What's New in Kitchen Sinks?
A look at trends in sinks, faucets, and accessories
Most folks look for simple, elegant design and low maintenance. They want to make a design statement. Small house people are a little different: They place their emphasis on multi-purpose functionality. When you have less space, getting the most from it becomes a priority. That said, no one is going to give up aesthetics if they don't have to.
Now that we are into the 2010s, there are several design trends that show up regularly.
- Farm house type sinks are increasingly popular. Also called apron front sinks, they have a vintage look people like. (Most vintage sinks are completely different, but no matter.) They are available in porcelain, fire clay, and stainless steel. I've even seen a couple in copper. They are generally mounted under the counter or flush with it. The basin is a deep rectangle, but available with two wells if you want them. They're expensive, but very pretty. They are often large sinks that could overwhelm a tiny kitchen but would be appropriate and attractive in a vintage home.
- Seamless stainless steel is also popular from the standpoint of ease of use. With one-piece construction and built-in drain boards on one or both sides, there just isn't any place to trap dirt. In a small kitchen with a cleaning ell six feet wide, you could install a 72" sink and counter unit with stainless drainboards on either side ... almost like having a whole counter fabricated. This would be a suitable style for a kitchen restoration in anything built after 1935 or so. It's not cheap and likely to be difficult to find used, but could be an interesting solution in some small kitchens.
- Vessel sinks are making their way into kitchens according to the design patter. They are mounted on top or sunk part way into the counter. This opens up possibilities for tiny house solutions using various found materials. Another possibility could be incorporating the basin from a vintage pedestal sink that has lost its pedestal. (Possibly problematic as they tend to be somewhat shallow ... it would depend on the sink and how you plan to use it.)
Ikea tends to be a good source of very small, but functional sinks that are both attractive and inexpensive with a modern aesthetic that is very appealing.
Faucets and other sink accessories
The most common configuration today is still a double sink with a pull out faucet. New features that are being requested more and more often are a dedicated water filtration system, hot water dispenser, and ... unsurprisingly ... a soap dispenser.
Faucet sets run from the very low end rental-unit style that hasn't changed in decades to state-of-the-art commercial kitchen faucets. Wall-mounted units are convenient and easier to keep clean than deck-mounted faucets. Many are decorative and come in a variety of finishes including brass, polished chrome, and brushed nickel.
Practical considerations in my small kitchen
For a small house with a highly functioning tiny kitchen, minimal size and maximum efficiency is the name of the game. I'm happy with my repurposed Craigslist find: a double wide, deep, stainless steel sink that functions as kitchen prep center and utility sink.
For the sake of easy use and low maintenance, I've opted for a pull-out faucet (all the better to rinse the corgi) with no fancy stuff and ditching the accessories altogether. My hot water kettle is good enough for generating water for tea and coffee and dishsoap can be kept in a small squeeze bottle on the window sill.
More on sinks
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