Single Sink Vs. Double Sink – Which Is Better?

As our arms continue to recover from our recent kitchen priming and painting marathon (shared here this morning) we thought we’d take it down a notch or two with a post about sinks. That’s right, it’s like a slow jam following a spirited chicken dance or an energetic Macarena.

One thing’s that been fascinating about owning our second home is comparing its features to our first home and noting pros and cons (especially as we think about what improvements we want to make). There are many things that we prefer over our previous digs – like the larger rooms, opens hallways, en suite master bath, etc. And of course some things that make us miss our old set-up, such as our former more open laundry area, enclosed garage, etc. But when it comes to some things, we’re still unsure if they’re upgrades or downgrades… like our kitchen sink.

It’s a deep single sink (call me Captain Obvious). I like it. No, wait, I love it. I think. Okay, no, it’s probably just a like. Honestly I can’t decide whether or not I prefer it over the double sink that we had in our last kitchen (seen below).

Why do I love the single sink? It fits everything. Okay, not literally – but at least I finally can get my pots and pans (including handles!) fully in the sink to clean them. Seems silly, but the double sink we chose for the last kitchen did get on my nerves sometimes. Pan handles would protrude over the countertop. Water would splash everywhere during half-submerged rinse sessions. Frustrated husbands would curse the act of doing dishes. So this new situation is a welcome relief (the pan shown is 22″ including handles).

Some of the few of you who were reading way-back-then even questioned our double-sink decision. But despite my affection for the our single sink, I don’t completely regret choosing a double. Here’s why:

Now that I’m without a “Washing Side” and a “Drying Side” my pans end up on the counter post-wash. Yes, I realize it looks lame and messy (and that our pans are definitely past-their-prime). I know we could get a drying rack, but (no offense drying rack makers of the world) it’s hard to find something that looks good enough to earn a permanent spot on the already-limited counter space (my crazy pot drying method above only means that the side of the sink is occupied for an hour or two after dinner as opposed to hosting a drying rack 24/7). This is where my parents would probably tell me just to buck up, dry them by hand, and put them away immediately. But yeah, that’s not going to happen.

The other thing that makes us indecisive about this set up is the faucet placement. Usually we’re fans of a centered faucet, but such a square shaped sink must have required it be nudged to one side (it doesn’t look like it would have fit in the center). But in a surprise turn of sink-related events I’ve been enjoying the ability to fill up a pot while it rests on the counter (rather than having to hold it as it grows heavier with water in the sink). Life’s small pleasures, ya know?

In the end, we’re not planning to replace this sink and I’m still not sure which I prefer – though I think I now lean towards the single sink camp. What about you guys. Are you on the fence too? Or do you feel passionately about one set up over the other?


  1. says

    You know, I’d always thought that I would prefer a double sided sink, but I really think I’d probably like single better! I usually dry things and put them away as soon as I wash ’em, so I don’t really need the other side – and I HATE not having enough room for pans and cutting boards in my sink!

    • says

      I’m the same way! At the beginning of the post, I was all set to cheer for the double sink (we grew up with one). We never really used the second side except to maybe put a drying rack or leave something that was defrosting.
      I’ve recently started becoming a fan of the single sink. Our apartment has a single sink but it’s a little bigger than yours. We’re able to fit a lot of dishes in there and we just put the little dish drying rack on the counter. We don’t really mind it.
      Oh, and I love the faucet placement. It’s so irritating to be washing pans and hit the faucet.

  2. Rachel says

    I don’t like the look of drying racks so I use a drying mat, it absorbs the water and the counter doesn’t get too wet. When I’m done with it I stick it back into the cabinet under the sink.

    • says

      We use a drying mat at our house, too! We put it in the drawer when not in use.

      And as to the sink question, Youngsters, I think what I actually I prefer is a double-wide, deep sink without the divider. What our kitchen has (and I love it) is a $60 Craigslist cast iron sink (which is double-wide with a somewhat-low divider). Also, double-wide sinks with a smaller basin on one side are nice.

    • Kristy says

      I’m with Rachel…I have 2 drying mats from bed, bath & beyond. Total space saver, they suck up a ton of water and they’re machine washable, too.

