ushered in a new movement of clean kitchens and clean food. This has substantially lowered the rate of diseases such as salmonella and other food-borne illnesses. This has saved a lot of people from unnecessary illnesses and even death. This new and improved technology has also encouraged a wider range of home cooks and aspiring chefs than ever before.
Differences in Sinks
This video takes you through all sink configuration options in the market:
The variety of standard kitchen sink ranges in size, functionality, features, price, materials, and design. The prime differentiating factor when choosing a kitchen sink comes down to the number and size of the basins. With the drop in kitchen sink price, there are a variety of excellent models to choose from and with more features than ever before! Coupling the differences in sizes, configurations, materials, colors, designs, and accessories of sinks, the configuration options are limitless. Homeowners that so desire may find kitchen sinks that match the basic needs or luxury kitchen sinks. With a tremendous variety of design options and available accessories and materials, there is a sink for everyone and finding the perfect one for you is a matter of looking in the right places.
Single sinks carry one basic basin and typically one faucet. Often times a spray faucet is included for tasks such as rinsing fruits and vegetables or cleaning dishes. If you are buying a new faucet, you should ensure that it matches your new kitchen sink. A single basin with depth is convenient for washing large pots and pans, as well as preparing large meals.
Single sinks are not for everyone, though, as having a single basin can mean a lot of management of dishes contained within one sink only as separation within the basin is not possible.
Over the years, single sinks have evolved into deeper, wider and far more diverse designs. This is, by far, the most popular model of the sink. This is due, in large part, to the cost efficiency of purchasing this model of sink. Kitchen sink prices have dropped substantially over the years, and hence cheap sinks are prevalent nowadays with a wide variety of kitchen sink design choices. A very popular and versatile model of sink is a single, deep basin ranging 33-36 inches in width and 8-10 inches in depth.
Accessories may be purchased to expand the capabilities of these sinks into more organized and larger sized basins.
Double-basins are great for performing separate tasks at the same time. Having a split in the middle of the sink allows for separating dishes or having dishes on one side and food on the other, hence significantly speeding up food preparation time. Having the ability to use both sides of the sink for food preparation means that you can wash and clean twice as many fruits and vegetables or store pasta on one side while still using the other side to construct a heavenly tomato sauce. Double-basins come in equally as handy when using them for cleanup as both sides of the sink may be utilized for cleaning pots and pans as well as silverware at the same time. Dishes may be soaking on one side while being scrubbed on the other side.
While having two smaller basins means great things for multitasking, it creates smaller workspaces and the inability to use the sink for larger pots and pans. Double-basin sinks come in a variety of shapes and sizes including 50/50 models as well as 60/40 models.
Double sinks aren’t necessarily the best type of kitchen sink for everyone. They are a great choice for anyone who wants a wider range of flexibility than what single basin sinks can offer, but the double-basin size is an adjustment for anyone that has been primarily using single-basin sinks for a long time. However, if flexibility is your priority then having a double-basin sink is the way to go.
Three basin sinks are considered a rarer sink option for nicer, upgraded kitchens. This option is the best choice for some people as it contains three separate workspaces. Often times the workspace consists of two basins and a third basin that contains a garbage disposal or a small rack for silverware to be washed and contained. Having a garbage disposal contained within a separate space means that the garbage disposal may be accessed even when other dishes are in the sink. This prevents the disposal from being blocked when washing larger dishes or pots and pans.
Shapes and Varieties
Modern kitchen sink comes in many different shapes and varieties. The options contained within are limitless in regards to what your desires for a sink may be.
Farmhouse sinks are a popular option. They have a very vintage look and feel that are popular amongst more traditional homeowners. With a more accessible side option, they are easier for shorter people or children while remaining a very nice aesthetic choice.
Double-farmhouse sinks are very similar to farmhouse sinks but contain a double-basin design within the farmhouse layout. They do have the same functionality and considerations as a traditional double-basin kitchen sink but are aesthetically more pleasing.
An undermount sink is a fairly new type of sink that has been getting increasingly popular due to the unique features and increased functionality it offers. In contrast to the typical overmount sink that’s installed on top of the counter with its weight being supported by the counter, an undermount sink hangs underneath the counter. A strong adhesive is used for the installation of an undermount sink, as there’s no counter to support its weight.
It’s far more functional than other older types of sinks, and also often helps you get a lot more countertop space than you would with an overmount sink. On the downside, it’s more expensive and doesn’t seem to work with all types of countertops.
Rounded Side Sinks
In more clean-cut, modern kitchens, many homeowners are opting for high-end kitchen sinks with curved designs as opposed to square edges. Sleek and minimalistic, this style of contemporary kitchen sinks will feel right at home in a kitchen containing rounded edges and newer appliances.
