By Ann Robinson and Annie Vernon

As the number and type of bathrooms in the average home increase, so has the selection of bathroom sinks, which now range from tiny wall-hung versions for the smallest of powder rooms to elaborate dual-basin models for luxurious master baths.

The sink is certainly a practical necessity in a bathroom. Running hot and cold water is required by definition. But with all the choices available, the sink doesn’t have to be just a practical choice. It can greatly add to the beauty of your bathroom.

Sinks are available in many styles. Counter sinks can be either self-rimming (the edge is above the counter) or recessed (the edge is under the counter). Self-rimming sinks are the most common and work well with any counter material. Materials such as plastic laminate or ceramic tile are not suitable to circular shapes or continual exposure to water and therefore require an edge trim. Recessed or undermount sinks require a counter material that does not need an edge treatment, such as granite or solid-surfacing material.

Sinks can add beauty to Baths

Pedestal sink works well in small bathrooms, such as powder rooms.

Pedestal sinks consist of a columnar base with a basin sitting on top. There is no cabinet or counter. The advantage is they work well in small spaces. The disadvantage is they have no storage. A console sink is a pedestal on steroids — self-contained and free-standing but with a larger top that provides a place for toiletries. Due to the size, this style has two or four legs rather than one central pedestal.

Another choice is an integral sink. This is when the basin is part of the countertop and is manufactured at the same time. Materials that allow this type of sink include solid surfacing, natural or cultured stone, and concrete.

The latest “in thing” is the vessel sink. This looks like a beautiful bowl set on the countertop and stylistically hearkens back to the days of washbasins. The bowls can be made of a variety of materials — from glass to metal to granite. In general, this and other artistic sink styles work best in a powder room rather than in a bathroom that is used often. The exposed sides predispose the vessel to potential damage, and these sinks can be more difficult to maintain with high usage.

Besides, the drama of a vessel sink can be appreciated again and again by guests.

Sinks are available in many materials, some of which we have mentioned above. Options include vitreous china (the original material), stainless steel, enameled metals, true metals (copper and bronze), natural stone, manufactured stone and glass. Costs range from less than $100 to thousands of dollars for a single sink.

While a white sink is timeless, you can create a dramatic look in a bathroom by adding a colored sink. You can find sinks in brilliant citrus colors inspired by tropical fruits, such as mango, kiwi, zesty lemon, bitter lime and tangerine. If you just want to add slight amount of color, you can find sinks that come in softened whites with hints of blue and green or neutrals.

While dramatic bathrooms may be all the rage, this is a room that must be also considered in terms of ease of use and maintenance. Analyzing your family’s needs and the primary purpose of your new bathroom will help guide you make a wise choice for that new bathroom sink. As always, we welcome your home architect design questions at as*@re*******************.com.

Sinks can add beauty to baths