Installing A Kitchen Sink In The Island Vs Under The Window (Pros & Cons)

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Last updated on March 15th, 2024 at 12:33 pm

Wondering whether it’s better to install a kitchen sink on the kitchen island or under the window? Well, look no further because I have your answer!

It is more popular to install a kitchen sink under a window instead of in the kitchen island because you have a view while using the sink, dirty dishes are to the side of the room instead of centrally located, and it frees up the island to create a larger working surface.

Now that we’ve got the basics out of the way, let’s break into the details further so you can easily choose the best location for your kitchen sink.

Let’s dive in!

Quick Navigation: Where To Install A Kitchen Sink In The Kitchen

  1. Pros Of Sinks In Kitchen Islands
  2. Cons Of Sinks In Kitchen Islands
  3. Pros Of Sinks Under The Window
  4. Cons Of Sinks Under The Window
  5. My Preference: Sinks Under The Window
  6. Other FAQs About Kitchen Sinks In Islands
  7. Final Thoughts

Pros Of Sinks In Kitchen Islands

There are a couple of benefits to installing a sink on the kitchen island. These benefits include:

  • having the sink conveniently located to all sides of the room
  • being able to face the rest of the room while using the sink (especially in an open-concept room)

Pro One: The Sink Is Conveniently Located To All Sides Of The Kitchen

Sinks that are installed on the kitchen island are located in the center of the room. This makes it easy to reach for and place dishes in the sink from all sides of the kitchen.

Whether you are sitting at the island and finished with your plate or you walk up from across the room, you can easily slide your plate across the island to be washed in the sink without having to walk around.

This makes clean up faster, and when the dishes are cleaned, it will make putting the dishes away faster as well because the sink will be centrally located to all of the cabinets.

Pro Two: You Can Face The Rest Of The Room While Using The Sink In The Island

Another benefit to installing the sink in the kitchen island is you will be able to face the rest of the room while you are using the sink.

If your room is open concept and you enjoy looking out across the room or socializing with anyone sitting at the island while washing dishes, then this might be the best placement for your sink.

Many people enjoy the ability to watch TV or talk to a person while using the sink instead of looking out a window. If your sink is on the island, then you can do just that.

However, if your kitchen island is in a closed-off kitchen then the view out the window is probably going to be preferable over a view of a wall or cabinets.

Cons Of Sinks In Kitchen Islands

There are also several drawbacks to installing the sink on the kitchen island. These drawbacks include:

  • the sink takes up a lot of the island’s countertop space
  • requiring the dishwasher to also be installed on the island
  • potentially more difficult/costly plumbing work required (for old house renovations)
  • more clutter in the center of the room
  • dirty dishes being next to the seating
  • being in the way of other appliances while using the kitchen sink

Con One: The Sink Takes Up A Lot Of Countertop Space On An Island

One of the cons of having the kitchen sink on the island is it takes up a lot of the working space on the island.

Islands are supposed to provide a lot more countertop space in the center of the kitchen. When a sink is in the center, it eats up a lot of that real estate.

A sink under a window, on the other hand, doesn’t take up much of the most valuable space since it’s off to the side of the room and allows the island to be fully utilized.

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It also requires you to install a much larger island to accommodate the sink on the island, which your kitchen might not have the space for.

You’ll need a large kitchen island that is at least 8 ft long by 4 ft wide or larger to have enough space for the sink, a drying rack, and eating/prep space, plus potentially a dishwasher.

You have the entire island as a workspace compared to the smaller amount of countertop you would get under the window if the sink was in the island.

Con Two: Might Not Be Able To Install A Dishwasher If There’s Not Enough Room In The Island

The next drawback of installing a kitchen sink on the island is the fact that there might not be enough room to install a dishwasher.

As I mentioned above, you will need a large island to have enough space to incorporate a sink and a dishwasher. If your kitchen cannot accommodate such a large island, then you might not be able to install a dishwasher (which is a really big bummer!).

Dishwashers need to be located next to kitchen sinks because they use the same drain as the kitchen sink to get rid of dirty water. Plus, the water supply line that is run to the kitchen sink will continue past the sink to connect to the dishwasher, so no extra water supply lines will need to be installed.

This saves a significant amount of money since a separate water supply line and drain will not need to be connected to a dishwasher that is not near a sink.

Now, if your kitchen is large enough for an island this size, then this is not really a problem you will run into.

Con Three: Plumbing For A Sink In An Island Can Be More Difficult

This drawback might not be applicable to everyone, but I wanted to put it out there just in case it applies to you as it did to us.

