Should you invest in a kitchen island with a sink? We asked the experts

Here are 7 stunning ideas from the experts that prove why a kitchen island with a sink is totally worth it.

Dark kitchen island and co-ordinated cabinets with sink, marble top and bar chairs
(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

We all know that the addition of a hero kitchen island comes with many benefits, but should we elevate this home hub one step further and choose a kitchen island with a sink? 

In multifunctioning spaces where everything serves above and beyond, a secondary island sink does sound rather tempting. Imagine a prep, cook and clean station all in one dedicated spot – allowing us to function and be sociable all at once? Or will choosing kitchen island ideas with sinks become a center-stage eyesore of stacked-up dishes and ruin our hostess with the mostess zen? Let’s see what the experts have to say…

Kitchen island sink ideas

What things really boil down to (pun intended,) is how you use your space. Home cooks will welcome an extension of functional utility space, whilst socialites that prefer bubbles over blanching, might rather a fuss-free entertaining hub, maximizing space for cocktails to gather and gossip.   

Before you start pondering kitchen island sink ideas too hard: ‘Remember, you will need a water feed and waste pipe in place, so it’s important to decide if you want a sink in your island during the early stages of your kitchen renovation process,’ says Darren Watts, design director, Wren Kitchens.

1. Let it inspire other elements in your kitchen scheme

Pink kitchen island with brass tab and coordinated brass pendants

(Image credit: Photography: Katie Lee)

A kitchen sink can be a key focal point when anchoring a scheme. Perhaps you desire brass taps to coordinate with brass drawer-pulls on your cabinets; or maybe the material of your sink is reflected on other utilitarian elements? Create a unified and cohesive look with coordinated accents that deliver a considered and luxe result. 

Alex Main, Director at The Main Company comments: ‘Sinks are often the central hub of the kitchen so it’s important to consider a variety of aspects when planning your kitchen design and style. Firstly decide if there are any other focal points in the room that can be used to complement and link-in with the sink’s shape and materials, as this will help to keep fluidity within the room.’

2. Make your island fun and functional

Light blue kitchen island with sink and trio of pendants hung overhead

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

What is the purpose of your island sink? Will it be a secondary sink with a water boiling tap for instant re-fuels, or is it an elbows deep in washing-up bubbles station for everyday meals and home entertaining? In a nutshell, sinks usually result in things being dumped and piling up (dirty dishes, glassware drying etc,) so consider if you’d prefer a more minimalist, clutter-free counter.

Main continues: ‘Ask yourself if you have enough work surfaces to have a sink with a built-in drainer, or is that space better used for preparation? Most of the time sinks are positioned in front of the window or centered in an island, so it’s worth noting that this area will also get cluttered with dirty dishes and so tucking it away from sight may be more appealing if you’re someone who leave the dishes till the morning!’

Tom Howley, Design Director, Tom Howley Kitchens, agrees that a well planned kitchen island, can make multifunctional life easier: ‘Typically, an island serves a more functional role - great for food prep and may include a second sink or even a dishwasher, streamlining the cooking process. Or dedicate your island to entertaining or eating. It can have an area for bar stools, allowing guests to relax as you prepare a meal or for your children to do their homework while you whip up an after-school snack.’

3. Create an extra wet zone with an island sink

Maroon kitchen island with sink and brass tap

(Image credit: Higham Furniture)

The kitchen island continues to adapt and change its role, helping to improve lifestyles and bring new levels of functionality in the modern kitchen to become an all-purpose work and cook station. Added-value features are therefore key to making an island unit work harder and create hybrid kitchen zones that incorporate more than one discipline such as cooking, dining, and cleaning. 

Leanne Adamson, marketing manager, Adobe, advises: ‘With a variety of single and double bowl sink designs, with or without a dish drainer and designed to be flush fitting, inset or undermounted, you can now choose the most suitable sink model for your design of island unit and create an extra wet zone in the kitchen.’

And her key tip: ‘Minimise clutter and visual noise by considering a small single bowl sink in your island unit for washing hands, making drinks and preparing food with ease. By including a second clean-up sink against a primary wall, you will be able to manage your dirty dishes with enough space to wash and dry without invading the island space.’

4. Add to the feng-shui of your overall space

Neutral kitchen island detail with ceramic sink and marble countertop

(Image credit: Wren Kitchens)

Adding a sink into your island is a stylish, modern and increasingly popular kitchen trend, bringing a variety of benefits. 

Darren Watts, design director, Wren Kitchens, enthuses: ‘As a central piece in the cooking area, having your sink in the island creates better feng-shui and optimizes the working triangle of your main appliances, including the sink, hob, and fridge. Having them at different sections of the kitchen allows you to move more freely, as opposed to having everything running along the same wall.’

5. Maximize storage space with a practical layout

pink kitchen cabinets and island with integrated open shelving

(Image credit: Harvey Jones)

Watts continues on the practicalities of an island sink: ‘Kitchen sink islands are perfectly practical, and by having your dishes, cutlery, and appliances stored in your kitchen island, it means you don’t have to go to the other side of your kitchen to put things away. This also gives you the opportunity to maximize cupboard space in other areas of the kitchen which you wouldn’t necessarily have thought of before.’

Melissa Klink, head of design, Harvey Jones, agrees that a sink can increase kitchen island storage potential: ‘Incorporating a sink into your island unit will maximize storage and help to ease your cooking and preparation process. This will also add a sociable aspect to your kitchen, especially in a kitchen-diner, allowing you to easily communicate with guests whilst cooking.’

6. Add symmetry and flow in sociable hotspots

Dark blue kitchen island with sink and bar stools

(Image credit: Photography: Malcolm Menzies)

Transform your island into a home bar sensation with a sink to aid drinks prep and some stylish island seating ideas

‘Kitchen islands add symmetry and a sleek design to your kitchen, not only do they look good but they’re much easier for entertaining. Having everything you need in one place, including your sink makes your kitchen look tidier and it makes for easy cleaning at the end of the day,’ comments Watts.

7. Turn your island into an instant refuel station

Dark hued kitchen island with plug socket and glass-fronted doors for glassware

(Image credit: Olive & Barr)

In small kitchens with compact or portable islands where counter space is minimal, consider a space-saving boiling water tap, for speedy hot drinks whilst home working. 

Keith Myers, The Myers Touch, advises: ‘As the heart of the home, the kitchen is my favorite room, but it is first, and foremost a functional space and so requires careful planning and consideration. Put the hob on the island and not the sink and use a downdraft extractor to eliminate the need for obtrusive overhead extractors which could spoil the overall aesthetic.  Include a hot boiling/drinking tap for speed and to keep surfaces uncluttered.’

Should you put a sink in a kitchen island?

Family kitchens favor a stove over a sink, making cooking a sociable activity that everyone can easily get involved with. A stove also enables hosts to cook whilst facing their guests. 

Where should a sink be placed in a kitchen island?

Center a focal point sink to balance your overall scheme with a sense of symmetry, or position yours at the edge of the island to keep the main counter open and free for food prep, entertaining and home working.

Content Editor

Holly is a Content Editor at Real Homes, and has previously worked at Future Homes brands including Country Homes & Interiors and Livingetc. She has a background in interior and event styling spanning a decade, which previously took her from coast to city and beyond to Australia. 

Holly loves working with creative minds and discovering fresh, indie brands, and is a firm believer that no home can have too many cushions, unruly blooms or decorative details of happy