The black and white trend is the most overwhelmingly repetitive trend I have ever seen in my career.
And I guess it’s because white spaces are so photogenic.
Especially when they are enhanced by filters that make it look like all we have to do is replace all our previously grey or gold walls with stark white out-of-the-can paint and our homes will look like all the fabulously blown out fresh rooms we’re seeing all over Pinterest and Instagram.
And many of us fall for it. Then we try to replicate it at home, we often end up thinking, where did it go wrong?
A curious trend
Anyway, a micro trend that has emerged quite suddenly among my eDesign clients is a turning up of noses at the tried and true work horse of the kitchen, the stainless steel sink.
And I’m curious to know what you think about it.
My thinking is that while I agree that the standard entry level drop in stainless sink lacks refinement (but is very functional for a loooong time if that’s what your budget allows), an under-mount stainless sink is always a timeless choice.
There is nothing at all wrong with porcelain sinks, the sudden objects of desire, either. They are pretty when they integrate colour-wise with the countertop. But they are certainly an upgrade in terms of cost and installation.
Are porcelain sinks worth the additional cost?
And since I advise all my clients ALL the time that it’s important to reserve room in your budget for the details that really MATTER and have impact on the overall look and feel of the space, in a kitchen, think focal point items like the hood fan and decorative lighting, and in any room, DECORATING and STYLING, the humble sink is NOT, in my opinion, the detail to break the bank on.
So while a porcelain sink might be on your wish list, consider first whether that extra few hundred bucks might better be spent having a custom hood fan installed, or purchasing that beautiful runner rug to cozy up your kitchen, or the gorgeous enamelware you can display and use for years to come.
When are they the right choice?
If you don’t have a stitch of stainless steel in your kitchen, say an enamelled stove and panel integrated appliances, ie. a highly custom look, that’s when it would make more sense to choose a porcelain sink that perfectly matches your countertop.
And if you’re going for a very traditional kitchen, one that looks historic and rustic like a true farmhouse kitchen, stainless steel will look too modern in that context, and you’re probably going to choose an apron front sink anyway.
When a stainless sink works best
But if you do have versatile stainless appliances, there is nothing wrong with continuing with a classic stainless sink to relate. Especially if there isn’t a sink that matches the gradation of white you’re using in your kitchen.
Like my kitchen which is off-white. Therefore, the stainless sink is perfect (below).
Black sinks belong with black countertops
If I can save you from the worst mistake you can make choosing a sink for your kitchen. DON’T choose a black sink if you have white or light countertops. For the same reason it’s not a good idea to choose black appliances for a white kitchen (without a black countertop). The black will create jarring black holes that look like knocked out teeth in your otherwise pretty and airy kitchen. Stick to stainless or white.
A black sink belongs in a black countertop, the end. This one below is actually soapstone, so beautiful! But a black porcelain sink works well in a black or charcoal countertop too.
So a stainless sink in my mind is like subway tile, it might not be the newest thing on the horizon with the appeal of the NEW, but it will never be the wrong choice in an incredibly broad range of situations.
That’s what I think, but over to you my lovelies, I’m more curious to know, are YOU currently in love with porcelain sinks and feeling like a stainless sink is a bit been there, done that? Do you think it would be a worthwhile upgrade to your kitchen?
I’d love to hear from you!
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Do Kitchen Appliances Realy Need to Match
Could a Scandinavian Eat-In Kitchen Be for You?
Stainless for me, please. White sinks can stain and chip. You shouldn’t have to be that careful about… a sink.
I’ve never had a white sink chip. In all honesty, I am probably more careful with it than I would be if I had stainless, though. I simply don’t like stainless.
I have most definitely had a white sink that chipped.
Completely agree. I’ve had two chip and I was very careful. My mother had one and ended up putting those ugly rubber mats on hers not only to prevent further chips, but also to prevent breaking delicate dishes or china on the sink, because they have no “give” like a stainless one does. No thank you! I love how I can wash up in my stainless sink without worrying about chips to the sink OR breaking dishes! One less thing to baby in the kitchen.
Also, the quality of the stainless matters a LOT. Higher quality /thickness steel and manufacture make a huge difference. I ended up getting a high-quality farmhouse stainless sink, and it was never noisy and it was easy to maintain.
Can you share the brand you purchased?
