In Home Design

Sinks in Kitchen Islands: Pros and Cons

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A sink in the kitchen island can be a god-send if done correctly. But you shouldn’t rush into putting one in your home without thinking the process through. What works in your friend’s kitchen may not work in yours. Carefully consider the pros and cons of putting in a kitchen island sink before you do so.

Pros and Cons of Putting a Sink in a Kitchen Island

There are 5 significant benefits and 5 significant problems to putting in a kitchen island sink. When you are considering this home improvement project, watch your kitchen habits for a few weeks to see how you and your family use the kitchen.

5 Pros of a Kitchen Island Sink

sink in kitchen island

Improved Kitchen Zones

The first major benefit to putting a sink in the kitchen island is to improve your kitchen zones. You want to keep your main workspace, including the sink, in as small of a space as possible so that everything is easily reached.

If you have a stretched out workspace, common in U-shaped kitchens or in linear kitchens, you could easily put the sink within a closer reach by putting a sink in the island. This is one of the most common reasons to consider this as a project.

Can Provide Better Accessibility

If you need to consider the accessibility of the sink, for example in an ADA kitchen for a handicapped user, a sink in the kitchen island could be a potential benefit. A sink in the island could give the user a sink closer to a countertop workspace or even closer to the dishwasher.

Increases Kitchen Capacity

By using your kitchen island as a designated workspace, you can easily increase the capacity of chefs in the kitchen. After all, wouldn’t it be nice if someone would help you make dinner every once in a while? A sink in the kitchen island allows somebody to use the sink to wash or prep while another person can be at the stove.

Makes a Design Statement

A very common use for a kitchen island sink is as a design statement. The kitchen definitely draws most of the attention and first impressions when guests enter the kitchen. Because of this, a kitchen island sink allows the sink and faucet hardware to shine as a statement. There’s something about a large, statement faucet with a high arch or an industrial pull-down mechanism.

kitchen island sink design

Better Lighting Usually

It is easier to light a kitchen island sink than it is to put task lighting on a sink along the perimeter. Typically, a perimeter sink is lit only from a single light directly above and this means you will deal with a lot of shadows when using it. 

On the island, the kitchen sink is typically lit from a couple of island pendants, the general room lighting, and possibly even more task lighting. WIth lighting on all sides, it’s easier for the chef to see what they are doing.

5 Cons of a Kitchen Island Sink

Requires a Larger Island

Unfortunately, you shouldn’t consider cramming a sink into an island that is smaller. So if you can’t fit a large island, this really isn’t a project for you. To comfortably accommodate the kitchen island sink, you really need an island that is 5-7 feet long and 3-4 feet wide at minimum.

Takes Away Entertainment Space

Especially for cooks used to entertaining large groups of people, they may miss the space in the kitchen that a large island would take up. A sink in the island makes the island a utilitarian space rather than just a meeting space. Some guests may not appreciate being sprayed while you are using the sink.

Needs to be Kept Clear and Clean

One of the biggest problems with a sink in the kitchen island is that it needs to be kept clear and clean. The same thing that makes it an excellent decoration piece, drawing everybody’s first glance and attention, means that any dirty dishes or stains are front and center.

Make sure to keep your kitchen island sink clean and clear

Difficult to Place with Dishwasher

It is incredibly difficult to balance a kitchen island sink with the dishwasher in most kitchen layouts. You want the dishwasher to be within a few feet of the sink. 

But if you put the dishwasher behind the sink, along the perimeter, the user will need to turn around over and over. And most kitchen islands are not large enough to accommodate both the dishwasher and a sink.

New/Additional Plumbing Usually Required

For homeowners putting a sink in the kitchen island, they should consider the plumbing requirements. This project requires new and rerouted plumbing compared to the old kitchen layout. This means that it is expensive because there will be additional materials and labor in order to make a sink in the island a reality.

Where to Place a Sink in a Kitchen Island

If everything goes well for you and you’ve decided to go ahead and put a sink in the kitchen island, you need to determine where you will put it. After all, you can choose from a few different locations and each will be more or less useful depending on your usage habits.

