Which Sink Is Best For My Vessel Sink Vanity?

You've invested a lot into your home, and re-done the bathroom. The lighting is perfect, and you've got everything lined up, and are looking for the old style traditional appearance of a modern vessel sink vanity to draw the eyes inward and lend a sense of class. Or, perhaps you're not quite there yet, and are looking for ways to solve this problem before you get to installing plumbing fixtures.

The first rule of thumb is to look at lighting in the bathroom; the more natural light, or the more indirect light you have in the bathroom, the more leeway you have in choosing the materials.

As for materials, your choices range from porcelain coated metals to ceramics and tempered glass, to stone and treated metal, and the choices you make will depend on what else you're putting in the bathroom. There are two principles at play here, and you're going to have to decide on what you want for overall aesthetics when choosing the sink.

The first is that the human eye tends to see 'dark' as enclosed. Putting a dark colored vessel sink vanity in a well lit bathroom will cause it to draw the eye; putting a light material in a dark toned bathroom will have the same effect, but the overall bathroom will seem smaller and more enclosed.

Dark-colored vanities in well-lit bathrooms really grab a guest's attention.
Dark-colored vanities in well-lit bathrooms really grab a guest's attention.

The second is the question of warmth; if your bathroom is made up of wood tones and light colors like oak and birch and light maple, you'll want a basin that works with that, say treated copper or a terra cotta toned ceramic basin.  If you've got a bathroom in a modernist style with chrome and black and white, you'll want something from the same palette to work from.

Beyond the issues of aesthetics, you'll need to focus on practicality.  Not all vessel sink vanities are, to put it mildly, practical; they're geared for style more than function.  One tip we give to home remodelers is the Calvin & Hobbes test:  If you had a rambunctious six year old using that sink, how much of a mess would they make every night trying to use it?

Related to practicality issues are the height of the faucet, and how you intend to put the faucet in place; most of the vanity sink vanities you'll find are going to need an extended height faucet to get over the lip of the vessel itself.  This can complicate matters if, for example, there's a mirror with cabinetry behind it.  They'll also need to be cleaned a bit more rigorously; scrubbing the sink with a toothbrush underneath the lip of the basin may need to become a weekly chore if you want to keep things from growing in them.

Finally, ask your supplier about how easy (or not) it is to treat and handle some of the more exotic materials.  Stone is semi-porous, which can result in things like soap becoming embedded in the pores, and changing the finish.  Most treated metals may need to be checked for setting up a patina.  The easiest to maintain is good old fashioned porcelain coated metal, but the general rule of thumb is that the better it looks, the harder it will be to keep clean.

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