The evolution of bathroom sinks from a simple washstand with a basin to contemporary designs featuring sensors has led to the conception of a myriad of styles, many of which have stood the test of time. So, you may wonder about the various bathroom sink styles available nowadays.
From classic to contemporary, all bathroom sink styles can be neatly classified using the mounting mechanism, i.e., drop-in, pedestal, under-mount, vessel, and wall mount. Other distinct styles include console, corner, integrated, modern, semi-recessed, trough, etc.
Most of these bathroom sink styles can use different materials to offer an overwhelming variety in design, covering both aesthetic and functional features. If you’re looking for the right style of bathroom sink for your house, read on to know the main differences and the pros and cons.
Bathroom Sink Styles and Types of Bathroom Sinks
If you’re looking for a new bathroom sink, you’ll notice that they come in various styles, sizes and materials. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed but, after reading the section below, you should be able to make an informed decision:
1. Classic Sink
The classic sink style comprises all traditional bathroom washstands and basins of the following eras:
Here in the U.S., these eras span from the early 1700s through the first decade or so of the 20th century. Most classic sinks were floor-standing or freestanding washstands with a basin. These sinks weren’t mounted on counters or walls. So, these are similar in a way to pedestal sinks.
Also, classic sinks didn’t have the convenience of modern plumbing, so any traditional style that you find today is tweaked from its original design to feature contemporary faucets and work with pipes, usually both cold and hot lines.
The most distinguishing feature of the classic sink style is aesthetics. Traditional bathroom sinks usually have the following design elements:
- Bulky structure
- Ornate detailing
- Prominent curves
|Classic Bathroom Sink Pros||Classic Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Exquisite designs||Heavier than many styles|
|Sturdy and durable||Large, i.e., space-intensive|
|Vintage options||Material options are limited|
2. Console Sink
The console bathroom sink is similar to the classic style if it has a floor-standing or freestanding washstand and a basin, but there are also wall-mounted versions.
A console sink’s washstand doesn’t have an elaborate vanity or a typical pedestal, as it features a minimalist design with 2 or more legs, much like a simple table.
The console sink style has been witnessing a resurgence recently due to its simplicity and the fact that it doesn’t take up much space. The absence of a bulky cabinet or large vanity makes a bathroom feel more open and spacious.. Some designs may feature a sleek drawer or two.
As the Senior Design Editor at Architectural Digest, Hannah Martin writes in her piece noting the growing popularity of the console bathroom sink, the basic washstand with its skeletal form and drama-free aesthetics appeal to anyone who prefers a less-is-more approach to interior decor.
|Console Bathroom Sink Pros||Console Bathroom Sink Cons|
|ADA compliance is easier||Exposed plumbing may be an issue|
|Frees up floor space||Little to no storage space based on designs|
|Optimum countertop space||May span more of the wall than some styles|
|Single and double sink options|
3. Contemporary Bathroom Sink
A contemporary sink may be any design or style that is currently popular or trending as a niche. Contemporary sinks may have any type of mounting mechanism, and the choice of materials is the most diverse among all known styles.
Apart from unique creations, such as the Rock.01, any other sink style that takes advantage of the advancements in materials science, modern decor, and technology while being distinct from other prevailing categories can qualify as contemporary.
Contemporary bathroom sinks don’t always come in the standard white color, and many elegant models come in black, a sleek look that can complement your modern bathroom. When opting for a black bathroom sink, most homeowners buy a toilet and bathtub in black, as well.
|Contemporary Bathroom Sink Pros||Contemporary Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Distinct designs and features||Expensive unless the sink is elementary|
|Durable form and materials||Installation may not be simple for all models|
|Plenty of options: material, mount, etc.|
|Stylish and equally utilitarian|
4. Corner Sink
Any type of corner sink is a compact version, significantly sleeker and smaller than other styles. A corner sink may have a pedestal, or it might be wall-mounted. If you have limited space or the bathroom has a corner that you can utilize for the sink, this style can be a great choice.
Many corner sinks have a rounded front but an angled rear so that they can be easily fitted along a corner, whether it is a pedestal or wall-mounted installation. Other designs may feature a round or oval basin with an angled mount for the wall or an appropriately shaped pedestal.
|Corner Bathroom Sink Pros||Corner Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Ideal for small bathrooms||Little to no countertop space|
|Suitable for bathrooms with unusual layouts||Supply lines may need longer hoses or pipes|
|Wall-mounted and pedestal options|
5. Drop-In Sink
A drop-in sink is also referred to as a self-rimming or top-mount style. These sinks are inserted into an available or pre-cut hole in the countertop or platform, which could be a vanity cabinet or closet as well.
If you don’t have a counter or platform to serve as the foundation for the installation, you might use another kind of mounting systems, such as bars, brackets, etc. Since most drop-in sinks are installed on an existing fixture, the size should be matched accurately to fit the hole.