This is where I feel the battle over stainless sinks should be fought! The cheaper (not just the super cheap, some pricier ones too) stainless sinks use a thinner gauge of steel and have no insulation applied to the underside. Everything bangs, rattles, and echoes loudly. Including just running the water. My current sink is this way, the people we bought the house from did everything – I mean *everything*- the absolute cheapest way possible, sometimes not even to code! It’s awful and I hate the sink very much. However, when we gut the kitchen and start over we will get another stainless sink. However, I will be reading the spec sheets very carefully. We will get one that is thicker steel and either has insulation already applied or comes with an install kit that is ready for our contractor to spray insulate it. I have worked in kitchens with insulated, thick, stainless steel sinks and they can be just as quiet as a porcelain or stone sink. That is what I want.
And just to add, I grew up with a porcelain sink that was part of an integrated cabinet unit with the porcelain drain boards on either side with metal cabinets below, the 50s & 60s units people are paying top dollar for now as they mix decades in an eclectic, upscale style. It was wonderful, a double sink with lots of width for each sink and plenty of depth too. We never had a problem with chipping, I sometimes wonder if porcelain today isn’t fired the same. All that to say: I’m a fan of porcelain sinks, I’m not just hating on them without any familiarity with them.
I have had a white cast iron sink and it showed every mark and scratch, and was a pain to keep looking clean and my mom had a biscuit colored porcelain sink and it was also a pain to keep looking good and frequently just looked rather dirty with marks and scratches all the time. I will choose a stainless steel sink from now on. Lesson learned for me.
enameled cast iron shows almost as much as stainless. Fireclay is the most durable and forgiving. no black streaks, no waterspots and no chipping
Can not agree with everyone more. They are beautiful but the maintenance on them is too much. My mom wanted nothing more than a white porcelain sink to go with her all white kitchen in her new build in the 90s. She finally replaced the stainless with a porcelain. It didn’t take long for her to wish she hadn’t done it. It was never white unless she scrubbed it and the chipping was so disappointing. My dad patched it for her multiple times. After 20 years with the porcelain it has finally been switched back to stainless. A single basin, her final request. A sink is a work horse not something to be treated gingerly.
Stainless steel. Function first and foremost and nothing beats stainless steel for hardwearing and easy to maintain.
Totally agree! Function first for me for such a workhorse element.
I’ve just ordered a new stainless workstation sink! I’m SO excited, and I don’t even cook that much! The new white sinks are lovely, but feel too farmhouse for my kitchen. Plus I still remember cleaning my old porcelain sink with Comet to remove all the smudges and silverware marks. I do have stainless appliances and dark ‘walnut’ stained cabinets, so stainless is consistent for my kitchen.
Use Bon-Ami instead of Comet. Comet wears away the beautiful shine on a porcelain tub or sink. Know this from first hand experience.
Yes! Bon Ami is what they use on the chrome of restored cars to clean without scratches.
I am never without Bon Ami in my kitchen for my stainless/aluminum core pots and pans.
Yes! Or Bar Keepers Friend.
Better yet, magic erasers or a soft scrub liquid cleanser. Also, these two products are all you should use on acrylic or fiberglass tubs, never a powdered cleanser, if you want your finishes to last.
I put one of these in a few months ago & love it. A bit more of an investment, but well worth it.
I have a black composite overmount sink on grey granite countertops in my kitchen. It was installed by previous owners, and its OK. There’s a little bit of crazing at the bottom, and I do feel I have to be more careful than with a stainless steel sink, which I would have preferred. But I’m happy with the kitchen overall and don’t want to replace something that’s functional.
We are doing a kitchen redo/refresh on a holiday cottage. The white melamine cabinets are falling apart (probably installed when the house was built), and we are replacing them. I am actually going to reuse the small, stainless steel overmount sink. It’s functional and while the undermount sinks are prettier I’ve heard there can be issues with undermounts and melamine (which we are using again). The microwave and range are stainless, so it won’t look out of place. I want to put in pretty blinds and a runner, which I think will be noticeable than the sink. We don’t want to spend more than we have to, and I don’t think it will make a difference at resale, which will hopefully only be many years into the future anyway. I’m just excited to have a more functional kitchen.
I will be using high pressure laminate for my countertops and found a stainless steel sink specifically for use as an undermount for high pressure laminate counters. Check out Karran Edge Sinks. The Formica website references this brand of undermount sink.
