In recent years, sinks and taps have increasingly been used to set the tone and define a style for kitchen schemes, from matt black taps complementing dark cabinetry to coloured sinks contrasting with neutral worktops. Thanks to these emerging trends and changing lifestyles, including heightened awareness of hygiene and washing hands, sinks and taps are a key element when designing ‘the heart of a home’ of your self-build project. They should be considered early on in the design process in conjunction with the higher ticket appliances, such as cookers and fridges. That way, you can consider the kitchen concept and how a sink’s design – including the size, shape, material and finish – will affect the overall scheme and fit the requirements of the space.
Design meets hygiene
With cleanliness on everyone’s minds, the relationship with the surfaces in our homes is changing. While the kitchen sink is typically thought of as a place to wash your hands and clean dishes, the models of today offer far greater advantages that will prove popular post-pandemic. The three main materials used for kitchen sinks – stainless steel, ceramic and granite composite – offer a different aesthetic alongside their own individual features and benefits.
Stainless steel has been ubiquitous for decades and remains the most popular material choice due to its all-round performance, durability and contemporary metallic sheen. Most inset models are pre-fitted with clips and seals to reduce installation time, while also ensuring a watertight fit with the work surface. However, it’s important to note that not all stainless steel is the same. To this end, at Rangemaster, all our sinks are manufactured using high-grade 18/10 stainless steel; the additional nickel property in this grade offers a long-lasting high-sheen finish.
Ceramic sinks are fashioned from clay that has been fired at extremely high temperatures to provide superior strength and a stunning high-gloss finish. They are stain- and heat-resistant, hygienic, easy to wipe clean and generally low maintenance, while the glossy finish provides added visual appeal. Recent manufacturing developments have allowed fire clay sinks to become lighter, stronger and generally more practical, while still providing the same aesthetic benefits.
Similarly, granite composite sinks are hygienic, non-porous and hardwearing – due to the way they are formed under extreme pressure. The material’s smooth, non-porous surface leaves no place for bacteria to thrive and, because it’s food-safe, provides additional space for meal preparation. However, there are now models that also benefit from ProHygienic 21, the world’s first sink material with recognised anti-bacterial properties for added peace of mind. Due to their material mix, these sinks are also impact-, heat- and stain-resistant, providing a multifunctional surface to place hot pans while dishing up, without scalding the surface, and prepare food without leaving unwanted smells or stains. Additionally, these sinks are also available in different colours, allowing them to complement cabinetry, worktop palettes or even details such as window frame finishes.
Choosing a style
The latest sinks continue to evolve in line with design trends. Undermount models remain popular, particularly in modern kitchens encompassing clean lines and contemporary styling. Such sinks are very discreet, as they sit under a worktop, creating a successful ‘flow’ through a kitchen – which is of paramount importance when building a large, open-plan space. Inset sinks, on the other hand, tend to have more of a presence as the frame sits on top of the work surface, drawing the eye to the area.
Another consideration when choosing a sink is the number of bowls required. This usually depends on the style and type of kitchen you are trying to achieve. Single-bowl models work well for utility rooms or kitchens in an annexe, while 1.5- and double-bowl versions offer additional space for all-round extra washing and prep room. While previously considered a traditional option, sit-on Belfast sinks are also becoming more prevalent throughout self-build homes, integrating seamlessly into classic-meets-contemporary kitchen design. The deep bowl is ideal for washing pots and pans that are too large to fit in the dishwasher.
The other aspect to consider is the worktop material. With the majority of sink and tap combinations incorporating a high, arching tap over a deep sink, there is the potential for water to splash outside the bowl onto surrounding areas. If the worktop is wood, for example, it will require regular treatment to maintain a waterproof membrane, whereas solid synthetic surfaces, such as Corian, won’t require quite as much maintenance.
Today’s sinks are available in a wide variety of colours, so you can be sure to find the perfect match as you plan and design the kitchen for your new property. Metallic finishes are still highly sought after. Here at Rangemaster, we’re anticipating granite sinks with flecks of silver that add shimmer and sheen to increase in popularity across contemporary and kitchen designs. Demand for granite composite designs is also expected to grow further, especially as the material’s anti-bacterial properties become more well known. One thing is for certain, 2021 looks set to be focused on hygiene and high design across both self-build and renovation projects.