If you've never tackled a bathroom remodeling project, you might think choosing the sink will be no problem. But the sheer number of choices can be daunting. It helps to narrow it all down by the type of bath you're remodeling, how much room you have, and whether you need storage on a counter or beneath the sink. Some designs are better suited for powder rooms, while master baths and kids' bathrooms have their own needs.
The Vessel Sink
Clear Advantages: Stylish and versatile, while nodding back to the old washbasin used before we had indoor plumbing. It can sit atop a slab of any material, a traditional vanity cabinet, or — one of our favorite uses — on a repurposed piece of furniture like these end tables. They're easy to install and swap out if need be, and come in all shapes, sizes, styles, and materials. Because they sit atop a counter or furniture, they height is more easily variable for either the very tall or the rather petite to use more comfortably than standard height sinks.
Things to Consider: They take more time to get the height right for everyone, if they sit above a traditional counter top or vanity. Faucet choice and installation can be tricky. Many vessel styles are shallow, which can cause splashing if the faucet is installed too high. It can be hard to wash your face, say, if the faucet is set too low — you don't want to smash your nose into the faucet. There's also more to clean — the sides are as exposed as the bowl. They may not have an overflow, either.
The Semi-Recessed Sink
Clear Advantages: The style statement is much like the vessel sink with the exposed sides, available sizes and materials, though this type of sink actually sits down into a countertop or vanity. They're also typically deeper than a similarly sized vessel sink, so it will contain more splashing than a shallower sink.
Things to Consider: The extended side height on a traditional vanity cabinet may be uncomfortable for some, and it shares that need for extra cleaning with a vessel sink. Some lack an overflow.
The Pedestal Sink
Clear Advantages: Perfect for a powder room or other installation where space might be tight, you can find a pedestal sink in any style that strikes your fancy. This modern version is sleek and understated in clean white.
Things to Consider: The downside of pedestals is the lack of storage beneath or much room on the sink top, which makes them less than ideal for a master bath or kids' bathroom. A soap dispenser or dish is all you'll be able to comfortably stash on top. In terms of installation, the plumbing has to be pretty precisely placed — the drain line has to be perfectly centered and the supply lines at the right height to be hidden by the pedestal.
The Wall-Hung Sink
Clear Advantages: Again, it's a space-saver and ideal for smaller baths and half-baths. You can clean the floor completely beneath it, they can be ADA-compliant because there's room underneath for a wheelchair, and you can find stylish examples.
Things to Consider: You have to be careful about the design of the sink and the overall room, there's a way to use a vintage-y sink design in a stylish way (like above), but done wrong it might remind you too much of your elementary school's lavatory.
The Console Sink
Clear Advantages: Not quite a pedestal, not quite a wall-mount sink, but it adds a whole a lot of style. Build in storage underneath or leave it open.
Things to Consider: There's a lack of storage beneath, but the wider models can often accommodate a wheelchair beneath. Though the console above is spare and modern, other consoles throwback with a steampunk vibe that's well-suited to a variety of eras.
The Top-Mount Sink
Clear Advantages: The top-mount (AKA the drop-in or self-rimming) sink sits on a hole cut into the counter top, so the hole doesn't need to be finished — the sink covers it. Top-mount sinks can be used on any surface.
Things to Consider: No way to clean spills on the counter top into the sink. This style may be better suited to baths used by adults and meticulous teens. For younger kids or the sloppy of any age, an under-mount sink makes for easier cleanups from counter to sink.
The Under-Mount Sink
Clear Advantages: Give a clean, sleek look to your bathroom. Any spills on the counter can be easily swept into the sink. and there are fewer edges to clean or to trap gunk.
Things to Consider: Can't swap out the sink without taking out the counter top too, and the cutout has to be exact, smooth, and it leaves the cut exposed. Traditionally, that means you have to use a solid material for the counter, though some manufacturers are touting laminates that can be finished and sealed.
The One-Piece Sink & Counter
Clear Advantages: All-in-one construction makes it easy to install, and the seamless construction makes it easy to clean thoroughly.
Things to Consider: They can be more expensive than other styles, and if you get a bad scratch or a crack, the whole top has to come off and be replaced.
So that's just the sink! Check out our take on soaking tubs and what they can do for a master bath remodel.