There is the “Fireclay” brand of farmhouse sinks. They don’t have metal underneath and are fired at such high temperatures that they are harder to chip. If they do chip, the color goes throughout and makes it less noticeable. They are very heavy and must be properly installed though.
There are also stainless farmhouse sinks. I could go with either, as song as it’s in the farmhouse form.
I want a farmhouse sink because I have a major back problem. With a farmhouse sink, I can stand right up against the sink and hold heavy pots and pans closer to my body and feel less strain on my back. The inset sinks cause me to have to hold heavy pots out from my body and give me a lot of pain.
Wanted to add, the Fireclay sinks are supposed to be harder to stain also.
I installed an undermount white porcelain sink 20 years ago. My ovens were white and the DW and refrigerator were paneled white to match the cabinets. The sink still looks brand new, and I clean it weekly.
Recently I replaced my refrigerator and wall ovens with stainless. I am not happy with them, impossible to keep “unsmudged”. My previous stainless sinks were the same, always spotty.
So I vote porcelain unless you want a contemporary kitchen.
Smudges on stainless are a brand problem, in my opinion. I had a Frigidaire refrigerator in my last house, and the smudges were constant. I have a Kitchen Aid refrigerator now, and it never smudges. I wipe it off when I do other appliances but not because it needs it. There are also good stainless cleaners that help keep them smudge-free.
I had a whole suite of Kitchen Aid appliances when we moved into our year-old house. I could not keep the smudges off the DW, no matter the product I used. The refrigerator also smudges, but can be cleaned with anti bacterial wipes. Why the difference?🤷♀️🤷♀️🤷♀️
There is stainless and there is smudge-resistant stainless. Usually it’s listed as such.
I don’t like stainless sinks, not because they are “out” but because they are hard to keep pristine looking. They show water spots and are noisy. I know they are hard wearing, and like most commercial inspired kitchen items, are certainly classic. They are perfectly fine for someone else.
Black sinks are similarly challenging to keep clean (and can tilt 80s imho, not in a good way). Soapstone sinks aren’t truly black, and I find the texture + veining is quite forgiving. I love mine and the way it’s integrates into the countertop, but it is soft, so not for everyone.
I also have a fireclay, apron front sink in a kitchen like the one you describe — with an enamel range, integrated appliances, in a historic house. With a grid on the bottom, it’s my favorite to use. It doesn’t stain, and is super easy to keep clean. I also love having a super deep single basin for cleaning large pans that don’t fit in the dishwasher. They are rumored to craze on occasion, but that hasn’t happened to mine (yet), and I don’t care if it does, since that goes with the look of my kitchen.
Stainless for the win! I’m on board with others comments. Stain resistant, and stainless doesn’t chip! I’ve seen so so many chipped porcelain sinks. No thank you. Also, porcelain sinks lend themselves to breakables— Fav glasses, bowls-in pieces etc. Stainless is my choice and will always be my favorite. I don’t want high maintenance when it comes to the workhorse of the home.
I just moved from a place with a porcelain sink to a place with stainless and stainless is so much easier and cleaner. My porcelain sink was a mess and so hard to keep clean. So much work to remove scratches and there were scratches every time you washed a pan or a cookie sheet. And it collected gunk. The stainless gets polished with oil and requires less upkeep and has made my life so much easier. I’ll never go back.
What if your appliances are black stainless steel? How should they relate to the timeless sink,countertop, etc?
I have a hammered copper sink, in a classic traditional kitchen, and LOVE it. Where does that fit into the scheme?
Love how there seems to always be a new topic for you to advise us on classic and timeless. Thank you🥰
I detest stainless. It always looks dirty and cheap. If you do not have an extra couple of minutes a week to clean your porcelain sink with Gel Gloss (or similar product) along with a sink mat to prevent scratching (which honestly you should be using in any kitchen sink) then get stainless as it will be cheaper to replace when it looks abused. As far as chipping get a good grade porcelain sink not the cheapest. I have used Kohler in the past with no chipping to report.
I have never had to replace a stainless sink due to wear. They’re easy to clean after dishes are done by using the dish brush with soap and spraying it down, then periodically cleaning it with baking soda. I’ve had porcelain in the past, and it was fine, but I like the workhorse capability of the stainless sink. Mine never look “abused” or “dirty.” I think what is disgusting is wet sink mats still in the sink when it is not in use. Wipe down the sink so that it is dry and it looks great, no matter what kind of sink you have.
