Do You Need A Second Sink? Examining The Trend Towards Two Sink Kitchens

Adding a second sink is starting to show up on a lot of kitchen to-do lists. It’s one of those features that you probably wouldn’t even think to want if you hadn’t heard of it before, but makes so much sense when you do. Having a second sink, whether a small prep sink or a second full sized one, can solve a whole host of common kitchen annoyances. But before you give in to the instant-want for this feature, take a little time to ask yourself: do you really need it?

Remember: Sinks Need Plumbing

The Sinks Should Be Far Apart To Be Worthwhile, But Not So Far That The Plumbing Becomes Prohibitively Expensive (by Jeffrey Harrington Homes, photo by Zvonkovic Photography)
The Sinks Should Be Far Apart To Be Worthwhile, But Not So Far That The Plumbing Becomes Prohibitively Expensive (by Jeffrey Harrington Homes, photo by Zvonkovic Photography)

A secondary sink isn’t right for every kitchen, and in some cases can be a lot of trouble and expense for something you might not even use. Because even small sinks will need both a water supply and a drain line, this is a project that should only be undertaken as part of a larger remodel, and before you so much as start looking at a sink, you should consult a contractor about the cost (and feasibility) of plumbing the area you have in mind.

Size Matters

A Kitchen This Big Can Easily Justify Having Two Sinks (by Tervola Designs)
A Kitchen This Big Can Easily Justify Having Two Sinks (by Tervola Designs)

If plumbing can be run to your ideal spot, and you can afford to have it done, you should ask yourself what need the sink is going to fill – and whether or not the sink you have already does it. Second sinks work better the bigger your kitchen is; even in a moderately sized kitchen, it isn’t a big trip from one end to another, and while a secondary sink might save you a few steps while making your coffee in the morning, if there isn’t much space between the two sinks, it might not be worth it. For example, I’ve seen kitchens that have two sinks side by side, which seems unnecessary at best, while very large kitchens with two obviously separate prep stations almost demand two separate sinks.

Who Does The Cooking?

Two Sink Kitchen (by Workshop/apd)
Two Sink Kitchen (by Workshop/apd)

Where a two-sink set up really shines, though, is in kitchens that are frequently used by more than one person at once. For a family that cooks together or a couple that entertains, having only one source of running water can be a pain. Adding a second sink can allow two people to work comfortably in the same space without rubbing elbows. Though, again, this really works better the bigger the kitchen, as even a small sink can monopolize the counter space in a too-small kitchen.

More Than One Work Area?

Butler's Pantry With Prep Sink (by Venegas and Company)
Butler’s Pantry With Prep Sink (by Venegas and Company)

Secondary kitchen sinks are great for a second prep space, but it’s important to figure out ahead of time where the prep space is and why you need it. For example, having a second sink on the far side of a large kitchen island makes sense – it allows the space to be used for prep and easily be cleaned up without forcing you to walk all the way around to get back to a sink. Separate prep spaces can also be nice if you have a dedicated baking station where you keep basic ingredients and appliances but don’t want to have to cross the kitchen to add water or wash your hands. Finally, if you have a very large, butler style pantry including a second sink in that space can save a lot of foot traffic.

Will Just A Faucet Do?

Grace Pot Filler In Satin Nickel From Blanco
Grace Pot Filler In Satin Nickel From Blanco

If your primary reason for wanting a second sink is that you don’t want to have to tote a heavy container of water around your kitchen, installing a second sink might actually not be the best option. If you often make large quantities of soup or pasta, installing a pot filler into the backsplash above or counter alongside your kitchen range is a much more efficient solution, as it allows you to fill pots, pans, and kettles directly on the stove. For those who want a faster, simpler way to brew coffee or tea in the morning, installing a second sink near your espresso machine or coffee setup can work, but adding a drinking water faucet to your primary sink, combined with a point of use water heater and an undercounter water filter can actually get you better water that’s hotter, faster.

What About Entertaining

Kitchen Island With Bar Style Sink For Entertaining (by Dwell Design Studio)
Kitchen Island With Bar Style Sink For Entertaining (by Dwell Design Studio)

If you entertain frequently, adding a second, wet bar style sink can allow you easily sit and serve drinks without having to leave your guests for repeated trips across the kitchen. Though this is a feature more commonly associated with a home bar than a kitchen, in a sufficiently large kitchen – either with a large kitchen island with multiple seats, or a kitchen with a separate eating nook – even a relatively small sink can add significant convenience for entertainers.

What about you? What has you in the market for a second sink, and how do you plan to use it? Let me know in the comments!