Does the sink HAVE to be in front of a window?

lisa0527August 8, 2011

Just finalizing our layout, and the corner sink issue has come up. Our kitchen is small and every square foot of counter space is valuable. My husband insists that the sink has to go in the corner, in front of the 2 corner windows (42" diagonal cab). I want to put the sink against an inside wall to maximize the lenght of the counter runs. I hate how corner sinks are such an inefficient use of counter space!

Does anyone have a sink that is NOT under a window?? Any pics would be helpful in persuading my husband to at least consider it.


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My husband and I are building (with a contractor) and the houseplan we chose originally had a corner sink, with a window to your left, but not one to your right, as that was an interior wall. I had seen it in actuality and disliked the style. At first I had it shifted over to the exterior wall, but then it pushed the dishwasher and fridge (which didn't have many places it could go) out into the smallish dining area. So what we did was leave the window centered on the exterior wall, but we moved the sink/dishwasher to the counter (which has a backsplash and then a raised bar behind that) facing the living room. At first I wasn't sure if it'd look odd, but now I like the idea that I'll be able to watch the kiddos playing and/or have conversations with anybody sitting @ the bar. For a picture of this arangement, go to Hall Quality Builders on Facebook and look @ their "interior pictures" album :)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:28AM
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In my previous abode, my sink faced a wall.

Having a window to look through is usually better than staring at a wall.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:29AM
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So what would you look at out that sink window? Is it a good view? Is there a better view in a different direction which might actually prove to be a more interesting feature of the room even if sink-less?

I think windows are very important but a sink window might be overrated, unless it's got a good view.

My view out three windows on cleanup sink side of the room is of a street, the neighbors' many vehicles, and foot and vehicle traffic as well as my frontyard and my own vehicles. On Mondays I can watch garbage & recycle trucks all morning. In afternoons esp in winter I get a lot of direct afternoon sun which I frequently block with "top down/bottom up" shades. Additionally, I don't like to be in the room alone when the lights are on and I can be seen from street--so I put shades halfway up for privacy. If you're looking at a shade or curtain much of the day, it isn't as charming as a fine view. I'm finding that I enjoy a window on a different wall much more--it looks away from the street and we're going to put a bird feeder out there in winter. (That window was supposed to be the sink window in an earlier previous plan.) My mother had a bird feeder right outside her backyard-facing sink and she loved it. Very different from my kitchen.

We have a large prep sink on the peninsula which looks into a wall. I've put a rotating selection of art pieces on that wall. I stand at this sink at least as much as the cleanup sink and it doesn't phase me to have my back to the windows. But then, I listen to radio or recorded books a lot and if others are in the room they're likely at the peninsula so I'm not focusing on the view.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 6:50AM
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I prefer a sink in front of a window but seeing so many kitchens photos here on GW, I have come to appreciate all different kind of layouts. In the case of a small kitchen, function should probably out weigh form. Walk through the layout with your husband as if you were preparing a meal. If the sink were here, I could do this....etc. I can understand his point but will he be the one cooking, cleaning etc in this kitchen?
I have had a corner sink in my summer home and a sink facing a wall in a galley kitchen. Both homes had other sources of natural light and it never bothered me.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:46AM
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Here are some images, hope they help you.

Corner sink by windows... I know this what hubbie wants
but I thought you could at least see it.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 7:52AM
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Everyone carries a mental model inside, about what the thing is or has to be built as.

Over the last 24 months I've written a few times that to clear one's head of all these "requirements" one can layout one's kitchen 1st pretending there are no walls, then 2nd with the existing walls but disregarding dumb externalities like windows and drains. It frees your mind, removing these details. Later one can add these details back into the thinking process, in order to deselect a few options.

I'm sure you've seen funny cartoons showing a committee's result of "the familiar tree swing" and other ways of building a tree swing. Earlier this year in this kitchen forum we saw a lousy layout in a high end house where they had put the sink in a lousy place..... and the only reason we could see WHY that happened was once again because of the window. It happens often.

