A classic farmhouse sink is a highly-coveted kitchen feature—and for good reason. Farmhouse sinks are beautiful, spacious, and timeless, plus they add a distinctive look to any kitchen they're placed in. But before you make the splurge on this pricey kitchen feature, there are a few factors you should consider. Most kitchen renovators don't realize until after they install their farmhouse sink how easily fragile dishware will break in it, or how much work is required to keep a white porcelain sink clean. To avoid any surprises or regrets later, consider these six factors now, keeping in mind how you typically use your kitchen sink, including your cooking and dishwashing habits.
1. Dishes Will Break More Easily
The deep basin of a farmhouse sink—the same reason this style sink is ideal for washing dishes—makes it more likely you'll accidentally break glasses and dishes. Setting stemmed wine glasses next to the sink is a surefire way to lose a few glasses, as they're likely to get knocked over into the porcelain bowl. When Zoe Gowen from Southern Living realized this one downside to her beloved farmhouse sink, she found a solution: a sink protector ($18, amazon.com) that could save her glasses, while simultaneously guarding the sink against scratches.
2. It Will Get Stained (And Potentially Chipped)
If you opt for a classic white porcelain farmhouse sink, it's very likely to get stained, and it will require regular cleaning to keep it sparkling. Scrubbing the sink with baking soda will help remove sauce stains, yet this mild abrasive won't scratch the surface. If you don't want to commit to cleaning your sink often, you may want to consider getting a farmhouse-style sink in another material besides porcelain, such as stainless steel.
If you cook often with cast iron pans or other heavy cookware, there's also a chance you could chip a porcelain sink. Being careful when washing the dishes and investing in a protective sink mat will help avoid chips.
3. They’re Not Just for Farmhouse Kitchens
Although apron-front sinks are a common design choice for farmhouse-style kitchens, they also work in kitchens of many other styles. A sleek stainless steel apron-front sink fits seamlessly into a modern kitchen, while a trendy concrete one complements an industrial-inspired kitchen.
If a large, deep sink basin works best for your cooking and dishwashing style, an apron-front sink could be the most practical choice for you, no matter your home decor style. Consider all of the material options below to find one that matches your home's aesthetic.
4. There Are Other Options Besides Porcelain
When you think of a farmhouse sink, it's likely a pristine white porcelain one that comes to mind. But there are many other options available, so be sure to pick one that best matches your kitchen design and lifestyle. For example, stainless steel is durable and won't chip like porcelain. Copper is another popular option for its beautiful color, but it will develop a patina over time and will need to be polished if you want to minimize the effects of oxidation. If you want the look of porcelain but at a slightly lower cost and with less maintenance, fireclay could be your best bet. A polished marble farmhouse sink adds a luxurious look to a kitchen, but it comes at a higher price and will need to be resealed every few years.
5. Consider Your Kitchen Habits Before Choosing Single vs. Double Basin
As with many types of sinks, farmhouse sinks come in both single- and double-bowl designs. This choice should be considered as carefully as the sink material. Think about the way you cook and dish wash. Do you do a lot of food prep in your sink? A large single-bowl sink could be the right choice. Do you like to tackle some of the dishes while dinner is cooking? A double-basin sink that lets you wash dishes on one side without disturbing the rinsed salad greens on the other side could be for you.
6. You’ll Likely Have to Adjust Your Countertops
If you're planning to upgrade to a farmhouse sink in your current kitchen, you may have to change your countertops. Because farmhouse sinks are wider and deeper than standard sinks, your countertop (and potentially the cabinets below) will need to be adjusted to make room. And if you're installing a heavy porcelain or stone option, you'll need to check that the cabinets below can handle the weight, or else they may need to be reinforced. Even if you're able to keep your current cabinets, you'll likely need to repaint or touch-up the fronts following the sink installation.
This article originally appeared on Real Simple.
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