question for those with main sink in island (entertaining)

illinigirlAugust 4, 2013

This question is for those who have their main sink in their island. It is about entertaining guests. Does having the main sink in your island deter guests from sitting at your island? Do you serve food from your island and do guests eat at your island? How do you find this layout to affect entertaining overall?

I am 95% sure I want my main sink in my island. I believe this setup will be ideal for our family about 97% of the time. There are a couple situations I'm unsure about mainly dealing with entertaining. My typical style of entertaining is 1) rare frequency
2) closest friends only
3) casual- drinks with snacks or football games with bbq style foods or snacks.

I would like to use my island to serve up foods and snacks, and I would hope my guests (as is in my current home with peninsula serving/eating/seating) would continue to gravitate towards my kitchen for these activities.

Does anyone find their guest are deterred from these activities at the island because of the sink being there?

A couple of precautions I'm proposing to take is to 1) offset my sink to one side to give a good run of counter space for this and
2) make my island extra deep-5 feet- to maximize the distance anyone would have to be on the seating side from the sink.
3) using a fitted cutting board to cover up the sink area if necessary
4) I'm really good about keeping the sink and counters free of dirty dishes. I keep that dishwasher moving and emptied ready for any incoming dishes so they don't accumulate in the sink.


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Connie K

I have an island without a sink, and in my kitchen, I think the sink would deter the entertainment factor. But my friend has her sink in her island, but off to the side, and it works very well for entertaining. In fact, I don't even think about the sink being there.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 6:47PM
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I have an island like you describe, with the offset sink and extra depth, and it's excellent for entertaining. Mine is 4.5 feet deep and that is plenty of depth for serving food behind the sink, and for people to sit. Five feet will be super-spacious for you.

The sink does not deter guest from sitting at all. The island chairs are always the first to get used!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:25PM
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I have an island that is 8 x 4. The sink is centered in the island, which is a full slab at counter height. I am also very good about cleaning as I go and keeping the sink clean most of the time. As taggie says above, the island seating is always the first to go!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 7:55PM
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I have my main sink in the island. It is centered, and I would prefer if it were not centered, giving a longer stretch of counter on one side. At any rate, it does not deter people from sitting at the island. I do get water rolling across the island if I am not careful.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:25PM
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In my current kitchen I have what is essentially an island with the main sink centered on it. It totally deters people from sitting at my bar, but you have avoided what I think are our problems: 1) It's a bar height counter where people are supposed to sit. It feels like a big wall and makes people feel cut off if they sit over there. 2) It isn't deep enough. The seating area is only 15" deep so there just isn't enough space for them to sit and eat and feel separate from the sink. If it were deeper, maybe it would be more inviting?
But I don't think you'll have either problem.

Twobelles, I would love to see pictures of your island! The design for our new kitchen has an island with exactly the same dimensions. Only our prep sink would be on it, but seeing yours for inspiration would be great.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 8:27PM
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I have a hard time with the word "main" wrt sinks...and found it more useful to describe the functions (prep, cleanup). A cleanup sink has to be a bit bigger to fit large pans, but more time is spent at prep.

Cabinets are generally 24" deep, appliances are often 30" wide, so rectangular islands maximize both storage and surface space. Remember to consider how you will reach to clean the surface. Overhangs are important - be aware of the guidelines, the room you need to "hide" the stools underneath, etc. And consider electric outlets, where will they be?

Don't let your island be a barrier, getting in the way of function. You probably need trash at both sinks, what about garbage disposal, compost, recycling?

I'm excited and more than a little nervous about my big island. At 63x90 it will be a dominant feature in the kitchen, and the house. It will hold the prep/cooking sink, have seating for 4, GD/trash/recycling, counter runs for rolling out dough and electric/storage for using appliances.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 9:15PM
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thanks for your responses so far. It's doing a good job at easing my remaining hesitation of the main sink in the island. As far as terminology, for me, I think main might be only. I'm not sure if I even need a prep sink, but of course if it turns out to be that I do I'll try to include it. I'm planning on separating my prep and cleanup zones with this sink by putting the dishwasher next to the sink outside of the cook/prep zone.

I do have the trash/recycle planned for the other side of the sink, inside the prep zone.

Cleaning the surface, well, I have to go around to the other side to clean the floors anyways so I'll wipe down that side of the counter at that time. I can't avoid it, but I won't be able to avoid walking around to that side anyways. My kids are messy eaters and floors and stools need at least a quick wipe after each meal/snack.

I'm starting to feel a little more confident about my choice, and when I get a CAD back from the KD I'll post it for more layout help.

Please continue to provide input on this! Thank you!

    Bookmark   August 4, 2013 at 9:47PM
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My island is 9'-6" x 4'-10" with the (only) sink centered in the island. Is is no problem at all for entertaining. I don't think anyone is deterred from sitting across from it. A 5' deep island will be very nice!

I could have done an off-set sink, but I feel like there is plenty of space on either side to work, and I do cook a lot, and we frequently have 6-20 people here.

9' x 5' will be plenty big, IMO, and really nice for entertaining no matter where the sink is placed.

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 5, 2013 at 9:21PM
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