There will be tons of daylight when your sink is not at the window. I feel it's better to daylight the counter than the sink. It's been commented before, that dark colored Silgranit sinks are great because they hide the minor smudges that can drive you crazy into excessive overkill cleaning when you have a light colored sink. After all, good enough is good enough. I would NOT want to have loads of daylight shining into my sink when I could have that same daylight shining onto my countertop. Your sink will still be acceptably clean and you won't be blinded by the daylight coming in sideways instead of directly onto the sink. Whether it's stainless, white enamel, colored, whatever.

Since you wrote "... Our kitchen is small and every square foot of counter space is valuable..." please see the remarks in the small space kitchen discussion. A small space kitchen is so small that it needs ...

Here is a link that might be useful: A small space kitchen is so small that it needs ...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 9:08AM
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I moved a sink from center of a large window to the corner on an angle. The island replaced the sink cabinet. The sink looked out the dining room windows doing this. A move to give more counter space. Found a butcher block table from yore (which were made better than today) and used the top in counter opening where sink was. Much more goes on at the butcher block prep than at the sink.

Now in another home and am considering doing the same. This time with a single sink. I do have enough counter space, but everyone seems to gather in the darn corner between stove and sink. Adding the counter space would be wonderful. I wish I had a clue as to why they won't use any of the other space. Daughter says it is because they love each other. I remind her of sibling rivelry entered into, so much for her reasoning.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:02AM
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My sink is under a window now, and I'm pretty sure that I'll be moving it and putting prep space in that position instead when I finally get to doing this renovation. My logic is that I spend very little time at the sink during daylight hours (we save up what little hand-washing there is to do until the evening), and I'd rather be able to look out that window while I'm prepping. The view isn't stunning but it's an area where my little son and the neighbors' kids play, so I like the idea of being able to glance up and see what they're doing. The 10 min a day I spend at the sink will not be any worse if I've got nothing but a backsplash to glance up at during that time. Honestly, I don't think I do much looking around when I'm washing dishes, anyway.

So I guess I'm saying is you should think about how you really spend your time in the kitchen and choose your sink placement to best suit your work style.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:10AM
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i don't have any windows in my kitchen (previous owners did an add on to the back which closed off the 1 window. they left the window, which looked into a stairwell :))

we redid the entire kitchen and moved the sink to the opposite side of the kitchen & knocked down a wall between the kitchen & living room. now when standing at my sink i look into the living room (or at people sitting at the peninsula. fortunately i get alot of sunlight from the living room windows.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 11:18AM
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The view out of the window is actually very nice...but we'd still see it with the sink moved 4 feet to the left. In fact we'd be able to get closer to the windows and enjoy it even more.
Boxerpups...thanks so much for the photos! I'll sit him down and have a look tonight. I'm sure it will help him visualize how it could look.
One day I'll figure out how to post a floorplan!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 11:25AM
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I haven't read through everyone else's responses, so if I'm just parroting what someone else already mentioned... oh well. I like a sink with a window in front of it, but it really doesn't matter. Here's why: when you're at the sink doing dishes or peeling carrots into the disposal or filling the coffee pot, do you look out the window? No, you look down at what you're doing - you're looking at the sink and the faucet or the object you're holding. How many times are you going to just stand at the sink, doing nothing except looking outside? Windows are great, but more importantly is valuable counter space. You already have the windows, so I would recommend positioning the sink in a more practical way.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 11:34AM
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You do NOT have to put a sink in front of the window. In fact (IMHO), the paradigm of "sink in front of the window" is a hold over from before dishwashers...when people spent far more time cleaning up, including washing & drying all dishes. Today, far more time is spent prepping, so, functionally, it actually makes more sense to have the sink off to one side with the prep counter in front of the window (or, if it's an island, to have the Prep Zone on the island rather than the Cleanup Zone).

Corner sinks, corner cooktops, corner ovens, corner ranges, corner refrigerators, etc., all take up a very large amount of space. For example, a 30" to 33" cabinet (sink base, oven, cooktop) or range takes up approx 48" on each wall. In a small kitchen, that's a lot of counter space. With a sink, you also have to remember that you need a cabinet b/w the sink base and the DW that's at least 12" wide, 18" is better.

