Farmhouse sinks have been all the rage for several years now. The old-world charm of farmhouse sinks, also known as apron sinks, is due to the character and functionality that they provide. Farmhouse sinks also work well in a variety of kitchen styles, ranging from rustic to modern – and they’re the perfect complement to hardwood floors in the kitchen. But are they still trendy? We asked several experts, including designers, realtors and manufacturers, to weigh in.
Elle H-Millard, certified kitchen designer and industry relations manager at the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), offers some findings on the subject. 92% of respondents in the 2018 Design Trends Study chose under-mount as the trendiest kitchen sink style. “However, farmhouse and single-bowl styles tied for second place, with 81% of respondents selecting these styles,” she explains, proving it’s still a trendy kitchen design accessory.
The popularity and appeal of farmhouse sinks are obvious to Jonathan Faccone, a real estate developer and investor at Halo Homebuyers L.L.C. Besides the variety of materials to choose from, he says they’re becoming reasonably affordable. “And due to their increasing affordability, it’s much easier for developers like me to add this style of sink to our projects to create the design pop that will help sell the home faster.” In fact, Faccone says the farmhouse sink will continue to be a favorite choice. He says this is especially true among millennials, who are often first time home buyers.
Materials and finishes
Farmhouse sinks come in a variety of materials. According to Monica Weddle, realtor/broker at ERA Dream Living Realty in Raleigh, NC, this adds to their popularity. That’s because they work well with other décor styles. “Like subway tile and schoolhouse lights, farmhouse sinks are classics that just happened to make their way back into mainstream use,” Weddle says. “Some farmhouse trends – like mason jar lighting and shiplap – have seen their popularity wane, but I believe the sinks are going to hang around for quite a while.”
Heather Jach of the Swiss-based Franke Kitchen Systems, which manufactures luxury sinks and faucets, agrees. “Our market research,” she says, “shows that the sink selection process begins with aesthetics: consumers want to anchor their kitchen with a sink that aligns with their design vision.” Jach says they have seen an upswing in color sinks. “White and black are the most popular choices, and farmhouse sinks in all materials are rising in popularity – with a particularly strong spike in fireclay.”
A variety of styles
Dan Worst, product manager of stainless steel sinks at Elkay, also believes that farmhouse sinks are still a demanding trend in the industry. “Elkay recently launched a groundbreaking Crosstown Stainless-Steel Farmhouse Sink with Interchangeable Apron, which is a true industry first,” he says. In just minutes, homeowners can now change the color and material of the sink face. “This sink allows consumers to change the appearance of the kitchen without the time investment, expense or stress involved with a full renovation.” If you’re a home décor enthusiast, being able to change the apron whenever you want definitely contributes to the farmhouse sink’s popularity.
Another popular style is Kohler’s Enameled Cast Iron Farmstead Sink. “The farmhouse sink has been a staple in kitchen design for decades, and we wanted to create a version of this classic sink with a modern twist for both traditional and contemporary homes,” Betsy Froelich of Kohler tells devils-den.
At 45 inches wide, Froelich says the sink is generously proportioned to accommodate large pots and pans. “There are three different installation options — wall-mount with either traditional or contemporary legs, or top-mount with custom cabinetry — and there are seven different sink accessories.”
Form and function
Although style is important to consumers, it’s not the only factor they consider. “Once they’ve identified their preferred style, consumers turn to function to identify the product that best fits their needs — and the kitchen sink is no longer just for washing dishes,” Jach says.
And that’s why kitchen designer Susan Serra believes that farmhouse sinks are evolving. She sees them adding more functionality to remain relevant. “First popular about 10-15 years ago, today’s farmhouse sinks are also changing shape in an effort to keep relevant — their style is crisper and more geometric,” Serra says. “Built-in drainboards and chopping blocks add superb function.”
Another designer, Sara Cannon at House Heroes, doesn’t see the farmhouse sink trend going away anytime soon — maybe not ever. “Some ideas are just too good to retire, and I think the farmhouse sink owes its longevity to the function itself,” she says. “Because farmhouse sinks are set into the counter, it makes for easy and seamless cleanup.”
However, she says they can be expensive to install if you already have cabinetry. “They are usually heavy and deep, and always protrude from the cabinetry, so they require a cutout.” As a result, Cannon says she doesn’t get to use them as much as she’d like to in rehabs since the goal is usually to preserve the existing kitchen cabinets. “But, if we do a total rehab or if I am lucky enough to start with a completely bare kitchen and the budget allows it, I almost always try to work in a farmhouse sink.”
A word of caution
However, not everyone is head-over-heels for farmhouse sinks. “Farmhouse sinks are popular – especially if they are part of a holistic design scheme, but it would not be to the seller’s advantage to install a farmhouse sink — or any trendy sink for that matter — in a classic Craftsman or Victorian home, looking like a random afterthought,” according to John Manning, Manager Broker RE/MAX On Market in Seattle. “We counsel our clients that a tasteful, integrated design is a smarter approach to installing a standalone ‘trendy’ feature.”
What are your thoughts on farmhouse sinks? Let us know in the comments!