Article By: Tiffany Carboni
One sink or two? This is the classic debate for couples renovating a sizable master bathroom. There are pros and cons to both. So what's right for your bathroom? I spoke with architect Thayer Hopkins, who offered up what you need to consider about installing either a single or double sink during your master suite remodel.
“Couples these days usually prefer the idea of two sinks for one simple reason,” says Hopkins. “They lead busy lives and need access to the bathroom at the same time."
On paper the double sink looks ideal. But let's walk through this two-sided argument.
Some Benefits of 2 Sinks
Personal space. With two sinks, theoretically no one will ever again spit toothpaste on your hand as you're trying to wash up. Also, your very own sink means you can keep your makeup, moisturizers or shaving kit out as necessary without having your partner knock anything over.
And by having your own designated sink, you don’t have to stare at your partner's toothpaste residue while you're brushing your own teeth. Even in the best of partnerships, there are some things that neither of you want to see of the other.
Two sinks can help make you and your partner feel like you're in a loving, adult relationship rather than siblings fighting over a single faucet.
Some Disadvantages of 2 Sinks
“The convenience of two sinks has its tradeoffs to consider,” Hopkins notes.
Cost. It costs more to plumb two sinks than one. Add to that the additional cost of finishes and a larger vanity.
Space. A typical sink basin is about 17 to 19 inches wide. “If there isn’t a solid 6 feet or more available for two sinks, I will counsel clients to stick with just one sink basin,” says Hopkins.“These 6 feet or more will give the minimum 11- to 12-inch buffer needed between basins to keep a couple from banging elbows and crowding each other out.”
Even if you do have a good amount of space, two sinks will eat into counter space that could be used for tasks, displays etc. Two sinks will also double the amount of undercabinet space taken up by the double drain pipes.
If you've got ample storage or counter space elsewhere in the bathroom, this space tradeoff may not pose any problems.
Two-sink styles you can both agree on. The prefabricated two-sink vanity is one of the easiest styles to choose and install in a bathroom because of its fixed dimensions. In other words, there's no guessing if elbow clearance might be an issue for you and your partner. You can see for yourself in the showroom or tape out the dimensions prior to ordering a vanity online to test the sink measurements.
Custom vanities offer even more benefits, as they can be tailored to your exact wishes. But you and your partner have to be willing to work with a designer or cabinetmaker to cull through the endless possibilities.
You can also use two freestanding pedestal sinks, either for aesthetics or to overcome any space limitations, as they can be put side by side or on separate walls. “Pedestal sinks have made a resurgence in the last 10 to 15 years," Hopkins says. "As a result, there’s more product available to suit different needs.”
If you don’t need the counter space or storage space in a vanity, two pedestals will create an airy feel that may sway your choice.
You can also use a single basin with two separate faucets.
This sort of double sink performs duties for two people while acting like one sink underneath with its single drain, which leads us to …
The Benefits of the Single Sink
Leaves room for other amenities. “I might push for a couple to install only one sink if there’s a possibility of using that extra space for a separate shower and tub instead,” says Hopkins.
Cost and cleaning. One sink, with one hardware set, is cheaper than two, and one sink is easier to clean than two.
More storage. You can have more storage underneath if there's only one drainpipe. If you’re the kind of person who loves to pull out every bit of makeup, you’re going to get frustrated if you don't have enough room for it because of that extra sink.
More counter space. You can get a lot more usable counter space if there’s only one basin. More countertop space equals more display opportunities and more room for your everyday toiletries.