If you are renovating an old house that’s on a slab and has existing plumbing, then installing new plumbing under a kitchen island is going to be much more difficult and more costly.

This is because the drain, water supply line, and electricity need to be run under the subfloor to reach the island. For those with basements or even a crawl space, this is not as big of a deal because you or a contractor would be able to access these lines fairly easily.

Also, homes that are built on basements and crawl spaces tend to have wood subfloors, so they are significantly easier to cut into and secure items compared to concrete subfloors.

If you have a concrete subfloor as we do, then connecting new drains and water supply lines to the existing ones already in the concrete is not a project that I would consider DIY. If you still want a sink on your island, then expect the price to be higher for a contractor to install new plumbing in a concrete subfloor.

Just to reiterate, this is only a potential problem if you are remodeling an existing home. If you are doing a new build, then this is much simpler to incorporate as the build happens, and your contractor will know what to do to get it done for you.

Con Four: Drying Racks/Pads Look Cluttery In The Center Of The Room

Another drawback of having a sink on a kitchen island is the amount of clutter that will end up in the center of your room.

This is a big complaint that you will hear from anyone that has a kitchen sink on their island.

Most people keep a drying rack or drying pad next to the sink. If the sink is in the middle of the room, then so are all of these other items. This will make your kitchen look cluttery because there will likely be several items out on the drying pad at all times.

Also, any dirty dishes sitting in the sink will be in the center of the room at all times instead of off to the side as is the case when the sink is under a window. If you are really good at keeping your sink free of dirty dishes, then this is less of a problem for you. For me though, this would be a nightmare haha!

The sink and drying pad also takes up more valuable prep and cooking space that an island is usually designed to maximize.

Con Five: Dirty Dishes Will Be Located Next To An Eating Area

Arguably the biggest drawback to having a kitchen sink located on the island is the fact that dirty dishes will be located next to an eating area.

If you have seating at your island and eat meals there, then you’ll often be eating next to dirty dishes. This would be a big turnoff to me and force me to eat in other locations… making the seating at my island useless part of the time.

When the kitchen sink is located under a window to the side of the room, you can enjoy eating at and sitting at your kitchen island without having dirty dishes sitting right in front of you.

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Con Six: It Is Difficult To Use A Kitchen Sink In An Island Across From Another Appliance

The final drawback of having a kitchen island sink is that you will often find yourself in the way of the use of other appliances while you are using the sink.

If the sink and stove or refrigerator are across from each other, then you’ll constantly be fighting over the standing space while cooking/cleaning dishes.

This can also be a problem if the sink is under the window depending on how your kitchen is laid out. However, it’s more common to have the stove or fridge across from the island than across from the sink under a window.

So this is something you want to consider when deciding the layout of your kitchen and island.

Pros Of Sinks Under The Window

Now that we’ve discussed the pros and cons of having a sink on the kitchen island, let’s discuss some of the pros of having the sink under a window.

There are a couple of benefits to installing a sink under a window in the kitchen. These benefits include:

  • having a nice view while using the sink
  • plumbing can be easier to install (old house renovation)
  • keeps drying rack/pad clutter to the side of the kitchen
  • keeps dirty dishes away from eating areas

Pro One: You Have A View While Using The Sink

One of the benefits of having your kitchen sink under a window is the view you get to have while using the sink.

I don’t know about you, but if you’ve ever had to do dishes by hand, then you’ll understand when I say it’s nice to look outside while you’re taking care of this tedious house chore.

And now that we have a dishwasher, it’s still nice to be able to look outside while we are washing our hands or rinsing something off.

Personally, I’d rather look out the window during these tasks than across the room to the rest of my house. But that’s your personal preference!

Pro Two: Plumbing For A Sink Under A Window Can Be Easier

As we discussed above, plumbing is likely easier and less costly to put a sink under the window because either the plumbing is already there (since this is the most common place to install a sink) or you can add more plumbing through the wall (as opposed to the subfloor) if needed.

Running the plumbing through the wall means it does not matter what type of subfloor you have.

Again, if your home is new construction, then none of this will likely matter to you and your kitchen.

Pro Three: Drying Racks/Pads Look Normal Next To A Sink Under A Window

Another benefit to installing the kitchen sink under a window is that any drying racks or drying pads will be to the side of the kitchen.

Drying pads tend to hold clutter, and if you enjoy having a clutter-free home, keeping these pads to the side of your kitchen helps minimize the impact of this clutter sitting out.

In addition, the sink being on the side of the kitchen frees up valuable prep and cooking space on a kitchen island because the entire countertop will be available for use.