    • Samantha says

      Another vote for the drying mat. We were trying to use a couple of towels when a friend enlightened me. They have them at Bed Bath & Beyond for a few dollars. I think it’s microfiber and it has a bit of cush to it. Roll it up and stash it away when you’re not using it and throw it in the washer every once in a while. Easy peasy! I love the color you chose for your kitchen and I’m definitely repinning that inspiration photo. I noticed the darker green inside the glass front cabinets, more like the outside of the artichoke to continue the comparison. Very nice!

  3. says

    I never thought while growing up that I would ever be thinking/talking/writing about sinks. But here I am…oh Lord.
    Anyways, I was having the same debate (with myself) when we were remodeling our kitchen. My final solution was a 70/30 sink. I LURVE that I can fit all of my pots and pans over on the 70 side, but if I happen to not want to dry the dishes that night they can chill out over on the 30 side.
    It seemed like the perfect solution!

    • Holly says

      “I never thought while growing up that I would ever be thinking/talking about sinks…”

      My sentiments exactly! God, this getting older (I’m 29) thing is fun.

      On the sink front I’ve had both and definitely prefer the single camp. There are some nicer stainless steel drying racks that don’t look toooo bad..but I do see your point.

    • Shannon says

      I just moved into a new house and it has the 70/30 sink and I love it! The smaller side has the garbage disposal and isn’t as deep. The faucet is between the two, and I can remove the faucet to work as a sprayer. I love it!

    • Elle says

      I too have this set up, Michele and I LOVE IT!!!!! :) Especially for washing bottles!

    • says

      i think i want a 70/30 sink. We have a huge one sink, and it’s annoying in terms of – there’s NO place to put our pots/pans after we wash them.

    • Walnut says

      I have a super deep 70/30 sink and I lurve it. I also love that when I’m cooking I can toss my “trash” into the 30 side of the sink and when I scoop it out to toss into the trash while cleaning up, I don’t have nearly as much sink to clean. (Side note: this is part of the joy of a kitchen too tiny keep a trash can, so it resides in my garage.)

    • Jen says

      I also have an offset sink and I love it! One huge side that will fit anything, but the small side is nice for when I do want to fill it up and wash or soak something and I don’t want to fill up the whole giant side (which takes forever).

    • says

      Ditto to this! I love a single sink, with a mini sink and then a draining area.
      The mini sink is great for when you want to do something sinky whilst the main sink is full (like… you’re washing up but you need to pour some liquid out of something before putting it in your washing up water).
      Something like this…. (not that one though…. I like em big – of course my utter dream is a massive belfast sink like this

    • Melissa C. says

      I still miss my sink like this (enameled cast iron on metal cabinet base). It was in my old apartment and probably from the 30s-50s, but solid. Such a practical design.

    • says

      We have an old white porcelain type of these sinks, and no dishwasher (for now)! We keep a drying rack out, but we use it everyday, sometimes twice a day. Before we lived in our house, I often just used a towel as a temporary “drying rack”.

    • Gem says

      That’s my exact one! But it’s low quality, and the water from the dishes just sits there so it’s stained within about a day. Way too high maintenance for a “clean once a week” gal!

    • Hayley says

      Yes! I was going to write the exact same thing – all the kitchens I’ve ever seen in the UK have ‘draining boards’ as I call ’em. Another good thing I’ve seen is two full-size sinks, one with a draining-board cover so it can be used as a sink or as counter space – and you can get wooden or glass chopping boards to fit flush on top of the the sink too so you don’t lose workspace if your kitchen is small or you’re low on storage. Handy eh?

      Example of draining board cover plate from Ikea:

      Example of chopping board cover:

    • Colleen P. says

      When I lived in England every house I visited or lived in had that exact style of sink! We used a lot of CLR or Lime-away to keep them shiny.

      I was shocked to learn that for the most part Brits do not rinse their dishes. They wash them, put them on the side, then dry them and put them away. No rinsing. Even dish soap ads show the pots sitting on the side drainer, with bubbles on them.

    • Bryony says

      Absolutely true! Living over here, I’ve gotten so used to the built-in “drying rack space” on *every* sink I see. It does require lots of cleaning, though, to keep the lime scale away.

