Designers Provide Expert Feedback Kitchen and Bath Sinks and Faucets

Published: June 5, 2024

Faucets are sometimes referred to as the jewelry of a project, while decorative sinks can take center stage as the highlight of a kitchen or bath. What we do know for sure is that both plumbing fixtures also serve as the workhorses of a home and must exude the utmost in function – no matter how eye-catching they are.

In our recent survey on kitchen and bath sinks and faucets, we dug down a little deeper to find out where clients – and designers – stand with everything from finish selections to KBIS innovation and what they’d like to see coming up with these functional fittings.

Top photo: Designer Rima Nasser chose a Blanco Silgranit undermount sink in this kitchen for its durability and color that can blend with the countertop and not take away from any of the other louder elements. For the faucet, she chose the Hansgrohe Talis N for a sleek and modern look.
Photo credit Allie Mullin Photography

Selection Timing

When asked which stage of kitchen projects they specify the faucets and sinks, 51.5% said at the beginning. About a third do so in the middle, and 12.4% wait until the end. Others make the selections before the project starts, and others say it depends on the project.

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“I prefer to make most if not all selections at the initial design stage and order before any of the work starts,” said Rima Nasser, owner and principal designer at TEW Design Studio in Raleigh, N.C. “I’ve had kitchen sinks go out of stock or take months to ship, and selecting the sink while designing the cabinetry gives better flexibility to the type of sink we use. For example, apron sinks require a certain type of cabinet.”

As for the fitting selections in a bath project, the answers were about the same. According to Rachel Hutchens, founder and principal designer of Salt Lake City-based Maven Home Interiors, she selects the bathroom faucets and sinks at the same time as the kitchen plumbing fixtures because she is already in the showroom looking at products in person.

Rachel Hutchens kitchen

Above photo: In this kitchen designed by Rachel Hutchens, she specified a Kohler Whitehaven self-trimming farmhouse sink and a faucet, hold-and-cold water dispenser and air switch from Newport Brass. Photo credit: Ann Parris Photography

Is Two Better Than One?

Only 13.7% of kitchen projects in the last year did not incorporate more than one sink. Nasser says she includes a prep sink in larger kitchens to make the layout more functional when certain elements are further apart. On the other end of the spectrum, Hutchens says most of her clients want an island with more counter space, and adding a prep sink would defeat that purpose.

In terms of secondary faucets, 58.8% specified bar versions for kitchens projects in the last year. Prep faucets came in at 55.5%, and pot fillers were 53.1%. Other options included boiling/chilled/sparkling, instant hot and purified water faucets.

Water Comes Clean

A happy and heathy home is of the utmost importance these days, and things like air quality and water filtration are gaining in popularity. A reverse-osmosis system was the most popular filtration choice with respondents.

“The state of our environment is concerning to say the least, and I think people are becoming more aware now of what goes into our food and our water and how it could affect their body,” said Nasser.

Filters built into appliances took a close second spot, and point-of-use cartridge filters were right behind. Bottle-filling stations took up the rear, but it is likely more brands need to step up to the plate with that offering.

bath faucets trends at kbis

Innovation at KBIS 2024

When it came to kitchen and bath sinks and faucets at this year’s show, our respondents noticed a lot of advancements. In terms of more variety in options, they noted workstation and apron-front sinks, as well as sinks available in more colors.

Interesting finds included faucetless and recessed-drain sinks, as well as wall-mount units for tight spaces. Also mentioned were large sinks with dual faucets, units that “hide away” when not in use and pulldown sprayers for bathroom faucets.

When referring to aesthetics seen in kitchen and bath plumbing fixtures at KBIS, our respondents noted natural materials mixed with metal; gold, matte-black and unlacquered-brass finishes; knurled faucet handles; fluted sinks; and more simple styles.

Nasser noted Kast Concrete Basins at KBIS 2024, saying they are beautiful, well made and offer a pop of color. Hutchens noticed more pull-out options for bath sinks.

kitchen sink features

What’s to Come

Our responses ran the gamut when it comes to what design professionals crave for kitchen and bath faucets and sinks. In the bath, they want more sensor/hands-free faucet options, as well as pulldowns with sprayers.

One respondent said a sprayer would help with cleaning the sink and washing babies, pets and even one’s hair in the sink. In line with keeping things tidy, other asks included air pressure-operated cleaning options for residential use and self-cleaning sinks, which Nasser said she would like to see as well.

Workstation sinks are still all the rage, but there may be a market need for hidden storage solutions for accessories, more affordable units, additional accessories, alternate finishes and a workstation sink that incorporates glass cleaning.

In terms of aesthetics, these were the asks:

  • Better-looking drain/strainer options
  • The ability to change handle finishes to create two-tone looks
  • Bridge-style touch faucets
  • Fluted basins
  • A flange/overlay on farmhouse sinks that integrates seamlessly with cabinetry
  • Coordinating collections of faucets, soap dispensers and instant hot offerings
  • Kitchen faucets that drop down below the countertop when not in use

Innovation ideas abounded, as listed below:

  • Undermount sinks without caulk lines that breed mold and bacteria
  • Anti-microbial disposals, drains and P-traps
  • In-wall handheld shower wands
  • Programs for shaving, brushing teeth and washing hands
  • A swivel and pullout wall-mount kitchen faucet
  • Automatic shutoff
  • Sensors that work consistently
  • Different spray options for cleaning and rinsing produce
  • Sinks with lighting

“I had a client request a water fountain-type fountain, which I thought was a cool idea for kids,” said Hutchens. “I’d like to see more options for wall-mounted tub fillers, as the designs and finishes are usually limited. Single-type bowl options that can fit a custom cabinet would be great, as well as more farmhouse sink choices. I love Kohler’s self-trimming design, which is so helpful for cabinet makers and finishes the look.”

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