Choosing the right bathroom sink is an important decision that requires careful thought and planning. With so many styles, shapes, sizes, materials, colors and features to consider, it can be overwhelming to know where to start. This comprehensive guide will walk you through all the key factors to consider when selecting a new bathroom sink. Follow our tips and advice to make sure you end up with the perfect sink for both form and function.
Measure Your Bathroom Space
Before shopping for a new bathroom sink, the first step is to take measurements of your existing vanity or sink area. This will determine what size and shape of sink will fit the space. Be sure to measure:
- Width of the vanity or sink base cabinet
- Depth from front to back
- Existing sink hole or cutout size (if replacing a sink)
- Amount of counter space needed on each side of the sink
Pay attention to potential obstructions such as drawers, plumbing or wall edges that could limit sink size. It’s better to have all the measurements handy before viewing sink options to ensure the right fit.
Consider Your Style
Bathroom sinks come in a diverse range of styles to coordinate with any décor. Decide what look you want before shopping:
Traditional style bathroom sinks have an elegant, timeless look. Materials like porcelain and ceramics are common. Styles include:
- Pedestal: Freestanding sink with a base that hides plumbing. No cabinet needed.
- Wall-mount: Sink mounts directly to the wall. No cabinet or counter space.
- Drop-in: Sink has a rim that drops into a pre-cut hole in the counter.
- Undermount: Sink mounts below the counter for a sleek, seamless look.
Contemporary sinks take a more modern, minimalist approach. Common materials are glass, stone, acrylic, stainless steel or solid-surface. Styles include:
- Vessel: Bowl-shaped sink that sits on top of the counter like a decorative piece.
- Floating: Wall-mounted sink with unseen brackets giving a “floating” look.
- Asymmetrical: Angled, sloped or uneven designs for visual interest.
- geometric: Square, triangular or abstract shapes.
Transitional style strikes a balance between traditional and contemporary. Sink shapes may be rounded or square with clean, simple lines. Materials tend to be neutral like white porcelain.
Select Your Sink Material
Bathroom sinks come in a range of materials, each with their own properties. Consider factors like durability, ease of cleaning, stain resistance and style preference.
- Made of vitreous china clay, porcelain is durable, stain-resistant and easy to clean.
- Glossy white finish matches any style. Can chip if struck hard.
Enameled Cast Iron
- Extremely durable but very heavy. Can last 50+ years.
- chips and scratches unlikely. Easy to clean.
- Often cheaper than porcelain.
- Acrylic-based blend of natural minerals and resins create a seamless surface.
- Easy to clean, stain and chip resistant. Nonporous.
- Can be molded into any shape. Seams may be visible.
- Elegant, natural look but very porous and requires sealing.
- Granite, marble, limestone, soapstone and slate are popular choices.
- Can be stained, scratched or etched by acid. Needs regular sealing.
- Made from clay fired at high temperatures, fireclay is durable and scratch-resistant.
- Classic apron-front style common. Chips and stains unlikely.
- Can crack over time if exposed to pressure.
- Tempered glass adds a modern, sleek look. Often used for vessel sinks.
- Prone to showing water spots and fingerprints. Chips if struck.
- Heavier than it appears. Most fragile of sink materials.
- Sleek, modern look. Stainless resists corrosion and staining. Shows fingerprints.
- Can dent with heavy impacts. Noisy as items placed in sink clang.
- Often used for kitchen sinks instead of bathrooms.
- Beautiful natural patina develops over time. Antimicrobial properties.
- Expensive. Scratches easily. Needs regular polishing.
- Not good for hard water areas due to mineral buildup.
Choose Your Sink Shape
Along with the style and material, the shape of your sink is another key decision. Common options include:
- Classic and versatile shape fits most spaces.
- Curved interior corners make cleaning easy.
- Limited counter space on sides due to rounded shape.
- Most common shape, available in many sizes.
- Offers greatest interior space for washing.
- Straight sides maximize counter space.
- 90-degree corners match contemporary styling.
- Square interior can hold more water.
- Angled faucet hole options.
- Sharp corners harder to clean.
- Softer, space-saving shape for small baths.
- No corners to collect gunk and grime.
- Limited surrounding counter space.
Choose the Right Size
Bathroom sinks generally range in size from petite 16-inch models to large triple-basin options spanning 60-inches or more. Measure your existing space carefully to determine what will fit. In general:
- Small spaces: 16 to 22-inches wide.
- Medium spaces: 25 to 30-inches wide.
- Large master baths: 32-inches and up.
- Double sinks need at least 48-inches of cabinet space.
Pay attention to the basin depth too. Deeper basins hold more water. Standard is approx. 7 inches deep, while pedestal sinks may be 5 inches. Vessel sinks sit even shallower at 3-4 inches.
Compare Number of Faucet Holes
The number and placement of faucet holes is another important factor. This ensures your new sink and chosen faucet are compatible. Standard options include:
- No holes: Wall-mount sinks or vessels that take wall-mount faucet.
- Single hole: For one-handle or centerset faucets. Most common.
- 3 holes: For widespread faucets with separate handles.
- 4 holes: For widespread faucets and additional access for soap dispenser or sprayer.
- 8 holes: For extra-large sinks supporting multiple faucets and accessories.
Pick Your Drain Position
Drain placement determines how your sink will drain. Look for options that match your existing plumbing setup:
- Rear drain: Drain is centered at the back. Most common.