If stainless sinks were wiped down so that they were dry they wouldn’t have water spots either. I have a cheap stainless sink installed by a previous owner, you can bet your last dollar it isn’t the anti-smudge stainless. I used to hate all the spots that were on it all the time looking like I didn’t keep my kitchen clean. I grew up with porcelain (white) so didn’t know what to do. After doing dishes I used to wash the sink and rinse out the soap, then leave – thinking I was done. Luckily, I have a friend who knows lots more than me. She told me since the sink is clean anyway, just grab a dry, clean rag from the drawer and wipe down the sink to remove most all the water droplets and you won’t have those spots. She was absolutely right. And since I’m using a clean rag on a clean sink, I hang it to dry on a hook and can use it for the same purpose again and again without going through an extra rag everyday. I’m not even that careful, there usually is a tiny bit of moisture left, but it’s not enough for spots to develop. It was very easy for me to add that to my routine as it’s super quick and low effort (I hate changing routines and really struggle with it!).
I have a Franke stainless sink in my contemporary white kitchen. It’s a large single bowl model made from high quality ss. It’s beautiful, easy to clean and still looks brand new after almost four years of hard use. I clean with Bon AMI. I love my sink!
I’m not a fan of stainless sinks. I’ve had two and my experience is that they can look dull and they also scratch. We have a Blanco Silgranite undermount sink that I love. While it does get marks and stains, a quick swish of bleach gel and some easy scrubbing makes it look brand new and the material is indestructible. The range of colors makes them easy to coordinate with almost any color scheme. Yes an upgrade, but the functionality is definitely worth it!
I also have a Blanco Silgranite Précis White sink. I love it for all the reasons you have listed. I have had many different brands of stainless sinks in the past. I did not hate them but I like the Silgranite a lot more and feel that it was worth the cost.
Just completed a large beachfront house that needed 5 sinks. I used an industrial size under mount stainless for dog baths in mudroom. Stainless under mount with teak counter top for kitchenette, stainless under mount for bar sink next to kitchen area and 30” x 17” , deep kitchen stainless sink with white/ marble look quartz counter top and white farmhouse sink in pantry with white quartz and butcher block counters. The only sink that is a “feature” in a room is the pantry one. You see it against the wall when you look into the pantry, is flanked by wine racks and a beautiful hanging light above it. My kitchen sink is on the backside of an island and faces out to the ocean. In addition, all my appliances ( 2 dishwashers and trash compactor) in this island are stainless with no panels because you don’t see them. In other words, they aren’t visible when you walk into the kitchen nor are they a feature of the kitchen. The wall behind it is the feature wall with a lovely range, hood and paneled frig to match the cabinets. When working with my budget, I was very careful to use my money wisely in my choices. I think my sinks look great and my experience with stainless has been positive in my other homes.
If I had a choice, I have never opted for a stainless sink or appliances. They look so industrial and scream the 80’s to me. I also think they are loud and never look as good as my white porcelain did, or my current fireclay which is beautiful and easy to clean. (I do put a washcloth in the bottom of the sink when washing pans – I haven’t had good luck with racks in the sink bottom staying clean, so I opt out of those.) The Blanco’s that my sisters have are also great.
I also prefer to have the fridge and dishwasher match cabinets for a seamless look, so the stainless steal is out of the running there too.
And while we are on it, I have another opinion about single vs. double sinks. We don’t need to fill the two sides for washing and rinsing like my grandma’s did, so why would you limit yourself from washing a big sheet pan, or wide platter by giving yourself two small sinks. I don’t get it at all.
I once saw an online discussion about the merits of single sinks vs. double sinks. Holy cow. People are on one team or the other!
I’m “Team Single Sink”. You can always use a tub in the sink to mimic a double sink when you need it, and keep the benefits of a single sink when you don’t.
I chose a white porcelain sink for our kitchen. Actually, it was a used one that a dear friend gave to us, so it was very cost effective. But even if it hadn’t been given to us, I would have chose a porcelain sink. But I could have just as easily chosen a stainless steel sink, because I do have stainless appliances. For my mom’s kitchen in her new condo, she wanted stainless steel, and she’s very happy with it. But I disagree that a sink isn’t something worth spending extra money on. It’s one of the workhorses of a kitchen, and there’s no reason why something that’s used every single day shouldn’t be beautiful. In fact, that’s probably even more reason to spend the extra money on it.
