How To Choose A Vessel Sink & Faucet

How to Choose a Vessel Sink & Faucet - Kraus Natura Matte White Round Vessel Bathroom Sink How to Choose a Vessel Sink & Faucet - Kraus Natura Matte White Round Vessel Bathroom Sink

If you’re looking to upgrade your bathroom fixtures, a vessel sink is a great option that bridges both old-world elegance and modern luxury. These sinks, which sit independent of the vanity, can actually work well with almost any design style you choose. 

What Types Of Faucets Are Best With Vessel Sinks? 

Vessel sinks are freestanding sinks that are placed atop your bathroom vanity.

These sinks can come in a variety of sizes, and shapes. Some are round and petite, while others are square and wide, like a farm sink. This style was inspired by the old-world “wash basins” that used to be typical in a family home. Today, you can bring that touch of history into your own design. 

When you’re considering a vessel sink, you do need to consider the height and depth of it. First, you need to actually measure the depth inside the bowl, as well as the height of the faucet itself. This is because the spout needs to sit at a comfortable distance above the bowl, and given that it is suspended higher than a traditional sink, it’s possible that some faucets may simply be too short to accommodate a vessel sink.

A good rule of thumb is this: the deeper the basin, the higher the arch of the faucet should be. Angled faucets are also ideal, as they minimize the potential for splashing. Another great option is to look into wall-mounted faucets that sit above the sink. 

While there are no faucets you technically cannot use with a vessel sink, it won’t function unless the faucet is shaped in a way that would accommodate use in the basin. 

Related: The 10 Types of Bathroom Faucets 


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Where Do Vessel Sinks And Faucets Usually Go?

Though they can technically fit in any room of your home, vessel sinks are typically found in bathrooms or wash spaces. 

This is mostly because vessel sinks are largely an aesthetic choice. They wouldn’t be ideal in a laundry room, as you’d need a much larger space to clean and wash. They also wouldn’t be ideal for a kitchen, as you’d need a deeper and wider basin in order to fit your dishes, pots, and pans.

However, vessel sinks are ideal for the bathroom because they essentially offer the basic functions that you’d need in a bathroom, which is enough space to clean your hands, and perhaps do some minimal washing. 

It’s common to see vessel sinks on slightly larger vanities, as they do take up more room than a traditional option. However, as vessel sinks come in different sizes, you can also potentially fit them in a smaller bathroom, particularly if it is situated in the corner. 

Related: How To Pick The Perfect Corner Sink Based On Your Bathroom Size 


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Types Of Vessel Sink Finishes

Like any fixture or appliance, there are a variety of different finishes you can choose from to suit your design needs.

Porcelain

Tried-and-true, this finish will be as durable as it is timeless. Plus, you’ll be able to adjust other design elements in the bathroom without having to purchase an entirely new sink.

Stone

This is one of the more popular styles for vessel sinks and is most commonly found in high-end spaces like spas or hotels. A stone vessel sink can either come in a natural cut, appearing as though it was carved right from nature or a more finished design that’s polished.

Copper

To make even more of a statement, a copper sink is another great choice. While it might require a bit more coordination as the other fixtures and hardware in your bathroom will need to match, copper is stylish and modern. 

Related: Best Kitchen Sink Materials: Pros & Cons Of The 7 Types Of Materials


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The Two Ways To Install Vessel Sinks  

There are actually two versions of a vessel sink that you can purchase. Your choice will be dependent on preference. According to The Spruce, they are as follows: 

  • Above-counter installation: The vessel sink basin rests completely on top of the counter or vanity. When people think of vessel sinks, this is the version they usually have in mind. After a drain hole of 1 5/8" to 1 3/4" is drilled, no additional cutting of the countertop is required.
  • Recessed installation: Recessed installation allows for greater basin stability. A hole greater than the diameter of the drain hole, but smaller than the sink diameter, is cut into the countertop. This allows the sink basin to rest about half-way down.

Are Vessel Sinks Still Popular?

Though you may have recently seen them trending in design magazines and on Instagram, the timeliness of a trend is always something important to consider. According to experts, they might be phasing out due to practicality. 

Jana Valdez who, with her husband Armando, owns Haven Design and Construction, shares with Chron.com: “These sinks, which sit on top of the counter or are partially recessed, are quickly losing their popularity. When they first arrived, they were seen as a dramatic addition to the bathroom, but their shortcomings soon became apparent. They’re more difficult to clean than an under-mount sink, tend to be ‘splashier’ than more traditional sinks and their flared side take up more counter space than traditional sinks,” she shared. “We’re still seeing them in powder rooms that don’t get as much use, especially for homeowners who want something dramatic to impress visitors.”

The Family Handyman seems to agree, citing issues like imminent overflow, being tough for kids to navigate, and a challenging cleanup process. “Vessel sinks haven’t completely lost their popularity and are still a trendy choice for remodels and new builds. This seems to be a point of contention among designers and consumers alike but if you’re the type to play it safe in home design, we recommend a more traditional under-mount sink,” he shared.

Lastly, The Spruce reported that back in 2013,  Lauren Hunter of Remodeling polled designers, asking, "True or false. Vessel sinks were just a fad," the answer was a resounding "True!" 

“So, at least from the perspective of taste-makers, vessel sinks are very dated and are not being installed in the numbers they were in the early 2000s,” they explained. “According to industry professionals, vessel sinks functionally never worked well. Aesthetically, they were good for that initial moment of surprise, but little else. But homeowners are free to follow their tastes, and if a vessel sink is part of your tastes—go for it.”


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What Are The Pros And Cons?

Despite some reservations, that doesn’t mean a vessel sink isn’t still the perfect option for you. 

If you’re still not sure where you stand, you might want to consider the advice of a few more experts. In this case, KingstonBrass.com shares that the following should all be considered before you dive into your new vessel sink:

The Pros

  • Style — Probably the biggest plus of a vessel sink is its “wow factor.” Anyone can add panache to their bathroom for relatively little money.
  • Installation — Avoid costly and difficult sink cut-outs. You need only one hole cut out for the drain pipe.
  • Flexibility — Because vessel sinks are not stuck in place (as drop-in sinks are), they can be changed out fairly easily.
  • Increased Counter Space — You can gain a bit of extra counter room because the vessel sink basin takes up less area than recessed sinks.

The Cons

  • Dated —  Some designers consider vessel sinks to be impractical, verging on gimmicky. Has the fad come and gone already?
  • Durability — Because of the exposed edges of the basin, they are prone to chipping and breakage.
  • Stability — Vessel sinks are secured only at one point, rather than the entire perimeter. A recessed vessel sink, which sinks about half-way into the vanity but not as far as a drop-in sink, adds greater stability.
  • Cleaning — Difficult to clean around the area where the vessel sink basin meets the vanity or countertop.
  • Overflow  — Vessel sinks do not come with overflow relief drains.
  • Higher — The higher rim can be an issue for shorter folks.

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The Final Verdict

Vessel sinks are statement pieces that have become an integral part of home design over the past few decades. Whether they’re going to be in style for a long time, or are phasing out gradually matters not. (Think about how many shag carpets were installed past their heyday — you can have the sink you want, too.) 

Though they might not be the best option for those who need ample sink space, have kids in the house, or find themselves wanting a style that will become more appealing with time, vessel sinks are incredibly popular for a reason: they are stylish, interesting, and certainly become the focal point of any bathroom design.