If you have plenty of counter space where it counts...e.g., at least 36" in your Prep Zone (usually b/w the sink and range/cooktop or across on a peninsula or island) AND sufficient work & landing space around each appliance (e.g., 18" to 24" on each side of a range/cooktop, on at least one side of the refrigerator and oven, and above or next to the MW), then go ahead and put the sink under a window or a sink or appliance in a corner.

If it's still an issue, try posting your layout here for review/ideas. You'd be surprised what people here can come up with! [See the "Layout Help" topic in the "Read Me" thread.]

Here is a link that might be useful: New To Kitchens? Posting Pics? Read Me!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 12:25PM
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FWIW - I had a corner sink in our old kitchen and absolutely hated it. The space below was awful as you could not see anything inside because the cab opening was blocked as soon as you tried to reach in. Things went in the cab, but soon got lost.
I also hated trying to clean behind the sink into the corner. I'd have to lay across the top of the sink to even reach near the back. I am almost 5'5", so it is not like I was too short...

In our new kitchen, our sink is on a blank wall at the moment that will soon have a bs with feature (when money allows). It is no big deal whatsoever to look at a wall. In our old setup there was a cab over our sink that felt close to my face. This new way, I have room to breathe. Our windows are by our table area in our kitchen, where the view is more important. Our prep area is on the island so that I can watch tv while prepping or converse with anyone in the den or dining room. I also listen to books on tape when cooking, so the view is not important. I am engrossed in whatever story, so that keeps my mind occupied while my hands are busy.

If facing a wall would bother you, you could always put up a mirror to see what is going on behind you, but frankly, who is looking around while at the sink? I do what I have to do and move on. I don't linger to enjoy any view. In our previous house, there was a window behind the sink, but it faced the street side of the house, so we kept the blinds closed. It was a total waste.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:16PM
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Definitely not a requirement to have a window over the sink! Google "Things That Inspire" blog and then look at her categories on right hand side -- I know she did a blog post a while back on this very topic and showed images of gorgeous kitchens without sinks over the window.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 1:46PM
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Hey...she did a follow up post on this topic just today, with some great images:

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 2:23PM
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I've worked as a kitchen designer for the past 6 years and during that period designed many kitchen that did not have the sink in front of the window. With that being said, if circumstances allow for it, it is the obvious destination choice. Remember, This is YOUR kitchen and at the end of the day, you must decide what is a more functional and visually appealing to your tastes/preferences.

Here is a link that might be useful: Kitchen Cabinet Kings Kitchen & Bathroom Remodeling Blog

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 4:51PM
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I'd say NOT...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 8:02PM
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Well,you've gotten your answer, but I'll just pile in too. There's probably no single item that causes more layout problems on this forum than the pervasive assumption that the sink should be in front of a window--centered, of course, everything else giving way to that, regardless of tradeoffs.

The sink in front of window didn't just come before dishwashers, it came before supermarket produce departments AND before air conditioning. In those days women spent long, long, long hours through the heat of summer and fall at the sink preparing fruits and vegetables from the garden for canning, scrubbing away dirt, cutting out rot and bugs, etc., until they could sit down and start peeling and shelling, etc.

We mercifully don't have to work that way anymore. How about using a stop watch to time your tasks in the kitchen to see where you do most of it? Or looking up one of the more current studies on this? By far most of my time, and all my fun time, is spent prepping and cooking, so my prize space was assigned to that function--and I love my kitchen for it.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 8:19PM
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Funny, I just decided today to move the sink to an interior wall. I am switching the range with the sink and not putting in the window that is called for in the plans. It will make venting the range much much easier and cheaper and I would have had no view outside the window anyway. I'll do some sort of inset tile design above the sink. I was a little nervous that it would look slightly strange, but after reading this post, I feel much better, so thanks!!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2011 at 10:45PM
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Thank you so much for all of your advice and photos. We're meeting with the GC and cabinet fabricator in a few hours and I'm hoping that we can agree to move the sink to an interior wall. It just makes sense in this kitchen.

    Bookmark   August 9, 2011 at 10:37AM
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