Single Bowl vs Double Bowl Sink – The great debate

I asked one little innocent question on my Instagram awhile back. And that was for people to give me their honest feedback about their kitchen sinks. Did they have a single bowl or a double bowl sink? Did they love it or hate it? Pros and Cons? Asking people to debate a single bowl vs a double sink was well…did people ever answer. If you ever want engagement on your Instagram photos, go ask people’s opinions on sinks or appliances, sort of like the unicorns that are counter depth single door refrigerators. Do these exist for people who don’t have 10K to spend on a fridge?

Single Bowl vs Double Bowl Sink – The Great Debate

What led to that question was this. Since the previous kitchen renovation my husband James has been adamant about getting the IKEA DOMSJÖ double bowl farmhouse sink for a future renovation. By future I mean the accidental one we’re in the middle of now because the dishwasher broke and flooded the kitchen.

So this sink:

I was like hell no.

I wanted an under mount stainless steel one bowl sink. Like we had at our old house:

Neither of us were willing to give in with regards to our sink preference.

This debate between us started to involve bartering future design decisions for the house. Will he build me a dining table or can we just buy one? Will he get his ugly blackout curtains in the bedroom vs my light airy ones? Can we get hardwood in the kitchen versus floor tiles?

He hated that sink above. Hated. Couldn’t stand washing dishes in it and having them dry on the counter. When he went to fill up his protein shaker cups with water or tried to wash his hands and saw meat thawing surrounded by dirty dishes, maneuvering around all of that drove him crazy.

He also reminded me of how badly things went with that sink being that is was an under mount in the butcher block counter and why would I ever want to go through that again?

And I was like do you know what my life (a.k.a the cook in the family) is like with a double bowl sink? No?


Why I do not like double bowl sinks

Thus let me explain what life was like with our horrible small double bowl in the kitchen that I worked so hard to paint that had to be torn out (let me reiterate again, the dishwasher leaked and destroyed the kitchen, thus leading to us renovating the whole thing – completely unplanned by the way).

This was that sink. It doesn’t look offensive in this highly staged and edited photo right?

Look closer. It’s getting smaller isn’t it?

Feels like it should be in a toy kitchen.

And the laminate counter top was so old that the faucet was rotting into it due to water damage and taking the sink along with it.

What does the faucet have to do with it being a double bowl sink? Nothing. I just had to share the corresponding atrocity. But that’s just one of the many things I hated about that entire triangular counter/kitchen island.

The real issue was lack of space for anything in the sink and on the counter around it, which led to my complete disdain for double bowl sinks in general.

In which case let me list all of the reasons I hated my double bowl sink.

  • I couldn’t soak big trays or pans it.
  • Super shallow.
  • One side would fill up with dirty dishes faster than you could blink.
  • The other side would always have something thawing in it for dinner.
  • The dirty dishes went on the counter anyway and took up more space as there was not enough room for them to dry in one half of the sink.
  • Did I mention the inability to soak big pans again? (Yeah this was my biggest issue with it).

Not convinced? Let me show you a real life honest photo from what our kitchen counter looked like when it was actually in use AFTER the dishwasher failed and was removed and what life was really like.

You ready?

Maybe it will look more horrifying and kitschy in a Polaroid shot. Scroll up and then back down.

That is the same counter as the first counter photo. Now, will you stop believing everything you see on the internet?

No one lives perfectly. No one. Even if it appears they do.

I get hives just looking at that now.

That was my life for easily 6 months.

Well, almost a year and a half really because even if the dishwasher was there, there was always more dishes to wash and they would be put on the counter to the left of the sink or in the sink.

The counter top to the right side of the sink? That’s pretty much all the counter space I had to prep dinner on for a family of 4.

Every. Single. Day. Multiple times a day. It was the size of a cutting board.

Why sink sizes matter

This is the stuff that when you walk into a house while house hunting, that you need to pay attention to. Not the fancy wood floors or pretty wallpaper, but the things that impact your life on a daily basis. Kitchen counter top space and functional kitchen layout.

PS – If you want to see the kitchen “Before and After” I painted it, how I painted the cabinets and what’s behind me in that photo click here.

So at this point I was so disgruntled from the above that the thought of another double bowl sink was just out of the question.

I loved our old single bowl sink.

It was huge and held everything. It was the IKEA BREDSKAR sink (which of course has since been discontinued) but IKEA has new models to replace it. This one is called the NORRSJÖN.

And yes it comes in a Double Bowl.

But even that double bowl is just not big enough for the way I use my kitchen. I cook a LOT. My husband eats and trains like an athlete. Our girls seem to be growing non stop and the kitchen fridge is always being opened for more food. I needed what I affectionately call a high maintenance sink.

My husband however was convinced I would love the IKEA DOMSJÖ.