I actually got my white sink from some younger people rehabbing a house and wanting stainless steel everything. I took that sink and had it in the shed for 5 years until we saved for our kitchen renovation. Some Comet and a Mr. Clean eraser and she looked brand new!
I never use Comet on ours. I use a product called Zud. It doesn’t scratch the surface as much. But the Mr. Clean Erasers are a lifesaver with a white sink!! I also spray it with bleach spray a couple nights a week just to keep it from staining. A quick spray before bed, and then a quick rinse in the morning.
Maria, what kind of appliances are in a true farmhouse kitchen? Never thought about it accept for the obvious apron sink.
About 17 years ago we bought a black sink to go with my cream stove with back glass cook top and stove front. Hated it! It developed a white film over it because of the hard water and there were no cleaners gentle enough to take it off (even Bonami and Bar keepers Friend didn’t work). Then, to remedy that we ended up getting a cream enamel sink and every time I washed a pan or even silverware in it, there were marks all over. The finish also wore off and the company replaced it TWO more times. I still have a brand new one in a box in my garage. Both sinks while gorgeous, were not functional.
The instructions were to basically use kid gloves when using both sinks. You should not have to think about a sink like that in everyday life whthere you’re single or have a house full of kids.
In a world of Covid, Super Bugs and Salmonella, I prefer to be able to put a little Clorox in my sink to disinfect it as well as scientific studies have proven that the kitchen sink has more germs in it than toilet! yikes! Stainless is the workhorse that works for me and I love it.
Team porcelain. I lived with a stainless sink for 16 yrs. in my former home. It was loud and did not give off a lux, clean appearance.
I’ve had both over my 53 years of housekeeping and I do prefer porcelain. Yes, it can scratch, chip, and break glasses (as mentioned above) but the FEEL of it is why I choose it. I don’t like the SOUND of stainless, either. I have stainless appliances & brushed nickel faucet & cabinet hardware, so it’s not a design issue; it’s SENSORY.
The 115+ year old farmhouse that I grew up in has had one porcelain sink for 100 years. It is beginning to look a bit worse for wear but only beginning. It has gone through 50 years of dishes for a family of 11 (no dishwasher still), canning, butchering, baking and whatever else life has thrown at it. I will always prefer porcelain over stainless steel.
I have had both. I will never again, willingly, own a stainless sink. It never looked clean to me and, is noisy when you are working in it. When we remodeled, in 2006, we put in a huge, Kohler, white porcelain sink. It was quite expensive but, it looks the same today as it did the day it was installed. My decor leans traditional so, it fits in very well.
We just redid our kitchen and installed a stainless farmhouse sink. It’s great and it matches all of my appliances. I don’t find it to be noisy at all, but then again I’ve never NOT had a stainless sink. I am constantly in the kitchen as I love to cook and stainless just seemed like a no-brainer for me.
I used to have a Kohler sink with one large basin plus an additional little basin that was attached to the disposal. It was ideal for cleaning up food scraps (from plates or pots) and rinsing the soap off the dishes when the large basin was full of soapy water.
Considering that I busted a master bathroom porcelain sink by dropping a dog bowl that I was filling up, I would never want to have the threat of that happening to a much more “abused” part of my home. It’s a hard pass for me.
Porcelain says “classic” to me, not “farmhouse” style. Perhaps it seems “farmhouse” and “fading trend” to many of us because we have been visually saturated with farmhouse-style images for several years now.
I grew up in a custom, mid-century modern home in the Los Angeles area, with a double stainless sink. I did a lot of dishes in that sink! No thank you to stainless.
Stainless can be noisy, industrial in appearance, and simply not as pretty–to my eye–as porcelain, and super-clean porcelain just seems…well, cleaner.
I love my huge single porcelain sink, which I specified as a retrofit when we purchased our current home in 1993. Highly functional, still looks beautiful, and is easy to clean without scratching with weekly Bartender’s Friend (which is oxalic acid, a very mild bleaching agent even used by cabinetmakers for specific uses) or Bon Ami.