      As for any preference, I think I’m a fan of the single sink, provided it’s like the one my mom had installed: huge, wide, and very deep. Basically, if it can’t fit a defrosting turkey inside: it’s too small. :)

    • ali says

      those rock! We have two, they wash up great (esp with a little oxyclean) and absorb like crazy. Once the dishes are dry it can sit out blending in quietly, or be stowed in a drawer. So much better than a 24/7 rack, or ugly dishtowel, or drying RIGHT AWAY (shudder)

    • gk says

      we got one of these drying mats from my mother-in-law as a christmas present a few years ago. it’s fantastic for the reasons lauren mentioned. of course, i think a regular old kitchen towel works just as well for a temporary drying rack (that’s what my mother does).

      back to the actual sinks – i have to say, i’m a big fan of the d-shaped sink that y’all have now. we used this sink (with the off-set faucet) in our condo kitchen remodel two years ago. i loved that i could fit the pots and pans in it and that it was fairly deep. we’ve moved since that remodel, but i really do miss that sink and would totally consider using it again when we re-do our current kitchen. i feel like it’s a more efficient use of space than the double-sink (more counter space!), but that’s probably b/c i’ve only ever lived in tiny little kitchens with zero counter space.

    • says

      That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing. I hate our drying rack, but it’s a necessity as we hand wash a lot. This is much nicer looking and easier to move when people come over (I always hide the funky rack when we have company!)

    • Jessica says

      I was going to post this exact same product.

      We also hate the “drying rack look” and have two of these in gray. They are like a shamwow for your dishes. Best of all they are easy to dry, easy to clean and can fold up and be put away.

      Give ’em a try!

    • Shary says

      I love my drying mat too. I just have to convince my children that it isn’t a hotpad or a place to make lunches. Of course, if I would ever put it away, that might solve the problem. :)

    • Melissa S says

      I was just going to recommend this to them!! I LOVE these. They are life savers! They are thicker than a towel so the water doesn’t soak through as easily and you can just throw them in the wash. We have 2 of them so we have one to keep out when the other one is being washed. Definitely worth the $5 or $8 investment, depending on what size you get. Especially if you are grabbing something else small and have a $5 off coupon! Love them! Great invention!!

    • Courtney says

      Best buy ever. I don’t know what I would do without mine. They have them on amazon for $14.00.

    • ChristinaD says

      YES! We use these too… SO much more convenient than a drying rack – less obvious and super easy to store away when not in use!

  4. Liz says

    Ever think of a drying pad? My mom gave me one she bought at Bed Bath and Beyond, and it is just a mat that I keep under the sink, pull it out to put the clean wet dishes on, then put it back under the sink when the dishes are dryed. The mat is even washer machine friendly.

  5. tarynkay says

    We have a very large, very deep double sink. Each side is wide enough to hold large pans including handles. I like this best. When I wash pots and pans, I scrub them down and then set them in the other side of the sink. When I get done scrubbing everything, I rinse them all off at once. Then I do put them in a drying rack, but the drying rack folds up and goes in the cupboard when not in use. So it doesn’t live out on the counter. I guess I could leave them in one side of the sink to dry, I just find that they dry quicker on the rack.

    When you build your island, will you include a prep-sink in it?

    • says

      Nah, it’ll be so far from the actual working part of the kitchen (so it’ll serve more as a work/crafts/casual dining spot with cute stools and some storage for stuff to set the nearby dining room table).


    • Elisa says

      I’m with tarynkay….we have a double sink but both sides are rather large so I wash on one side and rinse in the other. When I’m not doing dishes, I just stack the dirty one’s in the one side of the sink (so they are not on the counter). I keep the one side completely clean and clear at all times so it’s always ready for anything- washing food, washing dishes, filling glasses or pots, heck even washing my hair!

    • says

      That is definitely best. I grew up washing dishes with my aunts. One person scrubbed, one person rinsed, and one person dried. You need a big double sink for it, but it works great.