Pro Four: Dirty Dishes Will Be To The Side Of The Kitchen

Kitchen sinks located under a window are typically off to the side of the kitchen, so any dirty dishes in the sink will be off to the side of the kitchen as well.

Also, the dirty dishes will be away from seating on a kitchen island, which is always a win in my book. No one wants to dine next to dirty dishes and keeping up with the dirty dishes daily is just not always realistic!

Having the sink to the side of the kitchen just removes this potential annoyance altogether.

Cons Of Sinks Under The Window

Finally, there are a couple of drawbacks to having the sink under a window. These drawbacks include:

  • the sink might be far away from some sides of the kitchen
  • your back is always to the rest of the room while using the sink

Con One: The Sink Is Far Away From Some Sides Of The Kitchen

One drawback to having the kitchen sink under a window is that it likely means your sink is farther away from the opposite side of the room.

This can make cleaning up and putting dishes away take a little bit longer than if the sink was in the center of the room.

Though, this time difference probably won’t be that noticeable because the most frequently used cabinets are most likely going to be the ones right next to your sink and dishwasher anyway.

Plus, the island can have more storage inside it if the sink and dishwasher are not in it. And the island will be close to the sink under the window as well, so that will still make the sink’s location pretty convenient.

Con Two: Your Back Is Always To The Rest Of The Room While Doing Dishes

If you are someone who enjoys being able to watch TV or face someone sitting at the island while using the sink, then you will not get this benefit by having the sink under the window.

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Your back will always be to the rest of the room while you are using the sink. I don’t mind this because we do not spend a large amount of time using the sink since we have a dishwasher now.

It’s just something else to consider as you decide the the best location for your kitchen sink.

My Preference: Sinks Under The Window

If you couldn’t tell by the way I wrote this article, I personally prefer the sink under the window as opposed to on the kitchen island.

It is more popular to put the sink under a window, so for future resale value, this is also going to be helpful to consider.

When we built our kitchen island (check out my kitchen island tutorial here), I wanted to make it simple yet extremely functional and with lots of storage. Plus, since we are on a slab, it limited the amount of moving I could easily do with the plumbing.

So in the end, we opted to keep the sink in its original location under the window.

Other FAQs About Kitchen Sinks In Islands

Here are some other frequently asked questions about sinks in kitchen islands to help you choose the best location.

How Do You Keep An Island Sink Clutter Free?

The best ways to keep an island sink clutter free is to have a different spot for paper clutter and items coming into your house to be stored, put dirty dishes in the dishwasher immediately after use, and spend 5 minutes every night quickly wiping down the counter and sink.

Where Should You Put A Sink In The Kitchen Island?

The most popular location to put a sink in a kitchen island is the center of the island with the seating across from it. Alternatively, the sink can be located at one end of the island and the seating at the other end to help keep the seating away from dirty dishes.

Final Thoughts On Kitchen Sinks In Islands

There you have it!

At the end of the day, you really can’t go wrong with putting the sink in the island or under the window. Whatever your personal preference is will be the best location for you and your home.

Hopefully this article gave you some solid things to consider to help make choosing your kitchen sink location a little easier.

Catch you in my next post!

The Best Kitchen Tools & Products I’ve Used

Ravinte Cabinet Handle Installation Template (For Doors & Drawers)

This is my all-time favorite handle installation template because it has two templates (one for drawers and one for doors) with multiple pull sizes & knob placements! These templates make installing cabinet handles a breeze because you always know your handles will be installed in the same spot on all of your drawers and doors. The kit also comes with a drill bit so you can guarantee you’re using the correct size. I used this template on my entire kitchen and both bathrooms to cut the installation time in half. You can find this hardware template here on Amazon.

Franklin Brass 5-1/16 Inch (128mm) Center Bar Pull (Stainless Steel)

If you want to immediately modernize your kitchen island, then these cabinet pulls are a must. They are heavy-duty feeling, durable, easy to install, and are a large size for a great price. We put these pulls on all of our kitchen and island doors and drawers along with our bathroom doors and drawers. You can find these gorgeous cabinet pulls here on Amazon.

P.S. Use the hardware installation template I mentioned above to install these new pulls in record time!

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By Christine

Christine is a blogger and DIYer who tackles home renovation and decorating projects alongside her husband, Adam, for their personal residence and rental properties. Although she successfully tackles large renovation projects to avoid expensive contractor fees and bring her vision to life now, her path to success was not easy.

Go here to read her story,  From a Clueless First-Time Homebuyer To A Confident DIYer Creating Her Dream Home One Project At A Time.

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