I do have stainless oven, fridge, and cooktop trim, and they all play nicely together. I am someone who likes the visual interest and liveliness of mixing it up a bit with finishes/materials, perhaps more than some, as long as things “go” together.
I have had a porcelain ?cast iron white kohler sink for 24 years. Still looks great, not perfect. I love the two bowls, one side is large enough to soak a half sheet pan. I doubt a porcelain sink being manufactured today would last nearly as long and stay as nice as this one has. My kitchen is white so stainless would have looked out of place.
White enamel kitchen sinks are also high-maintenance. They stain, are difficult to clean, and the enamel can wear down over time. Getting a sink re-enameled is expensive and it can be difficult to find a skilled craftsperson to do it. They are also HEAVY and the larger ones require special reinforcement to install correctly. I’ll take my oversized stainless undercount sink any day over enamel.
Interesting that nobody mentioned copper sink? They are the best for fighting viruses and bacteria naturally.
Didn’t know that, Johanne! I personally love the look of copper. It feels very rustic and organic.
I LOVE Corian solid surface. Configurable, bleachable, quiet, soft to touch. No banging. Absolutely won’t have another.
I’ll never go back to enamel. I actually cook, a lot. I had a stainless, switched to enamel and it would stain quickly after cleaning it. Curries, tomato sauces, coffee…that sink didn’t have a chance. I switched back to stainless and am much happier.
I like either sinks in the right kitchen! But am definitely not a fan of the new square stainless sinks. My daughters have them in their homes and they are not easy to keep clean. Food and gunk get caught in the corners. Also, as a tall person, I don’t like the farmhouse sinks that are installed lower than the counters …. back breakers, in my opinion!
When we bought our current house, it was hideous. Wish I had known about you then, Maria! Anyway, we couldn’t afford to replace the hickory cabinets (which I detest) so I did my best to find a new countertop that didn’t clash. I ended up with a very dark gray (almost black) countertop with some very subtle rust, teal, blue, and gray in it. I didn’t want something so dark but everything else seemed to clash with the busyness of the hickory or blend in too much with the wood color (I thought a cream would be best but never found one that worked). Since the home is open concept, I didn’t want a noisy stainless sink clanking while washing pots and pans so I opted for a black composite sink. Again, too dark for my taste but actually looked great! Unfortunately, we have hard water here and it only takes a few days for horrible, ugly white calcium deposits to build up all over the sink. It looks filthy all the time and is impossible to clean. I am a perfectionist so I ‘think’ I scrubbed every inch of that sink, only to find out otherwise when it dries. I googled the issue and it is a common problem. No doubt it happens on white composite sinks but at least the calcium deposits wouldn’t show as much. So I will be replacing that sink as soon as possible! I used to be a stainless steel snob but now I can’t wait to have it back again. So easy to clean.
Stainless steel sink forever. I’ve loved and had them even before they were a trend. There’s a reason why chef’s and restaurants love them. They are so functional.
STAINLESS all the way (undermount makes it classy).
We are in-between, renting a house with a white Corian sink. Which I stained with dye and won’t bleach out. Yep.
My daughter has a beautiful porcelain farmhouse sink. They use the right side because the left was cracked by a heavy pot, and leaks. Yep.
Stainless for me, with an apron for drying – we had this in our last home and it worked fabulously.
I’ve had (dated) porcelain sinks for 15 years in my last two kitchens, but before that I lived a few places with stainless. One was fine, rounded corners and heavier weight, but one had the squared off hard to clean edges and felt thin and noisy and water spotted. Ick! I do definitely prefer white porcelain for looks and feel (the sensory issues others have noted are real!), and haven’t found it to be a problem worth mentioning for stains and chips.
This makes me think of my aunt and uncle’s big white porcelain sink. Set in a countertop and backsplash of dark green ceramic tiles (knotty pine cabinets) it didn’t have a farmhouse front, but had a tall back that reached a deep window ledge where my aunt had little potted plants. Over sixty years spent raising four children and cooking sooo many meals for family and holiday gatherings the sink acquired some stains, a chip where someone dropped the Thanksgiving turkey, and eventually even a few pits. But that sink feels like home and family now.
After nearly twp years of living like a hermit, I will take an old white porcelain sink with a kitchen full of friends and family over a perfectly styled kitchen where people are afraid to set a coffee cup in a pristine sink.