A bar sink is typically a small sink designed for entertaining areas of the home. As far as the shape is concerned, it’s usually round or square.
Bar sinks are also pretty deep and are either made of stainless steel or copper. There are actually more things a bar sink is used for than its name suggests.
In homes with a small kitchen, a bar sink is used as the primary sink to save space. Similarly, it’s used as a secondary sink in large kitchens that already have a primary, large sink.
Deciding on Materials
Deciding on the best kitchen sink material can be a difficult decision. There are a variety of options available to you and the decision will generally come down to the best fit for your lifestyle and the surrounding kitchen space.
Copper kitchen sinks are relatively on the upper side when it comes to cost. However, they are pretty sleek and come with delightful finishes. Copper does not rust and has strong anti-microbial properties. Research has shown that most bacteria cannot survive for more than a few hours on a surface made out of copper.
The only thing that needs to be paid attention to is that copper is a highly reactive metal and will react to its surroundings over time. The color of your sink will change gradually as the natural patina develops on the surface. This can lead to dark spots on the surface and even some blue or green spots. This can be prevented by polishing your copper, but please note that polished copper does not exhibit any antimicrobial properties, since there is a barrier between the copper and its surroundings.
Stainless steel kitchen sinks are among the most durable of the lot. If you’re considering going for these, make sure you go for a lower gauge unit. The lower the gauge, the higher is the quality of your sink.
The only drawbacks with these are that they require constant maintenance and have a tendency of showing water spots.
Granite and Granite Composite Materials
Granite and/or granite particles may be mixed with other materials such as polymers to create a new granite composite material that is scratch and chip resistant as well as having more durability than traditional porcelain sinks. Water spots and other defects are easily hidden in the speckled design that granite and granite composite materials naturally display.
There is some general and basic maintenance associated with light-colored granite composite sinks as they may stain from various dyes and chemicals contained within water such as hard tap water. Maintenance on granite and granite composite sinks is cost effective and not difficult, often times just requiring a special gentle cleanser.
Porcelain is a durable and traditional material often chosen to form the basin in sinks. Porcelain sinks come in a variety of colors and designs. As the base of porcelain material is glass, many intricate designs exist.
Porcelain carries with it some inherent downsides in the form of literal black marks. Porcelain is made from a glass-like material and therefore can chip and become damaged by dishes and other items placed in the sink.
Fireclay sinks look and feel almost the same as porcelain enameled sinks. They are however made of a composition of clay and minerals. The drawbacks to these are very similar to that of porcelain sinks, meaning they can etch, scratch and chip just as easily. The only point where fireclay kitchen sinks are forgiving is the rustic section. Since these sinks are composed solidly out of the mineral-clay composition with no cast-iron underneath, they don’t run the risk of rusting.
Acrylic sinks are composed of fiberglass, resin and sometimes plastic. They are pretty easy on the pocket, are extremely low in weight and have a decent finish.
Since there is no layering on acrylic sinks, they can be easily sanded in the event of a scratch.
One drawback throughout their history has been the fact that acrylic sinks have a very low tolerance for temperature. However, a lot of manufacturers these days are working on options that mitigate this issue and are able to offer reasonable heat resistance on their products.
Beautiful and natural, natural stone sinks provide a beautiful authentic period look. These sinks, often made of soapstone, are a natural look that can accentuate your kitchen décor aesthetically.
Natural stone counters aren’t for everyone. Materials are costly and may be easily damaged by chips or using incorrect cleaning materials for the job. Special cleaning agents are required in order to properly care for the stone.
Solid surface sinks are made using a combination of resin and minerals. It is a great alternative for stone sinks and is extremely durable and can be repaired. Like acrylic sinks, solid surface sinks can be polished and sanded as well in the event of a scratch.
We need to inform you, however, that most repairs to solid surface skins require professional assistance and can run up quite a budget.
Deciding on Brands
Kraus is inarguably one of the most popular manufacturers of bath and kitchen products. It seems to be doing well at offering kitchen sinks and other products that come with an urban, modern design with a touch of innovation.
It’s also well known for introducing many new, unique products to the market, something that has helped it become and remain one of the market leaders. Finally, Kraus also seems to be getting its products’ pricing just right, as there seems to be something for pretty much every customer no matter their budget.
Based in Germany, Blanco has built a reputation for the unique craftsmanship they bring to the table with all their products. The design of their products usually doesn’t fail to stand out, thanks to being attractively unique and nothing like ordinary.
Blanco is actually also known for their unique approach towards the materials they use to make their products. Many of Blanco’s kitchen sinks are made of pure granite, which is a very durable, aesthetically appealing material. Needless to say, this naturally makes their products very durable and long-lasting.
Somehow, however, Blanco still manages to offer many of its products at surprisingly low prices. For anyone on a budget, they are certainly something to look into.
