Stylish Workstations – Kitchen & Bath Design News


ith their essential role in food preparation and clean up, kitchen sinks and faucets can’t be an afterthought. And though their functional capacity is critical, the aesthetic of the water station is also important, serving either as a focal point or blending seamlessly into the kitchen.

“Overall, homeowners want their kitchen environments to be a sociable, welcoming place for healthy living, with simple, clean designs,” says Justin Storm, director of category management at House of Rohl in Irvine, CA. “Trending kitchen sink and faucet styles tend to evoke a transitional, timeless look with contemporary and organic designs. In particular, workstation sinks are becoming increasingly popular, and faucets that create a focal point within the space are trending.”

Workstation sinks are in high demand, adding flexibility and functionality to the kitchen sink area. Gabby Vonigas, director of sales – southeast for The Galley, based in Tulsa, OK, remarks, “The Galley is the category creator and the Original Kitchen Workstation and, since the launch of the brand, we have seen a significant departure from traditional sinks towards our pioneering kitchen workstations. We firmly believe that the future of kitchens will increasingly discard conventional kitchen sinks in favor of kitchen workstations.”

Finish and style are highly individual choices, dependent on personal style and space. A combination of styles is becoming more prevalent in the kitchen sink area. “Every space is different, but we see a lot of style mixing between sink/faucet color, finishes and textures no matter the size of the space. With both small and large kitchen layouts, we find people are choosing products that give them an emotional feeling, whether it’s ‘dopamine décor,’ nostalgic pulls or personal expression,” offers Maris Borris, industrial designer for Delta Faucet in Indianapolis, IN. 

Other top considerations for kitchen sinks and faucets include technology that enhances convenience and hygiene, growing interest in matte finishes and composite sinks, and putting space to its best possible use. That’s according to manufacturers recently surveyed by Kitchen & Bath Design News.

Efficient Workspace

One of the largest trends manufacturers see for both sinks and faucets is a desire to do more in a single space. From prep to clean up, sinks and faucets that are set up for multiple functions make the work of the kitchen easier. 

Borris notes that consumers are choosing kitchen products that are functional and drive experiences within the space. “For example, workstation sinks and glass rinsers are becoming more and more popular because they are designed to enhance the process and experience. These helpful innovations can benefit all users in the home in different ways and are designed to evolve with life,” she remarks.

Mark Webster, v.p. at Karran, based in Vincennes, IN notes that customers are looking for a multi-faceted food prep station. “We are seeing more and more sinks being offered with a wide array of useful accessories that integrate into the sink. These accessories enhance the functionality of the sink and make kitchen tasks more convenient. Not only are accessories included to enhance dishwashing, but food prep items such as cutting boards and colanders are included, making the sinks an all-in-one food prep and washing station,” he reports.

“More consumers are also requesting innovative, personalized products within their homes,” adds Storm. “For example, customizable sinks designed as a workstation to include cutting boards, drying racks and strainers make for seamless cooking and cleanup for day-to-day use or for hosting friends and family.”  

Jake Khoury, managing member at Nantucket Sinks based in North Kingstown, RI, adds that the company sees interest in rectangular sinks with accessory ledges for cutting boards. “Cutting boards seem to be the number one accessory asked for,” he observes.  

Faucets with multiple capabilities are also in demand, manufacturers say. “We continue to see a preference for sleek, multi-functional faucets that offer versatility and customization options to suit various kitchen styles and preferences,” stresses Danyel Tiefenbacher, senior brand manager for Pfister Faucets in Lake Forest, CA. 

“Something new and growing in popularity is the all-in-one faucet, meaning it delivers filtered, chilled, boiling and even sparkling water. It’s considered an intelligent and innovative faucet for the kitchen,” Webster explains.

There’s also an emphasis on water filtration systems and filtered water faucets that mount next to the kitchen faucet, adds Jeff Bierman, v.p. of sales at Dallas, TX-based Isenberg. “Leading sink companies are bundling these options together,” he says.

Timeless Combinations

While there are a range of options for faucet finish, the most popular choices are consistent with long-time trends. Manufacturers say there is also an uptick in demand for mixed finishes.

“The most common and dependable choice for kitchen faucets still seems to be in the stainless steel/brushed nickel category. It’s been around a long time and ties in well with stainless steel sinks,” offers Webster. “For those looking to add some pizzazz to their kitchen sink area, matte black, gunmetal gray and brushed gold are popular choices. And now customers are excited about mixed finishes, where a faucet comes with two finishes, such as matte black and brushed gold combined.” Style-wise, he continues, industrial-style faucets with features like exposed coils and angular designs are still trending upward. “These are contemporary looks that complement modern kitchens,” he says.

“Popular finishes for faucets still include stainless steel, matte black and polished chrome,” agrees Tiefenbacher. “Minimalist, sleek designs with pull-down or pull-out sprayers and smart features like touchless controls continue to be in demand,” he adds. 

“Matte and brushed faucet finishes in gold, stainless and black shades are very popular with designers and homeowners because they create a warm atmosphere within the kitchen,” says Storm. 

“For faucets, special finishes are continuing to take share within both the kitchen and bath,” notes Borris. “Matte black finishes are still a mainstay, and the champagne bronze finishes continue to grow year over year. In fact, matte black and champagne bronze were the top kitchen and bathroom finishes overall.”

“Many believe their primary kitchen faucet is a statement piece in their kitchens – the jewelry of the space This is often a place for self-expression in design,” Borris adds.

“A growing number of kitchen faucets are available in satin stainless, satin brass, satin gold and matte black to join the ever-reliable chrome and brushed nickel,” reports Bierman. “A new class of semi-pro ‘coiled’ kitchen faucets feature true pull-down capabilities, while two-handle bridge faucets are evolving into the modern and transitional design realms.”

