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Buying a sink can often be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. If you’re wondering how to choose a sink for the kitchen of your dreams, don’t worry. The process is easy once you narrow down your priorities, and understand your options.
The good news is that there are a lot of quality sink options. In fact, no matter what you price range, it’s difficult to end up with something you’ll hate. Most options are durable, and also happen to look good.
The bad news is that you may still have to compromise. Whether it’s price, looks, or functionality, you may have to sacrifice a bit on one feature to get what you really want.
To that end, it’s important to sort out your priorities before you start shopping. With sinks, what you need to consider first is whether you want to prioritize aesthetics, functionality, budget, or durability.
For more information about how to care for a farmhouse sink, check out our other guides:
Sinks tend to get overlooked in kitchen design, but they actually play an important aesthetic role. They’re a large fixture, and as such, they’re highly visible. If you embrace their potential, there’s a lot of ways to use them to create the style you want.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing a stylish sink:
Type of Sink
If you’re prioritizing aesthetics, one thing you’ll need to decide is how visible you want the sink to be. The most common choice is to have an undermount sink hidden behind the counters, with only the basin visible. But that’s certainly not your only option.
You can have the exterior of the basin visible with something like a farmhouse sink. These sinks are finished on all sides, allowing you to display whatever front you want. In fact, some of these options are even reversible.
The other type of visible sink is apron front. These are similar to farmhouse sinks, but they’re not always finished on all sides. With these options, just the front facing side is finished, and it usually sits over the countertops, hence the name. The benefit of these is that you can get a smaller lighter basin, should you prefer.
People tend to associate stainless steel with sinks, but that’s not your only option. There’s actually a surprising variety of colors available in sinks. What it comes down to is material.
If you want a lot of color, you’re going to need an enamel coated sink. That means you want to be shopping for materials like Fireclay, cast iron, porcelain, and composite.
The coating on these materials allows for more colors. You can even get colors like red, blue, and green.
But metal isn’t really that plain either. Metal can come in a few different colors, including copper, gold, brass, and even black.
You can even get a wooden option, if you’re willing to think outside the box. Bamboo is the perfect choice if you want the color and overall aesthetic of wood.
Overall, there are a ton of options. You can get just about any color you want. Keep in mind, however, that lighter colors have more issues with stains than darker colors.
If you do choose to go with a visible front sink, there are also a lot of finishes you can consider.
For metal sinks, there are a few different options. The first choice you have is whether you want to go matte or shiny.
Shiny finishes are the most popular choice, but matte finishes have their own benefits. For one, they don’t show fingerprints and smudges as easily. They also tend to look very sleek and modern, as opposed to the more industrial feeling of shiny finishes.
The second choice is whether or not you want a hammered finish. Hammered metal is essentially metal with little divots in it, to provide added texture. This look is popular in both stainless steel and in copper.
For materials other than metal, you have a lot of options. You can choose fluting, rigged, or country style flower designs, for a more charming look. Of course, you can also go with a plain front, if you want something a little more minimal.
When it comes to functionality, your main choice is whether you want a single basin or a double basin. There’s benefits and downsides to each choice, so it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Double basin sinks are generally better for organization, since you have two separate areas. But single basins sinks allow more maneuverability, especially with larger objects.
Again, consider how you use your sink, and make the choice that best fits your needs.
If you have room to spare, you can also consider getting a sink with a drainboard. A drainboard is essentially an additional work area that sits over the counters. These sinks are great for anyway who likes to air dry dishes, or has a lot of washing prep-work to do.
And for the ultimate home chef, a workstation kitchen sink is also an option. These have shelves that you can add in and slide around the inside of the basin. They’re great for drying dishes, washing vegetables, and doing prep work.
It may seem like a new sink is out of your budget, but don’t be so quick to give up. While it’s true that sinks are a big purchase either way, some are comparatively cheap.
As with other sink features, if you’re focused on budget, you’ll want to pay attention to materials.
Stay away from materials like cast iron and copper. These options can get pricey, with costs upwards of a thousand dollars in some cases.
If you like the look of cast iron or porcelain, you can get a similar look for much cheaper. Materials like Fireclay and composite are both great alternatives. Fireclay in particular, has a lot of benefits at a much better price tag.
However, metal is still your cheapest choice. As long as you’re sticking with stainless steel, metal provides the best bargain. You’re getting a cheap, durable sink, but you can still switch up the colors and finishes for a unique look.
When it comes to durability, the good news is that it’s hard to go wrong. Most sink options are surprisingly durable so long as you care for and clean them properly. There are a few things to look out for though.
With metal, focus on the gauge. A smaller gauge indicates a thicker sink, so try to stick to gauges 16 and below. This is especially true for copper, which is not as durable as stainless steel.
For Fireclay and similar materials, you’ll want to check if the basin is hollow. While hollow options are cheaper, they tend to be less durable, since they use less material overall.
And for the ultimate in durability, consider getting a cast iron sink. While they are some of the most expensive options, they’re also the most durable. After all, there’s a reason why you can get vintage sinks made in this material. It lasts for decades.
The main concern with cast iron is that the coating will wear out long before the basin does. But it’s easy to either get a sink refinished, or to replace the coating yourself.
Choosing the Right Option
If you’re stuck on how to choose a sink, remember that you need to start with your priorities first. There’s a lot that goes into a good sink, including aesthetics, durability, and functionality. Of course, there’s also the issue of how much you’re willing to spend.
Each of these factors will impact what sort of sink you can purchase. That’s why it’s necessary to determine what’s most important to you.
When you have that figured out, how to choose a sink for the kitchen couldn’t be simpler.