How to Choose a Bathroom Sink

This simple component can make or break the beauty and function of your bathroom. Here's help making a smart pick.

By Jan Soults Walker

You might be surprised to learn that there are vast choices when it comes to bringing home the bathroom sink. Have a look:

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Ken Kelly, CKD, CBD, CR

Materials matter

Sinks come in numerous materials that influence performance and appearance.

Porcelain-enameled cast iron or steel. A heavy, molded base of cast iron (a tough-as-nails alloy of carbon and steel) or a lighter-weight base of steel features a high-fired, durable coat of porcelain enamel—a beautiful glossy finish that's easy to maintain but can stain and chip.

Vitreous china. A reference to the durable, glasslike coating (similar to the porcelain-enamel finish on a cast iron sink), a vitreous china sink features a molded ceramic foundation, such as porcelain. Like their cast iron cousins, vitreous china sinks bring attractive shine, durability, and easy maintenance to the bath; however, they can stain and chip.

Plastics. You'll find a variety of sinks made from plastic composites, such as solid surfacing and acrylics. Some plastic composite sinks come in cool shapes and can mimic other materials from a distance. Keep in mind that some plastics are brittle and can scratch easily and even show a burn mark if you leave a curling iron on the surface, for example.

Pretty bowls and vessels made of tempered glass bring ethereal beauty to the bath and come in thick, durable glass, a material that's impervious to stains and resists scratches. One caveat: a heavy object dropped from above could shatter the glass.

Metals. Stainless steel, copper, and other metals lend a decorative touch to the bath as well as shine, and can be fashioned into a variety of unique shapes. Hammered finishes offer a handcrafted look as well. Metals promise durability but can scratch, dent, and show water spots.

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Props to ponder

Leslie Lamarre
Think about how to cradle your sink:

Vanity. Boost storage by mounting your bathroom sink within a vanity sporting a combination of drawers and shelves behind cabinet doors. Vanities can be made of a variety of materials, including painted or stained wood, laminates, or metal. For a one-of-a-kind vintage look, retrofit an old dresser or sideboard as a bathroom vanity.

Console. Think of a console as a countertop with legs, offering a sleek look and visually expanding your bathroom because flooring remains visible to the wall. Consoles also offer knee space below the sink for anyone using a wheelchair.

Pedestal. A sink mounted on a pedestal base can introduce a look that's charming or contemporary, depending on the design. Terrific space savers, pedestal sinks take up little real estate in the bathroom but also offer zero storage.

Wall-hung. Like a pedestal or console, a wall-hung sink can introduce vintage charm or a dramatic modern look, depending on styling. This mounting option also visually expands the look of the bath as it leaves flooring fully visible and allows comfortable access for wheelchair users.

Drop-in vs. undermount. Sinks can drop into the countertop, leaving a raised rim on the surface that can capture soap and grime; they can also mount beneath the countertop material for a clean look that's easier to maintain.

Get more ideas with these Bath Vanity Ideas for Every Style.

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