As a distinct style, drop-in sinks can be made of any of the popular materials, but the depth is usually not as much as under-mount models.
|Drop-In Bathroom Sink Pros||Drop-In Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Affordable, subject to the material||Less depth (not a deal breaker, though)|
|Convenient to clean and maintain||Not the most pleasing aesthetically|
|Easier to install than under-mount sinks|
6. Farmhouse Sink
Historically, the farmhouse sink has been more common in kitchens than in bathrooms. A typical farmhouse sink is larger than other styles, and the basin is deeper. These two features combine to offer you much more space than several sink styles.
The other noticeably distinct feature of many farmhouse sinks is an exposed front. Such styles are known as apron or apron-front sinks. The other variations of farmhouse sinks have the face or front concealed in cabinets or other fixtures.
|Farmhouse Bathroom Sink Pros||Farmhouse Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Deeper basin, so more space||Heavy, albeit durable and sturdy|
|Larger size, also making it more spacious||Installation isn’t a simple DIY project|
|Quite a few materials to choose from||Not all counters or countertops are suitable|
|Rustic charm and alluring presence||Space may be an issue in bathrooms|
7. Floating Bathroom Sink
A floating sink usually comprises a basin mounted atop a vanity unit. The vanity cabinet may be sleek with only one level of drawers or a variant closer to full-size units, but the installation won’t be floor-mounted. Most floating sink styles are wall-mounted units to have some space below.
That said, a floating sink isn’t identical to a wall-mounted one. A floating sink may be a drop-in or under-mount model mounted atop or under the vanity countertop. The term floating refers to the fact that the entire unit isn’t resting on the floor, which is also its most important advantage.
|Floating Bathroom Sink Pros||Floating Bathroom Sink Cons|
|A bathroom appears more spacious||Expensive, as it is usually a vanity unit|
|Cleaning the floor is easier||Larger than styles that are only sinks|
|Different materials and sizes||Professional installation is necessary|
|May combine design elements of other styles|
8. Integrated Sink
An integrated sink is any style that has the same material for the basin and the countertop. If there is any other feature as a part of the counter, the same material extends to this portion as well. Like quite a few other types, an integrated sink may have elements of other styles.
For instance, an integrated sink may be freestanding with a vanity unit or wall-mounted. The core design philosophy of an integrated sink may be contemporary or modern. Plus, you can choose a design with one or two basins featuring the integrated sink style.
|Integrated Bathroom Sink Pros||Integrated Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Easy to clean sink and countertop||Costlier than many styles|
|Chic and sleek designs||DIY installation will likely be complicated|
|Different mount or installation options||Heavier materials may need reinforcement|
9. Modern Bathroom Sink
Modern sink designs use concepts that emerged following the classic eras, leading to contemporary styles. So, there are early 20th-century influences, such as art deco and art nouveau, and later design elements, like clean lines and minimalism.
A modern sink can use any of the materials that have been popular for decades, including solid surface, vitreous china, etc. Also, modern sinks can have any type of mounting system. But a modern sink isn’t a contemporary style, as the latter is more about current and emerging trends.
|Modern Bathroom Sink Pros||Modern Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Appropriate for typical modern bathrooms||Designs may have overlaps with other styles|
|Fitting option for standard houses||May be unsuitable for unusual bathrooms|
|Huge variety of designs, materials, etc.|
10. Pedestal Sink
A pedestal sink is a floor-mounted style, a hybrid of classic and console designs. The basin may be a standard design, like a vessel, or a unique structure. Contemporary pedestal sinks are popular designs.
The pedestal is a sleeker edition of the classic washstand. That said, pedestal sinks can borrow heavily from other styles.
A pedestal sink may feature a classic-era basin perched atop the stand instead of a countertop. The sink may be a contemporary design, except the unit already has a foundation, so you need not have a vanity cabinet or counter to mount it on.
|Pedestal Bathroom Sink Pros||Pedestal Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Cleaning is easy||Little or no countertop space|
|Durable sink style||No storage or utility space|
|Pedestal may conceal plumbing||Prices are higher than many styles|
|Takes very little space|
11. Semi-Recessed Sink
A semi-recessed sink is mounted on a countertop, but a part of it extends beyond the counter or vanity unit. This style is most suited for sleeker counters or smaller vanity units that don’t have a deep or large countertop. The shallow mounting area may necessitate a semi-recessed sink.
The other advantage of a semi-recessed sink is the accessible area under the basin. The knee clearance can make such sinks easier to use for children and people with disabilities. On the flip side, you may have some water splash out of the basin, as there is no countertop in the front.
|Semi-Recessed Bathroom Sink Pros||Semi-Recessed Bathroom Sink Cons|
|ADA compliance is easier||Cleaning and upkeep may be an issue|
|Compatible with sleeker counters||Limited varieties: design or material|
|Suitable for smaller vanity units||May not suit some bathroom layouts|
12. Trough Bathroom Sink
A trough sink has one basin and two faucets. Also, most designs are an integrated style, so you get the basin and countertop made of the same material. The trough sink is an alternative to any style featuring two separate basins.
