Sinks: Style and Suitability
Rebecca Silburn | 02 March 2016
A sink is a necessity in every kitchen, but whilst it’s an essential and practical everyday item, it doesn’t have to be boring or ugly. No matter what your style - be it traditional, modern, country or eclectic - there’s a sink out there that will add a bit of wow factor to your kitchen and get you excited about washing the dishes (maybe).
What style of sink?
Exposed sinks, such as farmhouse or Butler sinks, can be a bold statement but are also very versatile. They are usually, large and deep, square or rectangular and made of white ceramic; normally set into the work surface leaving the front edge exposed which is referred to as an apron front sink. Although in the past this style of sink has been seen more in traditional style kitchens thanks to their heritage they are growing in popularity in all styles of kitchen. The deep basin makes them very functional and the white gloss ceramic fits well with traditional schemes and bold contemporary styles alike.
The most popular material for this type of sink is the original white ceramic it has been made from for years, however lately we have seen other materials being used such as stainless steel. It is this versatility coupled with the highly practical and ergonomic nature of this sink style that has seen it grow in popularity over recent years. However, thanks to modern technology and an increase in demand for variety there are now more options than ever when it comes to choosing your sink.
Inset sinks are suspended by their rim in appropriately sized holes in the worksurface. The rim then forms a close seal with the top surface of the countertop so that it is flush or sits slightly above the worktop, making it visible. The process of fitting an inset sink is very similar to fitting a hob into a worktop – a hole is cut, the sink is then positioned, sealed and finished.
Undermount sinks are mounted beneath the worksurface, clamped to the material from below. Unlike an inset sink, this leaves the cut edge of the work surface on show rather than the rim of the sink, therefore the worktop choice is important; stone, ceramic or Corian work tops are best specified as they have sealed edges. A sealant should be applied to the join between sink and worktop to ensure it is watertight.
Materials and colour
As mentioned above, kitchen sinks are commonly either stainless steel or ceramic, due to their durability, ease of cleaning and hygienic qualities. However other materials such as Corian and Silgranit are options. A Corian sink is distinctive because it flows seamlessly from worktop to sink. Although two distinct parts, the build process smooths the joint out, creating one piece of material that flows from worktop into sink. Corian worktops are available in a wide variety of colours; however the sinks tend only to be available in the lighter, more neutral tones. It’s a popular choice due to its hygienic nature and the smooth finish that is achieved.
Silgranit by Blanco is a manmade material that looks almost stone like, meaning that you can have the look of a natural product with all the benefits of something manmade. Silgranit is often used for sinks because it’s a durable and very hygienic material. As well as being easy to clean and scratch resistant, Silgranit is also heat resistant and non-fading ensuring the quality and colour of the sink is easily maintained.
If you have a very neutral or plain kitchen, a sink in an unusual colour or material will add an interesting feature. A growing trend in kitchen design is the introduction of metallics into the room. Aside from commonly used stainless steel, other metals such as copper are coming back in sinks.
Prep sinks are another aspect to consider. If you have a larger kitchen it can be nice to position your main sink away from the cooking area, and instead incorporate a prep sink to be used for food preparation. Prep sinks come in a variety of shapes and sizes to suit the style of your space. We’ve even seen a client use their prep sink on their island filled with ice as a champagne cooler for entertaining!
In addition, be considerate of where you place your sink in your kitchen. It’s nice to have a designated sink area; where the sink, bin and dishwasher are positioned together. This helps to keep this potentially dirty area confined. Also from a practical point of view it makes sense to place water outlets and plumbing close together. You also want to ensure that the sink (or prep sink) is not too far from the hob in order to avoid carrying freshly washed vegetables half way across the kitchen! However, be wary of putting it too close to the hob or oven for safety reasons - ensure you have at least a little work surface area in between - that way you can prepare food within arm’s reach of both the sink and the hob, and whilst cooking you can place dirty spoons and pans next to the sink ready for cleaning once you’ve finished.
If you’re struggling for sink inspiration or any other aspect of your kitchen design, our expert designers would be happy to help, please drop in or contact us.