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What Bathroom Sink Should I Buy

The sink is quite possibly the part of a bathroom that we use the most. Naturally, you’ll find a variety of sink options available for every type of bathroom style. While certain sinks may work better in a powder room, others are ideal for a family bathroom. Some become the focal point of the bathroom, while others blend seamlessly with an existing look. Whether you’re planning a complete bathroom redesign or not, choosing the right sink is key. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular sink designs to help you make your purchase.

Top-Mount Sink

Polaris Sinks Bronze Sinks Topmount / 23" x 19" x 6.25" / Bronze / P269

Polaris Sinks Bronze Sinks Topmount / 23″ x 19″ x 6.25″ / Bronze / P269

top mount sink

Image via Flickr by Kelly-Brian

Top-mount sinks are the most common type of bathroom sinks available. Also known as a self-rimming or drop-in sink, this sink style sits on top of the counter and is held in place by the rim of the sink. The rim is visible above the counter and ranges from thick and chunky to sleek and slim.

Since a top-mount sink completely covers the cut-out in the counter, you’ll find this style suitable for any type of countertop material, including laminate, wood, tile, and stone. Plus, top-mounted sinks are one of the easiest sinks to install on a stone countertop since you won’t have to polish the cut-out edges — the sink covers them.

Top-mounted sink designs are the most cost-effective sink option available, with less effort and labor needed for installation. However, the largest drawback to a top-mount sink is that you can’t direct spilled water from the counter into the sink. As a result, dirt and bacteria can get caught in the crevices between the lip of the sink and the counter.

Undermount Sink

undermount sink

If you’re looking for a sink that maximizes the amount of counter space, consider an undermount sink. As the name suggests, this type of sink mounts under the counter or vanity. Since the rim attaches to the underside of the countertop, this sink is ideal for busy family bathrooms where quick cleanup is a necessity. Any water spilled on the counter is easily directed into the sink.

undermount sink

Image via Flickr by bycpt

However, since undermount sinks are one seamless line, you can use them only on solid countertops such as stone. The sinks are not suitable for countertops without moisture seals such as laminate, plastic, or tile. Since extra work is needed to properly fit an undermount sink, the installation costs are more than a top-mount sink.

Additionally, you’ll lose some storage space under the sink when you choose this style. Not only will you need room for the sink itself, but you’ll also need space for the braces or stands that hold the sink in place.

Wall-Mounted Sink

wall mount sink

Image via Flickr by aarsvoln

A wall-mounted sink attaches directly to the wall and doesn’t need a countertop or vanity for support. Not only is this style popular for a minimalist or modern bathroom, but it’s also ideal for small bathrooms where floor space is at a premium. While some homeowners choose to use a cover or shroud to hide the plumbing and drain pipes, others consider the exposed plumbing part of the appeal and leave these pipes exposed for visual interest.

Since a wall-mounted sink doesn’t need a countertop, this sink can make a small bathroom feel bigger. On the other hand, this lack of countertop also means you don’t get the same amount of storage space you usually do with a bathroom vanity. Therefore, a wall-mounted sink is better suited for powder rooms where storage isn’t essential.

Pedestal Sink

pedestal sink

This sink type attaches directly to the wall. However, the sink basin rests on a pedestal that conceals the pipes. Like a wall-mounted sink, a pedestal sink works well in small bathrooms without much available floor space. This sink style is also ideal if you want to go for a classic or historical feel in your bathroom.

Of course, since a pedestal sink is quite similar to a wall-mounted sink, you’ll find the same drawbacks. You won’t have any storage space under a pedestal sink, and you’ll lack counter space around the sink. Finally, a pedestal sink design typically has a gap between the back of the pedestal and the wall that can make cleaning behind the sink difficult.

Console Sink

console sinkA console sink is a combination of a pedestal sink and a wall-mounted sink. The sink attaches to the wall and has an exposed base, yet it also stands on either two or four legs, typically constructed of either wood or metal.

Since a console sink takes up a small amount of space, it’s good for small bathrooms, allowing you to have open shelving below the sink for storage. A console sink with metal legs fits within the style of a modern bathroom, while a console sink with wooden legs is better for a traditional or Victorian-style bathroom.

Vessel Sink

vessel sink

Polaris Sinks Glass Sinks

A vessel sink, also called a countertop sink, mounts directly on top of the counter. If you’re looking for a deep sink that can hold plenty of water, you’ve found the right choice. While this sink is usually in the shape of a bowl, the sink itself can come in different shapes and sizes. This type of sink can be made from nearly any material you can think of, including glass, metal, cast iron, porcelain, and natural stone.

Vessel sinks have become popular over the last few years because of their bold and distinctive style. This sink makes an excellent choice if you’re planning an in-suite bathroom with a design made to stand out.

Since a vessel sink sits on top of a counter, you need to carefully plan your counter height so the sink isn’t too high and uncomfortable to use. While traditional sinks require a counter height between 32 and 36 inches, a vessel sink needs a counter that’s shorter. However, you don’t have to choose a traditional counter for your bathroom design; instead, you can go with a stylish vanity.

Since a vessel sink sits higher than usual, you’ll also need to select a faucet that either mounts on the wall or has a long neck to reach over the side of the sink.

Integral Sink

integral sink

Image via Flickr by leosel

An integral sink is constructed directly in the countertop. As a result, this sink type has a completely smooth and seamless transition from countertop to sink. While an integral sink lets you express creative and personalized design, you can use only materials flexible enough to form the sink basin. Therefore, an integral sink is usually made from glass, quartz, composite materials, or stainless steel. However, if damage occurs to the sink or countertop, you’ll have to replace the entire unit.

An integral sink is one of the easiest types of sinks to clean since no seams or ridges are present. As a result, this sink type is excellent for busy family bathrooms. Thanks to the sleek and unobtrusive design, an integral sink is also great for modern and contemporary bathrooms.

Semi-Recessed Sink

semi recessed sink

Polaris Sinks White Porcelain Sink (P071V-W) / N/A / White

If you have limited space in your bathroom, but you still need a spot for storage, consider a semi-recessed sink. This sink sits on top of shallow cabinets — sometimes as thin as 12 inches — to allow you plenty of floor space available. However, since you also get the added convenience of cabinets, you can free up your counter space and have plenty of room to store towels and toilet paper.

Since a semi-recessed sink extends out from the cabinet, this style makes a great choice for young children or people with limited mobility. However, since you don’t have a counter in the front to catch any water splashes, you’ll need to be mindful of water splashing on the floor. While you have some storage space, the amount is limited and smaller than what you’ll find with a traditional sink and cabinet.

Washplane Sink

A washplane sink is slim and simple, yet stylish. This sink consists of a single piece of material — typically glass, porcelain, ceramic, marble, granite, or an engineered stone — with a small trough carved in to catch the water. While you may have seen washplane sinks only in modern bathrooms at restaurants and hotels, these sinks are making their way into residential bathrooms.

Since a washplane sink mounts directly to the wall, it’s ideal for tiny bathrooms where space is limited. However, since a washplane sink is shallow, this type is best for simple hand washing and works best in powder rooms.

While the sink can be an overlooked part of the bathroom, it’s also the one piece that can pull the room together. Plus, with many distinctive designs to choose from, your sink can become a focal point for your bathroom. Whether you’re putting together an ultra-modern in-suite bathroom, Victorian-style powder room, or traditional family bathroom, you can find the ideal sink to not only meet your needs, but also fit in with your bathroom style and design.

Do you have a style in mind for your bathroom? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Michelle Thompson