Traditionally, apron sinks are smooth, wide rectangular sinks made of ceramic or porcelain, with an iconic front-facing bib traditionally associated with farmhouse design. But recently this type of sink has gained both popularity and variety, and is now available in a wide range of materials that work with more than just a cottage decor. If you’d like your sink to be a major focal point of your kitchen, an apron sink is an ideal choice – you just need to choose the right material to match your style.
Shop Fireclay kitchen sinks by Rohl:
Fireclay is perhaps the most traditional choice for a farmhouse sink, and one that has come to the fore as porcelain sinks have fallen somewhat out of favor. Made of fine white clay and glazed and fired at very high heat, fireclay is extremely dense and non-porous, meaning that it’s very, very durable, and resistant to many of the common problems that plague porcelain like staining, chipping, acid, and heat. With a simple white finish, fireclay apron sinks have a beautiful, clean appearance typically associated with a cottage, farmhouse, or French country style, but simple enough to work with almost any decor.
Shop Copper Single Bowl kitchen sinks by Premier Copper:
For something a little more elegant than the traditional white farmhouse sink, look for apron sinks made of copper. These are often artisan made, either with a simple hand-hammered surface or with a more intricate, stylized design on the front panel. These stand in sharp contrast to a plain white apron sink, with a rich natural patina and highly detailed surface that’s well suited to a more regal space, rather than the humble farmhouse. As a bonus, copper sinks are easy to clean, and the naturally antiseptic properties of the material means that germs won’t last on the surface of the sink for more than an hour.
Shop Copper Double Bowl kitchen sinks by Premier Copper:
Shop Single Bowl kitchen sinks by Vigo:
But apron sinks no longer need to be paired with an old fashioned decor, either a simple one or a more sophisticated style. In fact, stainless steel apron sinks are a highly modern choice, more reminiscent of a restaurant kitchen than one belonging to a turn of the century farm wife. Stainless steel sinks are often also quite a bit less expensive than other materials, but stand up well to rough and frequent use. Adding an apron to a stainless steel sink gives it a more polished, sophisticated finish, and a simple brushed or satin finish matches well with modern stainless steel appliances.
Shop Double Bowl kitchen sinks by Vigo:
Shop kitchen sinks by Herbeau:
The most traditional apron sinks have a smooth, slightly curved rectangular surface, but these days many sinks of every type of material are being made with patterned faces. Elaborate floral or other detailing, as on the copper sink above, is a great way to make the sink a major focal point of the kitchen, while a simpler trim around the face of the sink can echo molding or other architectural features in the kitchen. A farmhouse sink with a fluted face pairs very well with bead board or plank style walls, while a simple hammered finish on a copper or stainless steel sink will give it a more rustic style that works well with a ranch or cabin style.
One Bowl Or Two?
Shop kitchen sinks by Sierra Copper:
Historically, apron sinks are single bowl sinks, designed for soaking and washing large quantities of produce or dishes. These large sinks streamline prep and cleanup in a kitchen that services a large family, which is why they’re still quite common in traditional fireclay sinks as well as in the more culinary oriented stainless steel sinks. But large single bowl sinks tend to fill with water very slowly, and may not be the most efficient choice for a smaller family. Luckily, many apron sinks now come in two (and sometimes even three) bowl varieties, making it easier to sort and separate dishes or food rather than putting them all in a single basin at once.
It’s very, very important to keep in mind, though, that no matter what style your kitchen or material your sink, farmhouse or apron sinks are not just like your ordinary drop in or undermount sinks, and can’t just be installed into any average sized hole. For a farmhouse sink to work, you’ll need to install custom cabinetry (or a workaround, as with the fabric skirt above), including a notch cut out in front of the cabinets and counter top to accommodate the front. Also, because apron sinks can be very, very heavy – especially filled with water and dishes – you’ll need to build extra support underneath it to hold the whole thing up.
Shop kitchen sinks by Whitehaus:
What do you think of the resurgence in popularity of the apron sink? Do you prefer a more traditional style, or like some of the newer looks?