Generally, trough sinks rest on countertops or are wall-mounted. The latter is usually integrated, so you get a countertop as well. You may place a vanity unit under such a sink if you want. Else, this style may become a wall-mounted or counter-mounted floating sink.
|Trough Bathroom Sink Pros||Trough Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Elegant and stylish||Larger and wider than many styles|
|Single drain outlet||May be heavy, subject to the size|
|Two or more faucets||Not for every bathroom or preference|
13. Undermount Sink
An undermount sink isn’t exactly a style but a mounting system. Nothing but the basin is visible, and that too when you are over an under-mount sink. Hence, all the pros and cons depend on if the countertop or vanity unit is compatible with such an installation and the material you choose.
|Undermount Bathroom Sink Pros||Undermount Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Flush finish with a seamless appearance||Expensive than some other styles|
|Maintenance and cleaning are effortless||Installation is complicated|
|No limiting effect on countertop space||Needs compatible countertop material|
14. Vanity Sink
A vanity sink is usually a basin mounted atop a storage cabinet. The entire countertop may be an integrated sink, or only a portion may feature a basin. Some vanity styles have a vessel sink atop the counter. Others have a drop-in or under-mount sink already assembled with the vanity.
|Vanity Bathroom Sink Pros||Vanity Bathroom Sink Cons|
|A self-contained vanity unit||Costlier than individual sinks and vanities|
|Easy installation if the unit is fully assembled||Heavier and larger than independent sinks|
|Plenty of designs and material combinations||Some storage space is occupied by the sink|
|riable storage space based on size|
15. Vessel Sink
A vessel sink may be round, oval, or other shapes that you mount atop a counter. Vessel sinks may also be installed on brackets or mounted on walls, subject to the design and whether or not any reinforcement is necessary, primarily depending on the material and its weight.
|Vessel Bathroom Sink Pros||Vessel Bathroom Sink Cons|
|Cheaper than many other styles||Cleaning is a little demanding|
|Contemporary and modern designs||Durability may be a concern|
|Different mounting mechanisms||Faucet height must be matched|
|Enough options: aesthetics, materials, etc.||Some splashing is possible|
16. Wall-Mounted Sink
Any type of basin that is installed on a wall is a wall-mounted sink. You may have a basin with a countertop or just a sink without any or much counter space. Note that a floating vanity cabinet may have a wall-mounted sink. However, floating sinks aren’t necessarily wall-mounted.
|Wall-Mounted Bathroom Sink Pros||Wall-Mounted Bathroom Sink Cons|
|ADA compliant||No countertop or space|
|Affordable, easy to clean, simple replacement||No storage space under the sink|
|Floor space isn’t affected at all||Professional installation is usually necessary|
|Modern, contemporary, and other designs||Reinforcements necessary for heavier sinks|
17. Washplane Sink
A washplane sink doesn’t have a conventional basin. Instead, the basin is the flat top surface of the sink material with a bit of slope. Most washplane sinks are sleek and stylish, which is partly the reason for their popularity in commercial properties, especially in the hospitality sector.
|Washplane Bathroom Sink Pros||Washplane Bathroom Sink Cons|
|ADA compliance is easy||Can’t hold water, unlike a basin|
|Doesn’t require much space (wall-mounted)||Depth is too shallow compared to other sinks|
|Durable, subject to the selected material||Splashing is likely during routine use|
Bathroom Sinks by Material
Bathroom sink material is a key differentiator of styles. While many of the styles I’ve listed above can use several materials, only a few are considered for certain designs and mounting systems.
For instance, integrated sinks or styles that include a basin and a countertop may be made of one of the following materials:
- Composite stone
- Natural stone
- Solid surface
- Stainless steel
The other bathroom sink materials are:
- Enameled cast iron
- Vitreous china
Bathroom Sinks by Shape
If you use the shape as the criterion for every distinct style, you can classify bathroom sinks as the following:
The pros and cons of the shapes are mostly subjective, apart from depending on compatibility.
Bathroom Sinks by Size
Standard bathroom sinks available nowadays in most of the aforementioned styles have a basin depth of 5 inches to 8 inches (12.7 cm to 20.32 cm). This range isn’t necessarily applicable to a unique bathroom sink, whether in size or style. Other dimensions depend on shapes, styles, etc.
A round bathroom sink may have a diameter of 16 inches to 20 inches (40.64 cm to 50.8 cm). A rectangular sink of any style may be ~19 inches to 24 inches (48.26 cm to 60.96 cm) wide with varying depths, whether horizontal (front to back of the rim) or vertical (basin).Tags: bathroom sink materials, bathroom sink shapes, bathroom sink sizes, bathroom sink styles, floating sinks, undermount sinks, vessel sinks