Sinks are a highly underrated design element with a great deal of potential when it comes to making a statement. It's a feature most will probably overlook — after all, in rentals, you rarely have control over it — until you're in the midst of a reno, facing an aisle of different choices. But believe it or not, a sink can actually be the focal point of a room and inform the aesthetic. And then there's yet another important factor to consider: the installation. The beauty is in the details here and if you're looking for a chic and contemporary option, integrated sinks are the way to go.
So what does that mean exactly? An integrated sink is just that — a basin that is a seamless extension of the countertop. It offers a refined and visually cohesive finish that's otherwise difficult to achieve with an undermount (when a sink is installed below the counter) or overmount (installed on top of the counter, similar to a "drop-in" sink) option. And although the one-piece concept is relatively similar across the board, it will inevitably play out differently in the bathroom versus the kitchen. While the latter calls for a deep basin (typically averaging around 10 inches in depth), a bathroom will only require around five inches or so. Bear in mind, if you're in the market for an integrated kitchen sink, more often than not, you may have to take the custom route since there isn't a standard to counter shapes and sizes.
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So how do you determine the perfect sink style for your space? Which of the three is best? Well, it all boils down to your preferred aesthetic. A countertop with a built-in sink crafted out of the same material as its surround makes for quite an impactful appearance. If you're not into a stainless steel basin clashing with your gorgeous marble countertops then an integrated sink might be your best bet. However, there is a bit more to consider before committing to the seamless look, so we set out to uncover all of the pros and cons. Here's what we found.
On the Upside ...
1. You can design them using trendy materials.
From concrete to terrazzo to marble and stainless steel, integrated sinks can be fabricated using an amazing array of materials that will fit any style or space. And that's before you factor in matte, gloss, and antique finishes. Here's your opportunity to make a statement and create an undeniable focal point.
2. You can customize them to match your style.
An integrated design allows for complete personalization like this cool industrial bathroom designed by Aamodt / Plumb. The options are seemingly endless — you can choose from a variety of materials, colors, shapes, sizes, features, and even bowl styles.
3. You don't have to stress over mixing and matching.
Instead of selecting a separate countertop and sink, an integrated setup streamlines the remodeling process. Choose one and you're done! Bonus points for the fact that you can even coordinate with your backsplash or appliances, like this swoon-worthy spot designed by architect Joseph Dirand.
4. Cleanup is a breeze.
Because of the single-piece construction, cleaning is a breeze, which means you can forget food getting stuck in the crevices and water spilling down into the crease of the overmount. Take for example this stainless steel countertop and integrated sink, which requires little more than a quick wipe-down after a load of dishes. Talk about easy maintenance.
5. They result in a seamless finish.
Love a streamlined and minimalist setup? Consider an integrated sink — where the basin and countertop are made of the same material — your dream composition. Cue this polished concrete showstopper from Studio McGee, which lends a rich and luxurious vibe to an otherwise modestly decked scheme. Double down on the look by opting for a wall-mounted or floating vanity, which will allow you to show off your colorful pipework, too.
On the Downside ...
1. They can be fairly expensive.
How stunning is this kitchen? Designed by Canadian architects Scott & Scott, the sink, drainboard, and countertop are all carved from a single piece of marble. It's pure luxury — with a price tag to match. Between construction and installation, a project like this can be a real budget-buster. And don't forget the cost of sealing your stone, too.
2. Replacing them is a difficult process.
Let's say you have quartz countertops and a cast-iron basin. At some point, you decide, you'd rather swap it out for a farmhouse sink. Not a problem — unless everything is integrated, at which point you're not doing a replacement, but rather a renovation. Similarly enough, if at any point you damage the sink or neighboring counter space, you'll be forced to restore (and repurchase) the entire setup.
3. You might end up with permanent stains.
It's important to do your research. How will the material that you're considering patina over time? Will it be susceptible to scratches and stains? Some materials, like the marble in this kitchen designed by Rose Uniacke, are more porous than other types of stone so there is a higher likelihood it will stain. If you're the type of cook whose sink is no stranger to red wine and tomato sauce, you might want to consider an alternative material.
Sold on the concept? Here are a few integrated sinks to consider.
1. Best for a Classic Look: Kohler Ceramic/Impressions 49-inch Rectangular Vanity-Top Bathroom Sink, $824
Kohler's integrated vanity top and sink will make for a design-forward addition to your bath. Featuring a rectangular basin with an overflow drain, its ceramic composition can be seamlessly integrated into just about any scheme. Available in eight varied colorways, you can easily customize the piece to better fit your space.
2. Best for Small Space-Dwellers: Morris Concrete Design Small Bathroom Concrete Sink, $691.92
Concrete is the sort of material that requires little else on the decor front — save for a lustrous, warm metal faucet for contrast, of course. For that reason, it makes a prime material for an integrated sink and this bespoke handmade version from Morris Concrete Design is all the proof we need. Despite its petite size, it certainly holds nothing back on the style front.
3. Best for Shared Bathrooms: Pottery Works 63-inch Bego Marble Floating Double Sink, $1,249
This integrated double sink is what bathroom dreams were made of. Crafted from hand-sculpted, high-quality marble flaunting gray veining, this option is pure sophistication. Mount it on the wall or set it atop a vanity cabinet — either way, it's bound to make a statement.
4. Best for Industrial Gourmet Kitchens: Elkay Lustertone Classic Single Bowl Sink Top, $1,301.05
A stainless steel, integrated sink is a no-brainer for the kitchen, especially if you're an avid cook or prone to messes. Easy to clean and sleek by design, this versatile unit can be mounted on a variety of surfaces. That said, we love the idea of contrasting the metal with cabinetry that comes in an equally cool tone such as forest green or a rich blue.
5. Best for a Modern Finish: Laviva 60-inch Single Bathroom Vanity Top, $1,116.75
Easy to maintain and even easier on the eyes, this stunning vanity top from Laviva is as effortlessly cool as it gets. Available in black or white, the solid surface features a wide, rectangular basin and a high grit pad, which makes it all the less susceptible to stains and scuff marks.
6. Best for Rustic Flair: Native Trails Palomar 36.5-inch Single Bathroom Vanity Top with Sink, $972
Made from an ingenious combo of cement and jute (to warrant a lighter weight), this integrated sink is handcrafted and features a unique basin that is statement-worthy on its own. Sealed with a proprietary material, the surface is protected from stains, cracks, and scratches, so you can relish in your investment sans any fear.