We had terrible hard water spotting on a dark composite sink. Hated it! Then I found out that after cleaning sink, wipe on baby/mineral oil. Every time after using sink, wipe dry. This just takes a few seconds but keeps spots from appearing.
After a lifetime of stainless steel sinks I chose the Kohler white porcelain cast iron farmhouse sink for my remodeled kitchen, and I love it. It’s huge. I also ordered the wire insert to fit on the bottom, which prevents both breakage and chips. There is one tiny chip near the drain where something dropped. I use Barkeepers Friend to scrub the sink about every five days, and in between clear it of tiny sticking debris and give a quick scrub with plain water to remove anything that marks the sides. I’ve had it for eight years, and it looks wonderful. Stainless sinks always looked spotty; you polish them, and the next time you run water there are spots everywhere.
But stainless definitely has its place. The kitchen in my father’s condo had stainless counters, sink, and marvelous stove with a beautiful hood. All built in the sixties and never changed. I loved it.
Under mount stainless were more expensive when we chose our porcelain kitchen sink, or I would have gone with the stainless. One plus is the porcelain retains heat and I loved bathing my babies in it as soon as they could be sat up.
I love the look of stainless sinks when they are new and unmarked but have found even the higher gauge expensive ones scratch with use over time. I really like Sil granite sinks. They now come in many colors (black, greys, off white etc.) so coordinate well with most quartz counters (totally agree no dark sinks with light counters). So my vote is Sil granite or stainless depending on the kitchen 😉
I have been a Kitchen and Bath and Interior Designer for 20 years. My go to sink and and what i always recommend to very happy clients is a granite/composite sink. I love them and my clients literally have come back to specifically tell me how happy they are to have this kind of material.
I have never liked stainless, even the best most expensive are still noisier, scratch more and are a pain to keep clean and looking good.
Otherwise I agree wholeheartedly with you Maria, about their function and they go pretty much with any kitchen, depending on the style of the sink.
As for color I often do a dark sink (just did charcoal with my new cream counters, gray cabinets). I usually don’t suggest the white composite , though it cleans up well(sometimes i suggest a bleach soak). Personally I like the look as you showed above of black or dark sink with white or light counters.
Doing one now with mixed metals, some black with brass lights, and black hardware, white cabinets. Not finished yet, backsplash is aqua and there will be that color and accents of pink (flowers for example)
. Patterned black, charcoal and white flooring, I’ll send a picture when we’re finished.
Thanks, Maria your advice and expertise are so valuable. Been following you for a couple of years (when I started looking at IG)and don’t miss a post! I would love to take your classes and get your color boards but I’m 82 and mostly trying to retire, only have 4 projects going, haha and I am getting tired to tell you the truth.
I am definitely a color person and yellow is my jam :))
I have a white, second hand cast iron sink, and use a rack to protect it. Soapstone countertops..the look is so classic and suits my garden house/cottage well. I’ve never liked the look or the noise of stainless steel sinks (even in the upscale ss sinks there is noise). Stainless does work well in a garden room or mud room setting, and gets extra points for being easy to clean (muddy pots and dog feet are featured in my home), but for a warm and inviting kitchen..give me cast iron.
Wow! I have never thought a stainless sink was a “classic workhorse”. To me, it always said builder-grade, entry level kitchen. My grandmother, mom, and I have had fire clay, porcelain sinks. They have never chipped. My mom did scratch hers through years of cleaning it with Comet. But if you use Bon Ami, no scratches. I would only put a stainless sink in a modern house. I don’t think stainless belongs in a traditional or other classically designed house. I agree with the previous comment that a sink IS where you should spend money!!! You cannot replace it without a huge cost and it’s something you use 3 times a day. If that’s not a reason to invest, nothing is.
Having had both porcelain and stainless, I am a stainless fan for all the reasons that others have mentioned. I don’t find mine to be noisy, it’s very forgiving, easy to maintain, etc. I also am not a fan of the double sink unless one side of the sink is very large. I’m lucky enough to have one of those, and I can fit even my largest baking pans and skillets. I actually love my sink 🙂
Ok, I have had, in my 67 years, every kind of sink material known to mankind. Almost. Porcelain, cheap stainless steel, upscale stainless steel, granite composite, plastic, more than 1 of each. Because we USE our sink & they are expendable to me. We just moved in to our brand new retirement home. We have been fortunate to do what materials we want this time around. After much research, I splurged on fireclay sinks in the kitchen, laundry room and 3 bathrooms. So far, so good. There is no staining, no chipping, no scratching. Time will tell, but I am hoping I have found the right sinks for us!
