What is a Vessel Sink?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Most bathroom sinks installed on counters or in vanities, have a recessed portion so that the top of the sink is aligned with or slightly below the rest of the counter. This typical look has been around for a long time. Another look that has actually also been present for a while but is now growing greatly in popularity is the vessel sink. In this style, the bottom of the sink lines up with the counter, and the sink rises above it. Alternately, occasionally the sink is partially recessed in the counter, with still a considerable amount far above it.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

The vessel sink is widely available in many beautiful styles and in lots of different materials. A number of decorators refer to it as a pared down but ultra-modern interpretation of the bathroom sink, even though it’s not that new. As with most sinks, prices can be moderate when purchasing at places like home hardware stores, or they can be very expensive if the sink is created by one of the higher end bathroom designers.

Though the vessel sink is often depicted in glass, there are many different materials that are used to make them. Wood, copper and stone sinks are popular too. Some of the sinks do have a bowl shape, but others may be square or rectangular or they may be near flat oblongs. Sink shape is only limited by its requirement that it will adequately drain when water runs into it.

There is an issue with some vessel sinks. They may not have not any type of overflow feature. This might not be a problem for the person who is extraordinarily careful, but people who have kids that may use the sink should consider investing in one with an overflow feature. These are a little bit more difficult to install, however.

The issue of installation is important since sinks tend not to come with faucets and these have to be installed separately. It’s important to get guidelines on exactly where to place faucets, especially when using a vessel sink without great depth. The water generally needs to flow into the direct center of the sink, or these vessels become water-wasters, splashing water out of the vessel sink in every direction.

Height is another important consideration when people choose to install these sinks. On a countertop that is already high, the lip of the sink may increase height too much and make simple tasks like washing the hands or brushing teeth unmanageable. Most are advised to choose counters or bases that place the sink top at approximately three feet (.91 m) tall, though this may be higher or lower, depending on individual height.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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