Kitchen Sink in the Island Bench: Yes or No?

design planning Jun 07, 2023

The kitchen sink in the island bench: it's a surprisingly controversial decision. We posed the question on Instagram and here's what a few followers shared: 

"I like to have the sink where there is a view. With the view at your beach home it is perfect in the bench 👌"

"No, I prefer the island dish & sink free🙃"

"I think it depends on the layout of your kitchen. In your main home it suits better under the pretty window…so nice to be able to look out the window onto the garden while at the sink. In your holiday home it makes more sense on the island…it’s much more spacious and you would never want to have your back on that epic beach view! I like both xx" 

"I prefer no sink in the main bench area. I’ve lived with both. I love looking out a window view while standing at the sink but it’s really does depend if you have a great outlook and how big the bench is. Sometimes a massive island looks too flat and boring."

Many designers and architects argue strictly against a sink in the kitchen island. We understand the reasons not to do it, however we don’t think it should be a hard-and-fast ‘no’. 

In fact, sometimes the island is simply the best placement for the sink. Courtney has designed three kitchens where the sink is in the island, including her most recent beach house project, and in all three kitchens, it’s been the best decision. 

Here's what we think… If you have a window in your kitchen with space below for a sink, this is an ideal placement. It’s nice to have an outlook when doing dishes, and a sink centred under a window is both beautiful and functional. However, if you don't have a window placement, a next-best position can often be the island bench. 

The decision is ultimately a personal one, and will depend on your unique space and how you use your kitchen. While there are definitely good design principles to try to follow, the perfect kitchen layout is the one that works best for you. Below we’ve shared some pros and cons for putting a kitchen sink in the island, which are good to consider when making a decision for your own space.  


  • The sink (and dirty dishes) can impede on the entertaining space in the island. 
  • The sink can often become a dumping ground for clutter in a kitchen. Some people don’t like having dirty dishes on display in the island and would rather keep the island bench clear. (This will depend on how tidy you keep your kitchen and what your preferences are for this space.) 
  • A larger sized island is usually required to have a sink, as you’ll want to have space either side of your sink for the dishwasher and bins. Ideally you’ll need a minimum length of 1.8 metres. Depending on the size of your kitchen, this might not be feasible. 


  • Having the sink in the kitchen island can help to create the perfect working triangle, providing a short distance between the sink, cooktop and fridge. 
  • It’s a more social place to do dishes, and often you have a better lookout or view. 
  • Putting the sink in the island can help you achieve more symmetry throughout your kitchen, as you can keep your back kitchen wall less cluttered, you can centre your oven or cooktop without needing to work around a sink, and you’ll free up more bench/counter space elsewhere. You can also centre the sink in the island for additional symmetry. 

What do you think? Are you team sink in the kitchen island? Share your thoughts here!

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We would like to acknowledge and pay our respects to the Arakwal people of the Bundjalung Nations, the traditional custodians of the land on which we live and work. We pay our respects to elders past, present and emerging.