Bigger isn’t always better. Here’s how to pick the right size sink for your kitchen, needs and budget
by Jennifer Ott (Original Post on Houzz) San Francisco-based interior designer, architectural color specialist, and design writer. Jennifer’s work has been featured in many print and online publications. Her just-released book, “1000 Ideas for Color Schemes,” is a beautifully illustrated and easy-to-navigate guide that takes the guesswork out of selecting the perfect color palette. For more information on Jennifer Ott Design, visit http://jenottdesign.com/
In addition to choosing the best material, mounting type and number of bowls for your kitchen sink, you’ll have to pick from a range of size options too. An extra-large kitchen sink will obviously give you more space for food prep and cleanup, and you might prefer it over the confines of a smaller sink, but bigger sinks typically cost more and can take up valuable real estate in a small kitchen.
Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. I’ve pulled together kitchens that feature various sink sizes, along with tips to help you figure out the perfect sink size for your cooking and cleaning needs.
Size your sink to your kitchen. If your kitchen is on the smaller side, consider installing a smaller sink. An oversize, triple-bowl model would have overwhelmed the charming kitchen shown here. This more modest-size single-bowl apron-front sink is large enough to accommodate any kitchen task, but it doesn’t take over the room. Countertop and base cabinet storage areas are likely at a premium in a smaller kitchen, so a smaller sink will improve overall function too.
Size your sink to the window above it. Homeowners often install kitchen sinks underneath windows, preferably a window with a nice view. But some homeowners overlook how these two elements work together. Now, that is not to say your sink and window need to match widths exactly, but it can look odd to have a superwide sink set below a skinny window or vice versa.
Size your sink to be a focal point. If you opt to go with an extra-wide sink, it’s going to be difficult to disguise it. My advice is to take the opposite approach and make your wide sink a focal point. Repurpose an interesting salvaged sink or consider an unusual material, like copper.
Size your sink to your budget. This might be obvious, but it’s all too easy to fall in love with a huge, gorgeous, apron-front sink you see on Houzz only to find that it is priced well above what your budget will allow. Very few of us can afford to install all top-of-the-line materials, fixtures and appliances in a kitchen, so it’s helpful to strategize what you are going to spend money on and where you can save.
Personally, I’d rather splurge on my countertops or kitchen floor than the sink. After all, you can get a perfectly fine 20-inch-wide stainless steel undermount sink for less than $200. Check out eBay, Craigslist or your local salvage yard or building material resale shop for a deal.
Size your sink based on your needs. If you’re an avid cook who prefers hand washing dishes to running the dishwasher, a large divided-bowl sink with an integrated drainboard is a great option. The wider sink allows multiple people to work at the sink without getting in each other’s way, and that built-in drainboard makes the business of draining and air drying dishes less of a wet mess.
A sink this size will require an extra-wide sink cabinet and will take up quite a bit of space, so it’s best for a generous-size kitchen. A sink like this starts at around $900, whereas a smaller, single-bowl version costs about $400.
Instead of one extra-large double- or triple-bowl sink, consider installing two single-bowl sinks. The larger sink by the window here is ideal for washing large pots and pans, while the smaller prep sink in the island works well for hand washing and food prep. Because these sinks are set apart, a traffic jam in front of the sink is less likely.
If you have the space and budget for it, this is a nice setup for a multicook household that does a lot of entertaining. Three separate sinks allow several people to work in the kitchen simultaneously. None of these sinks needs to be exceptionally large, but this configuration still has the potential to be costly due to the duplicate plumbing fixtures and installation fees.
Fun-size sinks. I love these linear sinks. While it’d be difficult to wash dishes in one of these, they work just fine for fetching a glass of water or dumping out abandoned drinks when the party’s over. You can also fill one with ice and stash cold drinks in it, a nice alternative to keeping an unsightly cooler in the kitchen or having guests search through your refrigerator for a cold one. And it doesn’t take up much space on the countertop.
Tell us: What’s your ideal kitchen sink setup?