As dishwashers become an essential appliance, how often you use your sink and what you use it for are key considerations.
Will you wash up in it every day, use it for large pans, for rinsing dishes or preparing veg? The classic set-up of a deep rectangular sink and large drainer may not be right for you. For additional flexibility choose instead an additional bowl or half bowl. And if you host a lot of parties you can even opt for a trough sink, great for keeping bottles chilled. Try Alno (020 8420 1124; alno.co.uk), Brass & Traditional Sinks (01291 650 738; sinks.co.uk), or Franke (0161 436 6280; franke.co.uk).
SHAPES AND SIZES
If you plan to wash lots of big pans then choose a deep sink with straight sides. If it’s more for delicate glassware then a smaller, a shallower sink will save water and filling time. Round bowls or corner bowls can be a great solution for small kitchens, making the most of the worktop space.
Kitchen sinks can be fitted into or onto the worktop in a variety of ways, so make sure the sink and worktop you choose are compatible. Undermounted sinks sit below the worktop, meaning wood worktops must be well sealed and laminates are not suitable. Inset sinks sit flush in a hole in the worktop, while sit-on sinks replace a section of the worktop.
Stainless steel Hygienic and hardwearing, steel is a practical choice. For an easymaintenance sink, look for a slightly textured finish that won’t show finger marks.
Ceramic The classic butler (or Belfast) sink is in hardwearing ceramic, but you can now choose double or one and a half bowl models. But be warned that the weight may need some extra support.
Wood An oily teak properly sealed makes a beautiful and hard-wearing sink that will age well. Try a specialist like William Garvey (01404 841 430; williamgarvey.co.uk).
Composite These sinks can be seamlessly integrated into a composite worktop; they come in a range of colours and shapes, and are easy to repair if dented. Try Corian (0800 962 116; corian.co.uk)
The sink has been reinvented as a prep-zone, and sinks are available with lots of added extras, including sliding chopping boards, bowls, baskets and colanders.
Huge in the US but only just emerging here is the waste disposal system. Rather than throwing food waste into the bin you can feed it into your sink to be ground down to a paste and washed away – no blades involved. The systems are small enough to be installed in the cupboard under the sink. Try In-Sink- Erator (01923 297 880; insinkerator.co.uk).
If you prefer to sort food waste for compost then look for an under-sink sorting system with colour coded bins for rubbish. Try Blanco (020 8450 9100; blanco.co.uk).
Always a classic must have for a country kitchen. Also known as the butlers sink, these ceramic square sinks are durable and a fantastic design feature. They look great with wooden worktops but also with a modern surface for a contemporary twist.
Ikea are always great for contemporary design to suit your budget. Domsjo by Ikea is a double sink that will cater for busy family life. White to suit any kitchen with integrated draining areas.
InSinkErator are specialists and manufactures in waste disposal units, steaming hot water taps, and now food compactors. Waste disposal units are great for reducing the amount of waste we use and much better for the environment. Not to mention keep your bins fresh.
Cubit Sink by Caple
Sharp edges and clean line are becoming ever popular in a contemporary kitchen and this stainless steel sink by Caple is no exception with even greater emphasis on functionality. This sink incorporates a fitted colander and chopping board, allowing the user to take full advantage of it space. Available on order, fitted and undermounted from any Caple retailer. Visit the Caple website for details.