Complementary Colors

According to manufacturers, stainless sinks remain the top choice but there is growing interest in composite and fireclay sinks as well.

“For sinks, stainless is a popular, timeless choice,” offers Bierman. “Quartz composite and fireclay materials have grown in configurations, sizes and colors and are available from a growing number of manufacturers, including Elkay, Blanco, Bocchi and Hamat. We are seeing exciting color options in quartz sinks and fireclay, with some companies like Isenberg offering color-matched kitchen faucets, soap dispensers and air switches.”

Webster says that stainless steel remains the market leader, due to its durability, versatility in design, and the fact that it’s a known commodity to consumers. “It is familiar to them and makes it a dependable choice,” he says.

However, he adds, the company continues to see the rise of other materials. “Quartz composite sinks continue to grow in popularity. Color options and durability are leading reasons why customers are going in this direction, as well as a growing number of workstation options being available in quartz composite,” he says.  

“Durability tied with low maintenance remain key deciding factors, and this has also led to an increase in fireclay sinks as they are exceptionally durable,” she adds.

“One of the major trends with kitchen sinks has been color,” observes Sally Edenfield, brand strategist for Ruvati USA, based in Round Rock, TX. “In the past, plain stainless steel was almost always the only option. Now, with new materials such as granite composite, fireclay and PVD-colored stainless steel, customers have a lot more options to go with a sink color that complements the overall style of their kitchen.” 

Advances in Design and Function

New technology is constantly emerging, impacting trends through design possibilities, innovative materials and functional features. One of the top technological trends for kitchen faucets is the rise of hands-free faucets. For sinks, a top trend is the manufacturing of new materials that are durable and easy to maintain.

“Technology has a significant impact on sink and faucet trends, influencing both functionality and design in modern kitchens and bathrooms,” Webster remarks. ”Advancements in materials technology have led to the development of surfaces that are easier to clean and maintain. Non-porous materials and finishes help resist stains and minimize the effort required for upkeep.”

For faucets, he remarks, technological impacts include integrated LED lighting and temperature indicators, built-in water filtration systems, voice-activated controls, and the increasingly popular touchless faucets.  

“Hands-free and touch/tap faucets are becoming the new standard, with homeowners and designers more frequently choosing them for the kitchen,” reports Storm. “These expertly cater to the hygiene-conscious homeowner who is looking to reduce germs and contamination.” 

“Technology significantly impacts faucet trends by introducing touchless operation and water-saving features that cater to modern preferences for convenience, hygiene and efficiency in kitchen fixtures,” stresses Tiefenbacher. 

Bierman adds, “Technology has driven the expansion of touchless ‘smart faucets’ that utilize phone apps and enable voice commands for temperature, metered dispensing and an ultra-hygienic user experience.” 

Personal Harmony

The overall style of the kitchen is an important influence in sink and faucet choices as designers strive to create a cohesive yet personalized look. Mixed finishes and materials offer a range of options, allowing designers and consumers to create the unique look they crave.

“We have never had a greater choice of colors, materials, coordinating design styles and technology options that can all fit together seamlessly whether the kitchen is modern, transitional or traditional; large or small, a gathering center or a purely practical space,” stresses Bierman.

“Whether you lean more modern or are looking for a traditional style, there is a specific sink that fits your design preference,” reports Edenfield. “From installation type to material to color, it’s important to take all different design influences into consideration. Kitchen designers are also being very creative, combining elements from different styles to make the perfect kitchen that speaks to their customers’ personalities and preferences.”

Borris agrees.“We’re continuing to see consumers participating in style mixing within their kitchens. Between colors, finishes and textures, they’re making more intentional inconsistencies between spaces and becoming more adventurous with design.” 

Khoury adds that designers tend to curate a sink that matches the concept of the kitchen. “We see traditional kitchens still utilizing white fireclay farmhouse sinks whereas a more transitional kitchen may have a matte black fireclay sink. Modern kitchens may use a stainless steel apron front sink,” he explains.

“When choosing a sink for a kitchen, it’s essential to consider the overall design style, color scheme, and the preferences of the homeowner,” emphasizes Webster. 

Faucet trends also adapt to the overall kitchen design, Tiefenbacher reports. “Stylish fixtures serve as focal points and provide functionality,” he stresses. “Ultimately, choices align with the homeowner’s design preferences and the desired integration within the kitchen’s overall look and feel.”

Fitting In

Size depends on the available space and how the sink will be used. In primary sinks, larger single bowls that double as prep areas are in demand. But there’s still a place for the smaller sinks, particularly in islands.

Storm reports that the kitchen island is becoming more of a prep space, “meaning smaller faucets and sinks are integrated within.” 

“For smaller kitchens, people are looking for smarter solutions,” explains Borris, “perhaps function-based while still elevating style, like a modular workstation sink.”

Webster reports that the market still prefers the standard 33″ top mount or 32″ undermount sink sizes. “That ever-popular double bowl sink from five to 10 years ago is being taken over by the extra-large single bowl,” he adds. “Customers love the size of these massive bowls.”

“We see a trend towards larger and larger sinks,” confirms Khoury. “We are introducing a 47″ triple bowl fireclay sink due to demand.”

Bierman agrees that the trend has been toward the large single bowl that can accommodate a large cookie sheet, soak multiple large pots/pans and serve as a fully accessorized prep station for cooking enthusiasts. 

In faucets, Webster notes, “Most customers prefer a single-hole faucet. [They are] simpler to install and less cluttered behind the sink than a two- or three-hole faucet, and having water flow and temperature control done using a single handle is most efficient and preferred.”

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