- Offset drain: Drain is shifted slightly to the left or right.
- Rear left/right drain: Drain at the direct corner.
- Center drain: Drain is in the middle of the sink bottom. Uncommon.
Compare Special Features
Today’s sinks offer many optional convenience features to look for, like:
- Overflow drain: Additional drain hole prevents overflow.
- Integral backsplash: Raised lip contains splashes.
- Towel bars: Handy place to hang hand towels.
- Soap dispenser: Built-in dispensers for efficiency.
- Grid drain: Covers drain holes for improved garbage disposal function.
- Big basins: Extra deep for filling pots or washing pets.
Choose Your Color
Bathroom sink colors range from basic white to dramatic hues:
- White, biscuit or bone are safe, neutral choices.
- Almond, tan and beige are also popular.
- Bold navy, black, red or pink make a statement.
- Natural stone has gray, brown and black tones.
- Glass vessels come in clear as well as colored.
Consider matching other elements like countertops, flooring or tile. But don’t feel locked in to all one color. Mixing materials and tones can add interest.
Compare Brands and Prices
With both budget and quality in mind, look at sink options across different brands. In general:
- Name brands like Kohler and American Standard offer consistent quality and warranty support.
- Price-conscious lines from Home Depot and Lowe’s balance cost and performance.
- Designer brands like Lacava and Native Trails offer unique high-end looks.
- Overseas manufacturers provide very low cost options. Quality varies.
How to Choose the Right Bathroom Sink: Key Takeaways
Choosing your perfect bathroom sink involves many steps. Keep these key points in mind:
- Measure your existing space carefully for the best fit.
- Decide on traditional, contemporary or transitional styling.
- Consider material features like durability and ease of care.
- Choose a shape that maximizes basin and counter space.
- Confirm faucet holes match your faucet needs.
- Pick proper drain placement to match plumbing.
- Compare special features like built-in accessories.
- Select a sink color that coordinates with your overall décor.
- Balance budget with brand reputation and quality.
Following this comprehensive guide will help you select the ideal bathroom sink for both form and function. Take your time, evaluate all options and enjoy your beautiful new upgrade!
Frequently Asked Questions About Choosing Bathroom Sinks
Picking out a new bathroom sink brings up many common questions. Here are answers to some of the key issues that often come up:
What is the most popular bathroom sink size?
The most commonly purchased size of a bathroom vanity is 25 to 32 inches wide. This provides a sink roughly 22 to 30 inches wide once you account for the extra frame space. For tighter bathrooms, a petite 16- to 20-inch sink may fit best.
How do you choose a bathroom sink style?
The style of your sink should match your overall bathroom look. For traditional baths, oval porcelains or fireclay apron-fronts work well. Contemporary baths look best with angular or asymmetric solid surface sinks. Transitional styles can use either traditional or contemporary shapes in neutral porcelain.
Can any sink be undermounted?
Most sink materials can be undermounted, where the rim attaches below the counter for a sleek look. But lighter or more fragile sinks may need extra brackets for support. Check manufacturer guidelines for each model. Vessel sinks sit on top of the counter so cannot be undermounted.
How much space do you need around a bathroom sink?
Ideally allow at least 4 inches of counter space from the sink edge to walls or other items. This gives enough room for soap dispensers, toothbrush holders and other accessories. If less space is available, wall-mount accessories. For multiple users, consider a double sink vanity.
Should bathroom sinks match faucets?
It’s not mandatory for your faucet and sink to perfectly match. Often just coordinating the finishes is enough, such as brushed nickel faucets with a brushed nickel sink drain. Mixing finishes can also add visual interest. Just ensure the number of faucet holes line up.
What is the most durable material for bathroom sinks?
In terms of day-to-day durability, porcelain, enameled cast iron and solid surface materials stand up best to heavy usage. Fireclay and stone also rate highly, provided you properly seal and maintain stone surfaces. More delicate choices like glass require extra care.
How do you clean a bathroom sink?
For regular cleaning, use an antibacterial spray cleaner or mix your own water and vinegar solution. Avoid abrasive scouring pads on shiny finishes. For mineral buildup, regularly use a sink cleaning product formulated to dissolve lime and rust deposits. Always read your sink’s care instructions too.
How much does a new bathroom sink cost?
There is a very wide range of bathroom sink costs. Inexpensive double bowl stainless steel sinks can cost under $100. Mid-range vitreous china pedestals or vanities run $200 to $500 typically. High-end designer vessel sinks or stone vanity tops can be $1,000 or more. Set your budget accordingly.
When should you replace a bathroom sink?
Signs your bathroom sink needs replacement include chips or cracks in the basin, corrosion around drains or overflows, and stains or mineral buildup you can’t remove. If needed fixes exceed 50% of the cost of a new sink, replacement often makes more sense than continuing repairs.
Can I install my new bathroom sink myself?
For experienced DIYers, swapping in a new sink is an achievable project, though professional help is recommended. The basin itself is the easy part. Making proper drain and faucet connections is harder. Temporarily capping plumbing lines during the process is crucial to avoid flooding.
Upgrading your bathroom sink is a project with many facets, but the rewards are well worth the effort. Follow this comprehensive guide to choose the perfect sink that matches your space, style and needs. Taking the time to make the right choice means you’ll enjoy a beautiful, functional sink that provides years of trouble-free service.