The sink – the highlight of the kitchen
Whether it’s cleaning dishes, scraping baking trays or washing vegetables, the sink is undoubtedly the most frequently used area of any kitchen. Therefore, the basin must be robust enough for an entire range of jobs – and look good at the same time. Here is an overview of the aspects you need to consider when choosing a kitchen sink.
A wide range of materials
- Stainless steel remains the material of choice. It is rustproof and easy to clean, but prone to surface scratches over time. Sinks made of structured stainless steel are more durable, however, and show fewer signs of wear and tear.
- Over the last few years, granite sinks have become increasingly popular and have nearly surpassed stainless steel sinks in the popularity stakes. It is a common misconception that granite sinks are made of natural granite stone. In fact, they are manufactured from a composite material comprised of granite stone dust and acrylic resins. This mixture provides them with an extremely hard and scratch-resistant surface, while retaining a stone-like feel.
- Ceramic sinks can often be seen in Scandinavian-style farmhouse kitchens, and boast a substantial and solid look that exudes an air of nostalgia. Weighing up to 50 kg, ceramic sinks need to be fitted by an expert. This kiln-fired material is extremely scratch and stain resistant, but somewhat susceptible to chipping.
Alongside the material, the way the sink is installed also contributes to the looks and ease of maintenance. The conventional installation method is top-mounting, where the sink is simply installed into a cut-out in the worktop. However, one disadvantage of this mounting method is that dirt can accumulate between the worktop and the rim of the sink. Flush-mounted sinks are easier to clean and definitely have a more elegant appearance. Alternatively, sinks without a draining board can be installed undermount from below the worktop, which also simplifies the cleaning process.
Every shape and size
Of course, the shape of the sink needs to match the design of the kitchen. However, as the place where much of the work in the kitchen is done, practicality is also vital. If space is at a premium, for example, a circular sink may be the best choice, despite the fact that it can’t be used to soak a baking tray. Before choosing a sink, it is therefore a good idea to consider what you will use it for. There’s an enormous number of shapes and sizes – round sinks, rectangular sinks, corner units, single basins, double or triple basins, space-saving models and jumbo versions.
A touch of colour
Modern sinks stand out in terms of colour as well, with granite and ceramic models available in a huge range of shades. This means kitchens can be designed tone-in-tone or using sharply contrasting colours. Sandy or earthy shades are particularly popular at the moment, just as are highly contrasting black or white shades.
Sink and tap – inseparable kitchen companions
Every kitchen sink needs a tap. For example, in order to easily clean pots and pans, along with many other everyday tasks, you need taps with a high spout and/or a pull-out spray nozzle. Sensor-controlled taps are also particularly useful, and help you avoid making a mess even when your fingers are covered in flour or dough. Taps offering more unusual features are available as well: Some models dispense sparkling water at the touch of a button, or provide you with boiling water for making tea or sterilising the baby’s bottle.
There’s a wide range of add-ons for modern sinks, making many kitchen tasks that little bit easier – from precisely fitting, over-the-sink cutting boards or colanders right through to integrated bowls for organic waste that fit onto the waste sorting system in the sink cabinet. Where taps are installed in front of windows, there are models that can pushed down into the worktop or folded over to allow inward opening.
For those who want to find out more about contemporary kitchen design, up-to-date information from the Arbeitsgemeinschaft Die Moderne Küche e.V. – AMK (the Modern Kitchen working group) is available here.