Is a Bathroom Vessel Sink Right for you?

Posted by Linda Merrill | Jan 01, 2011
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Vessel sinks can be beautiful and sculptural additions to a bathroom design. Generally speaking, a vessel sink is a simple bowl that sits on top of a counter. They come in many materials, such as glass, pottery, stone and metal. They are often used in contemporary settings, but they can certainly work with more traditional design styles as well.

glass vessel sink
Vessel sinks come in all types of materials, including glass.

There are some practical issues to deal with, however, and bathroom vessel sinks aren’t right for everyone. Here’s a tip sheet of things to keep in mind:

Location, Location, Location

It’s always about location. A vessel sink will nearly always work nicely in a small powder room that isn’t used for more than hand washing. If you’re considering one for your master bathroom or a family bathroom, consider how it will be used. A larger, deeper bowl will be more practical when used for activities like hand-washing clothes so the steeper walls will reduce splashing. However, if you’re used to washing your hair in the bathroom sink, you may have to switch to the kitchen sink.

hand washing sink
Vessel sinks work well in small bathrooms where the primary use is hand washing.

Consider the Height

Of course, this is an important factor in any sink selection, but it’s especially important when installing a vessel sink. Make sure that you match the sink with a base or counter of appropriate height. The taller the user, the higher you will want the sink to sit. As with any design decision, scale and proportion are very important. The vessel should look like it’s sitting naturally on the counter, as if it’s not actually attached.

double vessel sinks
Proportion is important: The sink should look natural on the counter.

Keeping Them Clean

One of the drawbacks to bathroom vessel sinks is that there is more surface space to keep clean. Both the outside and inside of the sink must be cleaned, and there is usually more counter surface space as well. Aside from splashing, water dripping when reaching for the faucet knobs, soap dish, soap dispenser, or hand towel are big considerations. The closer these items are to the sink, the cleaner the surround will stay.

sink, soap and towel
Keep the soap and towels close to the sink to minimize dripping on the surround.

Faucet Fixtures

Since vessel sinks are generally higher than standard under mount sinks, installation of the faucet fixtures needs to be carefully considered. Your choice is either to use a countertop-mounted faucet that has a crane neck, or a wall-mounted faucet set that protrudes from the wall above the sink with a straight lever faucet, where the lever is mounted to the spout.

wall mounted faucet
A wall-mounted faucet works well with bathroom vessel sinks.

Drainage

Finally, sink drainage is a very important feature. You will want to install a specialized vessel sink drain and not a standard drain set. Sink drains that are made to be used with vessel sinks include features to prevent air lock and slow drainage, and they provide overflow protection.

showstopping vessel sink
Bathroom vessel sinks add distinction to your home.

Because they are not in wide use, bathroom vessel sinks can be real showstoppers. There is so much room for creativity in their design and installation that anyone looking to create a beautiful bathroom should consider installing one. Just keep in mind the tips above when deciding if it’s the right choice for your specific needs.

If you're not sure yet whether you want a bathroom vessel sink, consider vanity sink options. The layout of your bathroom might influence which type of sink works best. For the best vessel sink installation, it's always good to consult with a professional plumber.

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