While not the most popular brand on this list, Franke tries to offer something unique in its own way as well. Functionality is usually a strong point of many of Franke’s kitchen sinks. It focuses on making its products “tailor-made” for the customers and apparently puts a lot of effort into its products’ designs.
Apart from that, it seems to offer a fairly large range of different styles and designs to choose from. Also, although many of its products are priced all over the place, you probably wouldn’t be disappointed regardless of whether you’re on a budget or looking for one of the more premium kitchen sinks out there.
Elkay is an American company that was founded in 1920. As you can probably guess, it’s one of the oldest manufacturers of kitchen products on the market and owns many different brands.
While Elkay offers quite a few different kitchen products today, sinks are what it started with and hence can boast of specializing in that market better than the others.
It focuses on offering some of the best kitchen sinks made of stainless steel in particular, and not the ones made using other materials. This makes it clear who you would want to go with if you’re considering a stainless steel sink as against the ones made of other materials.
Something you may want to note is that Elkay’s sinks don’t seem to be the best as far as the design is concerned, but don’t leave much to be desired with respect to the quality, durability, and functionality.
We have another brand on this list that takes pride in manufacturing world-class stainless steel kitchen products. However, Ruvati is one of the newer brands on this list and certainly doesn’t seem to be as popular as some of the others.
That doesn’t take anything away from the quality of its products, though. The customers seem to be all praise for what its kitchen sinks have to offer. Unique, innovative design, great durability, and excellent functionality are some of the highlighting features of its products. Furthermore, some of its most popular sinks seem to be priced very affordably, making Ruvati kitchen sinks one of the best options for customers on a budget that are looking for a high-quality stainless steel sink.
Another brand that you may not have heard about. Mr Direct is definitely not the brand for everyone, as it seems to be primarily focused on offering extremely low-priced kitchen sinks. While it does offer some copper sinks in the mid to high price range, most of its stainless steel kitchen sinks seem to be priced surprisingly affordably – think well under $100 prices!
While aesthetics is far from the best thing about Mr Direct’s kitchen sinks, they are fairly functional and durable for their price.
Innovation is the word that comes to mind when asked to describe Swanstone’s kitchen sinks. Its sinks are very different from most other brands on the market, helping it give some of the much more well-established brands a run for their money when it comes to offering a great value.
It’s really hard to beat Swanstone sinks on the design and aesthetics front. Also, many of its sinks also boast a great level of resistance against typical, common sink issues such as staining and scratches.
Finally, Swanstone’s products also seem to be priced just about perfect – neither too high to disappoint customers on a modest budget nor too low to have to compromise on the quality or looks of the products.
Houzer is probably the latest kitchen sinks brand on our list. However, don’t mistake that for the products not being reliable; Houzer’s products seem to be making a mark in the market already thanks to their affordable pricing, availability of a wide range of designs and aesthetic appeal.
That said, you would still be better served with a Kraus sink if you’re after a premium sink; while one of Houzer’s sinks may turn out to be your best bet if you’re on a tiny budget.
A wide variety of sink accessories exists to expand out the capability of your sink and give you a more affordable range of options from your unique kitchen sinks. Kitchen sink manufacturers are constantly designing new options for you to utilize in your new sink or existing sink. This allows you to buy kitchen sink with low price and still have the features of luxury sinks.
Various inserts have been designed to expand the basic capabilities of your designer kitchen sinks. Inserts such as cutting boards, knife blocks, racks for dishes, racks for dishcloths, utensil spaces, colanders, preparatory bowls, and areas to store cleaning materials all expand out and centralize your workspace. This can lead to quick preparatory times as well as an easier method for cooking dinner for your family or even prep for larger meals for friends and family.
Having integrated, yet removable inserts such as a place to store utensils allow you to have them close by for easier and faster food and dinner prep time, as well as the added advantage of having them at your fingertips for easy clean-up and washing of dishes after you have finished cooking your meal.
Determining a perfect fit can be a science if you are unfamiliar with the dimensions of your sink. If financially feasible and possible, it’s best to go through the manufacturer for the accessories you opt to purchase. They will work and fit better with your existing setup and kitchen sink set.
All inserts should be removed after use in order to provide for a more cleanly and sanitary environment. The kitchen is often times the dirtiest place in the home and proper sterilization of kitchen sink accessories is vital to ensure that you do not spread germs or diseases in your used kitchen sinks, and subsequently, your home.
Finding a good place to store the accessories for your sink is a vital part of controlling the germs and bacteria in your kitchen as well. Having them easily accessible, while important, isn’t always the most practical option. Designating a special spot to store your accessories is ideal.