Center of the Island

sink in center of island

A sink in the center of a kitchen island is the most common placement option. This classic option typically allows for workspaces on either side and on the back side of the sink. The center location is usually paired with barstools and a little kitchen eat-in area. For most homeowners, this is a prime location choice for their kitchen island sink.

Off Center (helps divide kitchen into “zones”)

sink offsetter in kitchen island

Less commonly, you may decide to put your new kitchen sink in a slightly off center location. This is especially helpful if you want to divide your kitchen into zones and to demarcate that with the kitchen island sink.

For example, you can use this placement to put the wash prep section of the kitchen on one end of the kitchen and the serving and storage side on the other end of the kitchen. In this case, the sink, dishwasher, and workspace would be on one side. On the other would be the stove, workspace, and fridge.

End of the Island

sink at end of kitchen island

An incredibly unusual spot for a sink in the kitchen island is at the end of the island. This is useful if your kitchen layout is one where the kitchen island is turned from the main line of the kitchen. Especially to keep the sink close to the dishwasher, stove, and fridge.

Why do People put a Sink in a Kitchen Island

There are a lot of reasons why people may consider a kitchen island sink. With kitchens getting larger by the year and kitchen islands becoming more and more popular, this is becoming a popular home improvement project among Americans.

More Functional Layout

The major reason to put a sink in the island is to provide a more functional layout to the kitchen. This is probably the first reason people think of when choosing a project like this. However, since there are a lot of ways to improve the layout of a kitchen, an island sink also gives a sense of luxury.

There isn’t a Window in the Kitchen

Without a window in the kitchen, there is no reason to limit where the kitchen sink goes. For decades, the kitchen sink was placed right beneath the window so that the person cleaning up has a good view while using the sink. But for people without a kitchen window, this is a non-factor and they are free to place the sink wherever they want.

Better Family View

For families with young children especially, a kitchen island sink provides a much better family view. With a sink in the island, the chef can keep an eye on the kids when they’re young or on the party during the Superbowl. And this way, they can also participate in the family get together while doing the cooking or the clean up.

Provides a Social Center of the Kitchen

social center of the kitchen

A kitchen island provides a perfect social center for any get together. A sink in the island lets the conversation and party continue even when there is work to be done in the kitchen. And the cleanup can be done slightly easier since guests can set dishes and refuse directly next to the sink.

Lack of Wall Counter Space

Some kitchens unfortunately have a lack of counter space along the wall. Especially smaller galley kitchens or linear kitchens, there can be a surprising lack of counter space. If you have this issue, it’s a tantalizing prospect to free up some counter space by putting the sink in the island instead.

What to Consider When Installing a Sink in a Kitchen Island

You can really make a kitchen island sink into a statement piece along with making it incredibly useful. Finish off your project by putting the finishing touches on your kitchen layout and interior design.

Consider a Statement Faucet

You should definitely consider spending a little extra on a statement faucet if you are putting a sink in the island. Since this area has such a major impact on the first impression of a kitchen, a statement faucet is well worth it.

Include Space Around Your Sink

Definitely make sure that you include enough space around your new island sink. If your entire kitchen island is taken up by your sink, it’s going to look incredibly strange and it’s not going to be as useful. In general, the bigger the island, the better the sink will do in it.

Make sure to include workspace around your new sink

Make Sure the Sink isn’t Too Far Away

While a kitchen island sink can provide you a better layout and work triangle, make sure that the new sink isn’t too far away from the main hub of the kitchen. For the most part, you can keep the sink close to the workspace by choosing the right spot in the island.

You may Need a Second Sink

Depending on your kitchen layout with your new island sink, you may need to consider adding a second sink to the area. Then you can even more easily make sure that the sink is accessible and in the spot you need it while working in the kitchen.

Conclusion

Many people are now considering adding a sink to their kitchen island in their next remodel. Some people want it for a statement piece in their interior design while others want it for functionality. Just make sure that you carefully consider the pros and cons of a kitchen island sink before planning it in your next remodel.