Sinks and Basins

When planning your bathroom, it’s important to use the space wisely and keep the fixtures and fittings in proportion to the size of the room. Large bathrooms can carry the modern oversized sinks, or maybe you want to install more than one to speed up those busy mornings. If you are fitting a small bathroom or en-suite, there are scaled-down sinks that are designed specifically for that purpose.

Manufacturers typically make variations of the same sink in different shapes and sizes, such as wall-hung, pedestal or vanity sinks; it's always worth asking what's available so that you find the sink which suits your bathroom size and budget as well as your personal taste and lifestyle.


Ceramic is by far the most affordable and popular material used in the manufacture of sinks, and is the most durable and hygienic. Provided it is looked after properly (e.g. removing limescale buildup) it will still look as good as new after 10 years use.

Stylish alternatives such as steel or glass will need more work to keep them looking as good as new. Steel has an industrial chic quality to it and is impossible to chip, but it can be easily scratched, so take care when cleaning the surface. Toughened glass is a strong as ceramic and no longer carries the high price ticket it used to, but needs to be wiped clean after every use to remove watermarks. Marble and stone looks fantastic, but they are both extremely heavy and are very expensive.

Wood is becoming more popular as a sink material, producing unique items with an organic twist to the 'neutral and natural' theme to bathroom design. The color will change and generally darken with age, although strong sunlight will bleach the wood. Wood sinks have the advantage that they will not break if you drop something into it.

Tap Holes

Sinks may be supplied with 1, 2 or 3 tap holes, which enables you to select alternative tap configurations to the conventional pair of pillar taps. Although the size of the tap hole will be constant from sink to sink, the amount of space the base of the tap takes up may differ, so it is essential that you check that the taps you choose will fit the sink. This is particularly important with sinks with a narrow tap ledge. You can also opt for a sink without tap holes, and install wall-mounted taps instead.

Bathroom Sink Types

Pedestal Sinks

Although a pedestal sink fits on top of a ceramic pedestal or column, it also needs to be firmly fixed to the wall. In more modern designs the conventional ceramic leg may be formed in one piece with the basin, or be replaced entirely by a slim chrome pillar. Shapes for pedestal basins vary from the conventional oval or round bowl shape to more modern rectangular or even semi-circular shapes, although an average size would be around 55-65 cm wide. The sink may:

  1. Be flat and even all the way back
  2. Have an upstand or upright piece behind the tap
  3. Include molded soap dishes

Inset Sinks

Inset sinks are recessed into or set onto a worktop surface, and may come with or without a ledge to put your taps. They are typically placed into the worktop once a hole has been cut for it. If you are doing the work yourself, it's good to remember that the lip of the sink will probably hide any rough edges, so all is not lost if you don't get it completely right first time. An undercounter basin is the reverse of this; a hole is cut into the worktop, which is then placed over the basin. You must be very careful if you are doing this yourself, as any cutting mistakes will be clearly visible.

Wall Hung Sinks

Wall-hung sinks are available in many different shapes and sizes, although the width is usually fairly consistent at around 50-60 cm. There are some striking larger alternatives available, over a meter wide at times, which would certainly form a feature in the bathroom.

One of the major advantages of a wall-hung sink is the ability to fix it at a height that suits you; however, the wall (ideally a structural wall) must be strong enough to bear the weight of the basin and the volume of water it holds. As the plumbing and pipework is normally visible with a wall-hung sink, you can either conceal it behind a wall-hung or semi-pedestal, or make a feature out of it by incorporating stylish chrome fittings and pipe covers.

Corner Sink

A corner sink will fit into a right-angled corner, with a typical size being about 64 cm across and 45-50 cm from front to back. Depending on the look you want, you could fix it on a pedestal or vanity unit, or to the wall, perhaps using some decorative brackets. If you don't want to use a plastic U-bend, you could use a stylish bottle-trap which looks far more attractive.

Baby Basins

Baby basins are mounted directly to the bathroom wall using bolts and brackets, so that a pedestal is not needed at all. Typical sizes are approximately 47 cm wide by 29 cm deep, making them perfect for a small en suite.

Vanity Sinks

Vanity sinks can be combined with other pieces of bathroom furniture, part of a run of units, or stand alone. Units may be wall-hung or floor-standing, fully-fitted with drawers and doors or adopt a more open style of washstand. Choose a semi-recessed style on a slim vanity unit, where the bowl overhangs the unit at the front, or one that covers an open-top unit completely.