If you are in the market to open your own business or restaurant, or if you have special family or dietary needs then having a custom-made sink may be the right option for you. Custom sinks are available through most manufacturers and these specialized sink systems give you a faster prep line and prep time. If you have multiple people cooking in your kitchen or if you cater or serve more complicated meals, this option may be the best for you. These are generally used for industrial environments and may contain a number of features that are not available in consumer sinks, such as refrigerated inserts or condiment inserts.
Vessel sinks are the most popular up and coming design in the sink world. They are becoming more popular in home designs. These sinks have a distinct period look, while also looking very clean and remaining very affordable for the average consumer.
Vessel sinks have been in the market for a few years, but show absolutely no sign of slowing in popularity for rooms such as washrooms and bathrooms. This is due in part to the kitchen sink cost-effectiveness, while still being aesthetically pleasing. Many builders are putting them in new homes and encouraging them in fresh construction designs. Often times they are placed in sushi or Asian fusion restaurants and upscale dining establishments. From there, the popularity has grown at such an enormous rate that they are being included in many kitchens as well.
Vessel sinks were invented during the Industrial Design Movement. They are, essentially, a newer version of the wash basins that we mentioned at the beginning of this article in which people would use a jug or pitcher next to a bowl with depth – or, the first sink.
Vessel sinks may be constructed from a variety of materials including copper, glass, pewter, wood, ceramic, stones, bronze and even limestone. The wide variety of materials used for the construction of the vessel sinks allows each individual to fully personalize and customize their sink options. This makes the integration into any kitchen easy and seamless. By using a vessel sink, you may have a practical, designer, and cool kitchen sinks option.
Finding The Perfect Sink for Your Kitchen
With the ever-decreasing prices of kitchens sinks, finding the best rated kitchen sinks for you is a matter of determining what you’d like to see out of your sink. There are many kitchen sink options available. With the increasing popularity of serving large, quality meals at home and many aspiring cooks out there with inspiration from shows on TV, magazines at the grocery store or family recipes, having a quality sink for kitchen is vital to ensure your goals are met in the kitchen and the aesthetic outline fits within the design structure of your home.
Having a good and functional sink is one step towards recreating the experience of a restaurant quality cooking atmosphere. Obtaining and using the proper kitchen sink inserts is another part of the process that will help you streamline your cooking experience. Having a better cooking experience means better meals, faster cooking times, better tasting dishes and, as a byproduct, having a better and more streamlined cleaning experience as well.
Final Practical Considerations
Ensuring that you purchase a kitchen sink with the right dimensions is essential to making sure your new sink will fit seamlessly into your current kitchen structure and be the best kitchen sink for you over the long-term. Measuring the sink dimensions and verifying those against the manufacturers’ dimensions is a key element to making sure you are looking into the right sink for your kitchen space. Finding a sink you believe to be the perfect kitchen sink for you, only to later find out that it doesn’t fit within your space, can be a frustrating ordeal that can be easily avoided by ensuring you have the correct dimensions in the first place.
Finding the best sink material that flows with your current kitchen setup and makes sense for the purpose of how you use your sink is an important part of shopping for your new sink. There are a variety of materials available to you, so finding one that fits within your goals is an essential part of sink shopping. From stainless steel to soapstone to natural rocks and stones, there is a material available to you for your perfect sink. If you are unable to find the perfect sink premade, you may go back to the kitchen sink store and have them custom construct a sink for you and your purpose. Oftentimes this is an important step if you want a non-traditional sink such as a double-basin vessel sink or restaurant style culinary sink.
Before deciding for good on a material, you will want to consider things such as the function and purpose of the sink, as well as your own ability to keep up with the maintenance. Material such as stainless steel doesn’t chip or scratch, but become dirty looking with water spots and stained in environments with harder natural tap water. If you are going to be cooking with hard tap water, it may not be worth the extra effort in cleaning to purchase a stainless steel sink. You may want to consider a sink made of porcelain instead. However, if, for example, you are going to be using the sink for washing black pots and pans, you likely will not want to use porcelain as it scratches easily and may become chipped by the rubbing of black pots and pans against the sides.
Composite materials are also an option. Composite sinks may be made of granite, graphite, acrylic and even fiberglass. These materials give the homeowner a wide variety of aesthetic options to choose from while offering a speckled material that both looks nice and provides a means for hiding stains, chips, and imperfections.
Another consideration for purchasing a sink is determining the space in which you will place the sink. If you have a space already constructed in your kitchen, having a drop-in sink may be your best option. These sinks, often called self-rimming sinks, have a rim or lip that sits on the top of the kitchen sink. This provides for a faster and easier installation by do-it-yourselfers or homeowners that may not be familiar with installing a full sink. These are quick and easy options for you to install a new sink if you’d like to change the look of your kitchen with a brand new kitchen sink.