Sink Your Teeth Into These Kitchen Trends

If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then sinks are the aorta that keep everything pumping. According to the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA), there are a lot of changes coming to these utilitarian stations in 2015, and it's never too early to get ahead of the trends. John Petrie, President of the NKBA, says that, "The two most important elements of a kitchen sink decision are function and aesthetic design, and function usually comes first." That's choosing with your head, but he's quick to point out that the heart wants what it wants (and if it wants a dual-sink farm-style option, that's what you should get).

Ultimately, "any kitchen or home appliance needs to represent the homeowner," he says. Every year, the NKBA hosts a Design Contest in tandem with the Kitchen and Bath Style Report-in other words, it's where designers compete and members list what's on point sink style-wise for the year. In 2014, there was a record breaking number of participants in North America, and the overarching trend? It's all about minimalism. A decrease in ornamentation, embracing of clean lines and easy to maintain features are all the rage.

A Sinking Feeling...

Specifically, stainless steel was the top choice for sink materials-porcelain enamel trailed far behind in second place. While granite composite got the bronze, experts like Petrie expect it to gain in popularity in 2015. However, stainless steel is the "workhorse of kitchen sinks" that's easy to clean and timeless, so it'll take a lot to knock it out of first place. One of the respondents noted, "Even when clients remodel their kitchen, they typically upgrade to a thicker stainless steel in the sink."

Another popular trend that's sticking is under mounting sinks, especially with granite countertops. This ensures a seamless fit with no ledge or lip where dirt can hide. It's not as easy of an installation as the old school drop-down model, but that fitted appearance is worth the extra cost for most.

For the Trend Setters

It's been a long time since porcelain enamel was in favor, but this glass surface fused to metal bases is picking up steam. Since it can be customized to any color, it's a great choice for the aesthetically-minded homeowner. The Porcelain Enamel Institute (yes, that's a real thing) says that these fixtures can stand up against fading, scratching and harsh chemicals-but be careful with abrasives and acids.

Even though it's durable, enamel is simply more prone to chipping than steel or composite. However, if love the look, you can always go with enameled cast iron (which is the go-to choice for apron-style or farmhouse sinks). They're created with iron alloy, similar to cookware, and look glossy but are tougher than you think. Even Petrie admits his own sink is brown cast iron enamel.

Something for Everyone

Finally, there's those granite composites that are starting to catch the eyes of designers and homeowners once again. They're customizable in a number of colors, but choosing darker hues is best for hiding stains in the long haul. Design them to match your counters, or go with an opposing, complementary color.

However, stainless will remain king because it simply goes with everything. You don't have to deal with color coordination. In terms of actual design, the basin will remain the most popular, but bowl sizes are expected to keep growing as well as the demand for dual basins. "Kitchen sinks are a very personal thing," warns Petrie-so it's a good thing there are options galore.