This is so funny to me! When I was a little girl, decades ago and long before Pinterest or HGTV, my mother did a DIY reno of our kitchen and her choice of a stainless sink was seen as an upgrade that even had light tones of snobbishness.
I’ve had many stainless sinks and they did wear well. I usually have stainless appliances as well. In the last kitchen I did a refresh (it was supposed to be mine but we unexpectedly sold the house before I had the opportunity to use it!) I chose a beautiful fire clay sink with a classic polished nickel faucet. It’s gorgeous! I was just really tired of stainless. The countertops are quartzite and cherry cabinetry was painted black on lowers and off white uppers. I thought that since we are empty nesters the sink may not take as much of a beating??
Thank you for your comments about black sinks. I also dislike a black sink in a white or light countertop, but they do have their place. I’d worry about constant water spots in hard water areas though.
Just a quick comment about the white and black “trend”. I guess it has become a trend but for me, and other family members, white walls (off white usually) have been a staple. And black and white a classic. But your posts about how to work with and decorate these rooms is invaluable because they are tricky and can look cold and stark. Thank you!
I never liked the look of stainless steel sinks. In our new home I installed a Blanco Silgranit sink. This is “a patented granite composite sink material with superior strength and durability”. It is 80% granite sand blended with acrylic. It does not scratch and is heat resistant.
I chose metallic gray which picks up the grey in my marble patterned quartz countertop. Awesome! I’m so happy with it.
I built a new house two years ago and installed two stainless steel sinks in my kitchen. It was a huge regret and I have since replaced them both with Blanco Silgranit Quartz Sinks, which are amazing. As an interior designer, I was aware that the best stainless steel sinks are 16 gauge steel, but they are incredibly expensive. I purchased, as most people do, the 18 gauge steel sinks, and lived to regret it. They stain, and no matter how much you clean them, they never look clean. I finally researched the quartz sinks, and invested in them. They are comparable in price to the 18 gauge steel sinks, and they do not stain or scratch. They have beautiful grills for the base of the sinks, which allows you to set hot pans on them. I’ve had the Silgranit sinks/grills several months now and specify them for all my clients.
STAINLESS! A quality stainless sink is quiet and easy to keep clean. Mine is an undermount, single-bowl, and deep. I love it. I can fit in all my XL baking sheets and pots/pans.
Therapy Ss cleaner is absolutely the best product you will ever use. You can find it on Amazon. A little goes a very long way. It seems to cover the SS with a protective film that produces a brilliant shine that lasts for weeks and resists smudges. You will not be disappointed!
Totally agree Maria! Ceramic farmhouse sinks are having a moment, and they may even be timeless, but stainless sinks aren’t goin’ anywhere.
Once again a great post – I always wanted the white porcelain vintage sink, but my stainless steel sink doesn’t bother anyone. I also love your idea of spending money on other upgrades like the range cover, so this really gives me a nice perspective on where to spend my limited funds. Thanks!
I inherited a white porcelain sink in my kitchen, and good lord, I cannot wait to replace it.
1 – it was installed too low (not the sink’s fault, I know)
2 – it gets dirty so quickly and seems to need some extra elbow grease to clean
3 – it’s cracked 🙁
Will use stainless once I renovate.
I love my medium grey Blanco Silgranit Quartz huge single deep sink in my carrara marble island! Paired with a chrome fixture it looks like jewelry box! Those who come to my house love it too, even the guys :).
Priorities! A stainless steel sink is fine. God knows it’s better than a black sink. If your heart is set on a farmhouse sink, stainless will never satisfy. You will have to pry my bath tub – Rohl’s Shaw Lancaster farmhouse fire clay kitchen sink from me… dead or alive. The wire sink grid is a must for potential cracks. 5 years and still gorgeous!
We did an integrated soapstone sink with our soapstone counter, and I love the look. It’s harder to keep clean than our previous stainless, but we were also able to customize it and make it deeper. So when dirty dishes are in the sink, you can’t see them unless you’re right over it.
I cook. Stainless.