The thing is, you could really debate this issue for years:

  • Stainless steel vs porcelain sinks in general
  • Apron front stainless vs porcelain in general
  • Other material sinks in single bowl vs double bowl
  • Under mount vs top mount
  • What color sink do you get?
  • Sinks in islands vs in the counter
  • Shallow vs deep sink
  • Round sinks vs rectangular

Don’t even think about however, mentioning the 60/40 split sink. Under mount, apron front, stainless or not I would continuously stare at it and secretly think “Why is the line that divides the the sink not in the center of the sink?”

Kind of like this Buzzfeed article about control freaks that feature images that cause me unnecessary stress. I don’t care how practical they are to use and how much people love them. Not happening.

So what won out the Single Bowl vs Double Bowl sink debate in this battle between us? Well, practicality more than anything. Otherwise known as my husband.

IKEA DOMSJO kitchen sink in a butcher block countertop with a black faucet

IKEA DOMSJO kitchen sink in a butcher block countertop

What do I really think of the DOMSJÖ sink after having it for a month?

Again, it’s a practical decision.

What I mean by a practical decision is well, read my post about what it’s really like to live with a butcher block counter top. The very short version is that butcher block, water and under mount sinks are not friends and we were using butcher block counter tops again this time.

With this sink, I don’t have to worry about rotting faucets into the counter tops and water getting around the edges of the under mount seeping into the wood causing cracks.

That kick ass matte black faucet by the way is from Delta – the Trinsic Single Handle Pull Down Kitchen Faucet – and it is phenomenal.

In the meantime I got to paint our main floor bathroom dark navy. Yessssss. Compromise.

This story is to be continued…


Single Bowl vs Double Bowl Sink - decided which sink is the best choice for a kitchen

Single Bowl vs Double Bowl sink


  • Reply
    Jessica Devlin
    May 1, 2017 at 7:50 pm

    That whole post all I could think is how doesn’t she like double bowl sinks! It’s how you wash then rince your dishes. Until I saw the pic of your sink and was like, well ya that’s horrendous. You can get large deep double bowl sinks. Looks like you picked a good one

    • Reply
      May 2, 2017 at 10:47 am

      I still lament the loss of my single bowl. I have such mixed feelings on this sink even after it being here for a month. It’s a true love/hate thing. I can’t wait to write the review about it.

      • Reply
        September 13, 2017 at 10:40 am

        Please tell me your final preference. I have that same sink in a box, I love the look of it. But I and am kind of wishing it was a single stainless under mount for my big pans.

        • Reply
          September 13, 2017 at 1:45 pm

          LOL! We went with the double bowl DOMSJO from IKEA. I promise a review is coming. I still love the undermounts but for butcher block and those fun “logical” reasons, it’s proven to be a very smart choice for the kitchen.

        • Reply
          May 15, 2018 at 11:17 pm

          Hi Lynn, do you still have the Domsjo boxed up? We’re building a farmhouse and I’m trying to find one for my wife. She really loves it 🙂

  • Reply
    Anna International
    May 3, 2017 at 5:48 am

    I kind of agree, can’t understand why anyone would prefer a single over a double if they had that option! I am in the middle of moving our tiny kitchen to our much larger dining room, and I was dreaming of a double bowl (actually the Ikea Domsjo!) but having measured it all up I would lose too much countertop, which I don’t have enough of as it is, so I’m going with a single. But since we’re having solid quartz worktops we can have a nice drainer cut in to one side, and it will hopefully still be practical for drying but without losing space. I’m pretty happy with the compromise – which is what these projects so often are! At the moment I am letting my husband get his way with any decisions, since the whole massive kitchen project was my idea and I forced him into it!! Not amazing timing either, first baby due in 9 weeks, let’s hope the builders continue to be super fast! And if it’s any consolation, I think your sink looks amazing in situ! x

  • Reply
    Jen Arterbury
    February 24, 2018 at 4:43 pm

    Hi. So we’re building a house. Really excited about the kitchen.

    My mother in law who loves to host, suggested to me, that she loves her single bowl deep sink.
    She loves how she isn’t restricted anymore with big things. She bought a small plastic tub to soak and since with. She leaves it in the sink.
    But, I rinse and load dishes all day as they are done being used. We don’t let dishes sit & pile up. Also I defrost on a plate with a rim. Not near the sink, usually in the fridge.
    So I am hopeful that I will like my choice.
    Deep, 36 in wide, stainless, single bowl apron sink.

  • Reply
    June 2, 2018 at 2:14 pm

    I appreciated the fact that this subject is being discussed because I am in the process of making this decision in a new construction. First thought is to Alex: your thoughts are well said; your vulgarities are so unnecessary in a civilized setting.
    I currently have a 70/30 Corian sink and will likely look for that in new construction. It has allowed me the ability to clean large items but more importantly, the smaller bowl can be used for soap/water during cooking prep when you want to wipe a surface before proceeding to another step in cooking; or throwing in a ladle or knife for quick cleaning during the cooking process. Another person said they used a small basin in the large one-bowl for this purpose – a good idea also. Either way, the traditional double bowl had outlived its usefulness in modern kitchens while the one bowl deep sink has some, albeit few, limitations.

I love your comments!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.