By Steve Graham, Networx

Your kitchen sink is easy to overlook. A Food Network demo could make you covet a convection oven, but rarely a new sink. However, the kitchen sink is a significant part of cooking and cleaning. It may not be as exciting as a new major appliance, but upgrading the sink may go a long ways toward improving your kitchen quality-of-life. Here are 10 ways -- minor and major -- to customize your kitchen sink.

 

 1.   Add or subtract a bowl

Two-bowl kitchen sinks have become fairly standard, allowing separation of clean and dirty dishes. However, some users want the simplicity and volume of a single basin. Single-bowl sinks are typically large enough for soaking big pots, defrost turkeys or maybe bathe a baby.

Other manufacturers are going the other direction -- adding a third small bowl. These may be between the bowls or on one side. They are often connected to the disposal, but consider connecting one of the larger bowls to the disposal instead. This will allow you to scrape large bowls or pans directly into the disposal drain. Also be aware that a three-bowl sink may not be a simple switch. Many three-bowl sinks require an extra 12 inches of counter space.

 

2. Under-mount the sink

 Under-mount sinks are a new trend, replacing the standard drop-in sink with a lip over the counter all the way around the basins. Under-mount sinks attach to the bottom of stone or solid-surface counters, creating a uniform, flush countertop surface and a more simple, attractive look. Users also say under-mount sinks are easier to clean. They make it easier to clean countertops, as you can just squeegee all the water and debris on the counter into the sink without a lip in the way.  Another option is the tile-in sink. This sink’s rim is flush with the tile countertop surface, and sealed in with grout.

 

3. Customize the shape

 Perhaps the easiest sink to clean is a solid-surface acrylic or stone sink. These integral sinks can be directly molded into the countertop. They are quiet, durable and can be customized in any shape, but they are also among the most expensive sinks.

 

4.  Get custom accessories

Some sinks come with colanders and cutting boards that fit perfectly over one of the bowls. No more juggling a colander and a boiling pot to strain pasta.

 

5.   Bend the faucet

Gooseneck faucets create more space between the spout and the bottom of the basin. They make it easier to fill tall pitchers and vases, and to wash large pots. However, water may splash and create a mess if the faucet is too tall for the sink.

 

6.   Get a deeper basin

Another way to add space is with a deeper bowl. The standard basin is six to eight inches deep, but newer models are inching deeper. A 12-inch-deep basin may be more convenient, but they will also be less comfortable for taller users.

 

7.   Replace the handle

Try out the many types of kitchen sink handles, including levers, twist knobs and cross handles. Some prefer the ease of a single lever while others would rather have two separate controls. Both options now come with wrist blades, which are a great option for hands-free manipulation, particularly if you struggle with finger and hand pain.