HIDDEN DEPTHS: 9 OF THE BEST MODERN BUTLER SINKS

When you've a large baking tray or casserole dish to soak, few sinks can handle the job like a Butler sink can.

Pleasingly roomy and timelessly stylish, these stalwarts of the kitchen have more than a little flavour of below-stairs about them but modern materials and thoughtful design touches have brought them bang up to date. This means they're just as at home in a contemporary scheme as they are in a classic one, while remaining deceptively practical.

You'll find these big-hearted beauties referred to as Belfast, Butler and Farmhouse (the difference being that Belfast designs usually have a weir overflow and can often be deeper, while Farmhouse sinks can have slimmer walls), their appeal remains the same.

Add one to your kitchen wishlist and style it up to suit – choose reclaimed timber worktops and a burnished brass faucet for the ultimate in rough luxe or sleek composite surfaces and a chrome monobloc tap for a wet area that's sure to turn heads.

While material choices now range from stone to steel and even timber, the classic option for a Butler sink is Fireclay ceramic – glossy, usually crisp white (though sometimes black) and robust. For those worried about delicate glasses and dinnerware coming into contact with the base and breaking, take a tip out of the butler's handbook – simply lay a tea towel inside on the bottom while you're washing up to soften any impact.

Busy kitchens will benefit from a double-bowled model (for example, you can soak your pans in one while the other can be used for washing and prepping veg) but a good-sized single bowl should do the trick for most households. Make sure there's an overflow if you're keen to avoid overfilling and spills, and if your chosen model doesn't have a tap hole, remember to leave room behind for it.

Bowland 600 sink, £631, shaws of Darwen

Bowland 600 sink, £631, shaws of Darwen

There's no need to up-sticks and move to the country with this stunning sink – just gaze at its fluted pie-crust front and you're already there.

Classic Belfast sink, £139.99, Rangemaster

Classic Belfast sink, £139.99, Rangemaster

The lustrous finish and weir overflow of this timeless design are a nod to the original Belfast sinks. Ideal for a rustic or vintage-style kitchen paired with a deck or wall-mounted tap.

Belfast 100 sink, £249, Carron phoenix

Belfast 100 sink, £249, Carron phoenix

Bring some classic charm to a contemporary kitchen with this single-bowl Belfast. Its more modern integrated overflow instantly updates the design.

Belfast VBK 720 sink, £468.64, Franke

Belfast VBK 720 sink, £468.64, Franke

Smooth, white and sleek, what better way to expand your sink capacity than with a twin-bowl ceramic sink? Perfect for a hardworking modern kitchen.

Milano penthouse 800 sink, £2,500, deVoL

Milano penthouse 800 sink, £2,500, deVoL

Marvellous in marble, this stone sink is firmly at the top of our kitchen wish-list. Delicate veining and elegant corners are sure to turn even humdrum washing chores into a joy.

Teak lacquered sink, £912, William garvey

Teak lacquered sink, £912, William garvey

Made from a laminated teak composite that can withstand water without going mouldy, this timber sink is a great way to bring the warmth of wood into your kitchen.

Teak lacquered sink, £912, William garvey

Teak lacquered sink, £912, William garvey

Made from a laminated teak composite that can withstand water without going mouldy, this timber sink is a great way to bring the warmth of wood into your kitchen.

Farmhouse 80 2.0 bowl sink, £435, Villeroy & Boch at neptune

Farmhouse 80 2.0 bowl sink, £435, Villeroy & Boch at neptune

For all your soaking, scrubbing and spritzing needs. A little nostalgic but with a crisp, clean finish, this double-bowled beauty will add real character to your kitchen.

Henri ii sink, £969.95, Chambord at sinks

Henri ii sink, £969.95, Chambord at sinks

A black exterior contrasted against crisp white ceramic turns this sink into the star of your kitchen. Add in some classic style à la française and this practical deep tub becomes a real talking point.

Belfast 1.0B sink, £199.99, Astracast

Belfast 1.0B sink, £199.99, Astracast

Show your metal with this brushed stainless-steel design. Its generous 47-litre capacity makes it large enough to soak everything from platters to the deepest of pans.