    • threadbndr says

      I’ve got a big vintage double cast iron sink. Both sides are deep and big enough to handle a stock pot or a 12 inch frying pan with a standard handle. I love it so much that instead of replacing it, I’m going to have it re-enameled.

      I don’t have a dishwasher yet (it’s in the plan for the kitchen remodel – someday); so like tarynkay, I wash in one side and rinse in the the other. I do leave my dishdrainer out most of the time (unless I have guests, in which case I stash it under the sink).

  6. Judy says

    I miss the double sink we had at our old house – the new house came with a 70/30 like Michele mentioned. I love that I can clean/soak an entire cookie sheet (!) in the big side but I HATE the ugly drying rack on the counter. I have 2 small kids at home and even with our dishwasher I still do an enormous amount of dishes. Not sure what we’ll do when we spruce up our kitchen… I’ll check back to see what other people think!

  7. says

    Our house has a pretty deep double sink, but we still keep a drying rack on the cupboard. I’m going to try out your method of using the other side of the sink, and maybe I can get rid of the silly drying rack. In the magical far away future where we redo our kitchen, I think we’ll probably just keep a double sink – I lived in a couple apartments with single sinks and they drove me nuts-o. Of course then I lived in an apartment with a double sink that was so shallow I could barely wash a frying pan in it… that was pretty annoying too. So, in conclusion… go Team Deep Double Sink!

  8. Caitlyn says

    My boyfriend and I are looking into buying or probably building a house, and one of the things I think will be most important to me in the kitchen are the countertops and the sink. I think the faucet on the side thing does kind of prove to be genius even though I hate the lack of symmetry. I grew up with a double sink, but it was not like what you had in your old house, there was a large section and then a really small one that would be good for soaking something small or washing produce, whatever, and that’s what I want. We currently live in an apt. with a very small single sink, so I want a big sink in my real life house, but I don’t want to have to fill up the whole thing for washing stuff by hand, dishes or clothes, so I think something like a 20/80 or 40/60 double sink would be best.

  9. NancyS says

    I went from a deep double to a deep single, well, a 90/10. The little side has the disposal – decision mistake. I love the extra deep single though I miss a drying side also. Since I use my dishwasher 99% of the time, I too purchased a drying mat. Problem solved. If I had the space I would go with a trough sink ………….. hands down.

    • Sarah W. in Oregon says

      We also put in a 90/10 with our kitchen remodel. Big mistake. Food bits always end up in the big sink, so you have to clean the drain screen out in the little sink with the disposal. and the little sink is too small for any function. Hopefully our comments will prevent others from making the same mistake.

    • says

      I never understood why people put the disposal in the short part, but I’ve seen it a lot. Maybe it’s to accomodate the motor? Seems really irritating to me.

  10. Lindsay says

    I use a drying pad now, but I also have a rack. After the dishes are dry, I slip it into the cupboard under the sink (letting it lean up against the side so it takes up little room).

    • Lindsay says

      My question is, in my double sink, one side is to wash, and one side is to RINSE (so as not to run water into the dishwater because I use cold to rinse, I don’t know why). I think it would be hard for me to rinse into the same sink….?

    • says

      I have to agree..I use my other side to rinse the soapy dishes in. Doesn’t everyone rinse? I don’t like leaving the water running to rinse, that’s like leaving the tap running while I brush my teeth! I just toss a dishcloth onto the counter and lay my dishes out on that and then hand dry them. Or I have the minions do it. Then I just toss the wet clothes into the wash, or hang them up on the stove to dry if they weren’t soaking. (which, with kids rinsing, they usually end up more than a little wet!)

      I have a dishwasher too, but doing them by hand promotes a little more responsibility among the kids (those clean dishes don’t just magically appear in the cupboards!!) and I like the job to be over and done!

    • Jenni says

      Yes, I agree–I don’t get it either. I have always had a double (or when I lived in the UK the one with the big and mini sinks and the drainer space). I don’t think I could do without (unless I had a huge sink) because I fill up one side with sudsy water and rinse in the other (I think this is more efficient, and I don’t leave the tap running the whole time). While I still wish for a dish washer, I do like my apt’s retro double sink with the drainers on both sides (it’s the same one as in Breakfast at Tiffany’s!)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *