"Trough Sinks" Are the Big Bathroom Trend for Elevated Spaces — But Are They Practical? Designers Decide

Minimalist, sleek and generously sized, trough sinks are a stunning addition to a bathroom, but is it a case of form over function? We asked interior designers to explain what you need to know

a minimalist bathroom with a pink marble bath
(Image credit: Manolo Langis. Design: Mandy Graham)

If you’re unfamiliar with trough sinks, think of a long, (sometimes narrow in depth) spa-like basin design usually with two faucets to accommodate more than one person. They usually monopolize most (if not the entire) bathroom countertop, meaning you've got a generous basin at your disposal.

In recent years, this type of bathroom sink has gained great popularity winning people over with their unique, minimalist design and practical functionality. Yet, if you're considering installing one in your bathroom, it's essential to weigh the pros and cons to determine if it's the right choice for your space.

There are several key aspects to consider, from installation and plumbing to space utilization and user practicality. Read on to explore the essentials before making that purchase.

What are the pros of trough sinks?

1. Practicality

A bathroom vanity organized with drawers

(Image credit: Michael Clifford. Design: Lauri Design Studio)

Trough sinks offer a generous breadth of space, making them ideal for shared bathrooms and spaces where multiple people need to use the sink simultaneously, providing enough space to allow each person their own dedicated zone.

Think of couple's sharing the sink for morning and bedtime routines — no more waiting for each other to finish up before starting your own personal daily regime.

‘We love trough bathroom sinks, especially in a powder room or kid's bathroom. It's a fun touch to elevate a bathroom and make hand washing more fun,' says Liz Goldberg, Founder and Creative Director of Carolynleona, ‘We used a trough sink with two faucets in a powder room of a busy family with young twins, the kiddos each love having their own faucet to wash their hands at the same time!'

2. Aesthetic

brass taps in a white bathroom sink

(Image credit: Future)

Often, trough sinks can feel more minimalist, as they follow the outline of the bathroom vanity. However, there's a trough sink for every kind of bathroom, and the elegance of a trough sink can serve as quite the statement.

‘With the style being so versatile, they can enhance the overall aesthetic of the space’, says Nina Lichtenstein, Founder of Nina Lichtenstein Custom Home Design. Available in various materials and finishes, such as porcelain, stainless steel, wood or concrete, ‘this versatility allows you to choose a sink that complements your bathroom's style and color scheme,' Nina says.

3. Maintenance

A monochrome bathroom vanity sink area with crittall door either side

(Image credit: Christopher Stark. Design: Tineke Triggs)

With a continuous basin and a single drain, trough sinks facilitate efficient water drainage and the depth of the basin also helps to reduce the risk of splashing, especially when used by multiple individuals at once. Plus, the simple basin design with fewer nooks and crannies makes cleaning an absolute breeze, making it ideal for a low maintenance bathroom.

What are the drawbacks?

1. Installation

A traditional basin in front of a blue herringbone tiled bathroom wall and mirror

(Image credit: Dustin Peck. Design: Liz Goldberg, Carolynleona)

Installing and maintaining the plumbing for a trough sink can be more complex compared to standard single or double sinks. ‘Proper drainage and water supply connections are crucial for optimal performance,' Nina says. Take this into consideration if you’re wondering about the installation process.

2. Limited space and storage

bathroom storage alcove nooks in the wall

(Image credit: Future)

Regardless of the seamless design, the extended length of a trough sink may limit bathroom countertop space for other essentials like toiletries or decorative items. Unless you choose an integrated vanity design, this basin design typically does not offer bathroom storage cabinets or drawers beneath either so this can be quite a drawback in smaller bathrooms and may mean the design is a no-go in terms of space and storage.

3. Cost

Typically, the installation of this basin design can be more complex than a standard basin, costing more and often requiring additional work of custom cabinetry and adjustments. Plus, these designs tend to be specified more for high-end projects, so finding good products at a lower price point can be tricky.

Interior Designer, Tineke Triggs also warns: ‘The exposed front can be prone to damage from frequent use, so select your materials with that in mind.’

So, are trough sinks a good idea?

Aside from plumbing, storage and maintenance, you’ll need to think about the overall bathroom layout and personal preference in terms of design and functionality for the users. ‘Trough bathroom sinks can be an excellent choice for those seeking a modern and functional alternative to traditional sinks, yet it's essential to carefully assess the pros and cons to ensure it will align with your specific needs and preferences,’ says Nina.

With wise planning and consideration, a trough sink can certainly transform your bathroom into a stylish and efficient space that meets the demands of daily and catering to all users in the right manner.

Portia Carroll

Portia Carroll is an interior stylist, writer, and design consultant. With a background in interior architecture and design, she has a plethora of creative experience in the industry working with high end interior brands to capture beautiful spaces and products and enhance their qualities.