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Pedestal Sinks: A Surprising Solution For Any Bathroom

Of all styles of bathroom sinks, pedestal sinks are among the most tried and true – and certainly one of the most time-tested. Pedestal sinks have seen widespread usage for more than a hundred years now, and there’s even a strong movement to collect and preserve antique pedestal sinks for use in historical homes. But the very fact that pedestal sinks are still popular proves the design is timeless, and some newer, more contemporary designs make it a look that works even in modern bathrooms.

Why Pedestal Sinks?

China Small Traditional Pedestal From Whitehaus
China Small Traditional Pedestal From Whitehaus

Regular readers might be wondering why I – someone who spends quite a bit of time talking about storage smart design – is a fan of pedestal sinks, which have exactly no storage. Normally I would say begone with such inefficiency, but ultimately I think that, even by modern standards, pedestal sinks are simply well designed. Pedestal sinks like this China Pedestal from Whitehaus are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they’re often the most compact option you can get. Maybe more importantly, their slim profile means not only more literal space, but also more white space. That means their shapely style helps to create a light, bright, wide-open feel that’s so important in any bathroom (and especially a small bathroom), and that you won’t get from a big boxy bathroom vanity.

The Classic Pedestal

Charleston Pedestal Sink From Herbeau
Charleston Pedestal Sink From Herbeau

The original and most traditional pedestal sinks are based on classical architecture – a romanesque column base with a decorative top, made of a single or sometimes two porcelain pieces. In line with the neoclassical design movement that inspired them, pedestal sinks are simple, sleek, and clean, made to resemble all the while marble and grandeur of ancient Greece and Rome, but on a much smaller scale. Something like this Charleston Pedestal from Herbeau will have noticeable detail work on the base, the “vanity top,” and the backsplash alike, and is best suited for a very traditional Victorian or Edwardian bathroom.

Making It A Little More Modern

Guinevere Pedestal Sink From Toto
Guinevere Pedestal Sink From Toto

Many pedestal sinks still hearken back to the grooved surface of ancient columns, but the designs have simplified noticeably over the years to something more like this Guinevere Sink from Toto. These either have more gently grooved bases or ones that are simply elegantly shaped, maybe with bands of detail at the top or bottom rather than vertical grooves. They also tend to have simpler, more squared sink tops, usually without the very classic built-in backsplash. These slightly more contemporary designs are suited to a wide range of bathrooms, from turn of the century cottage style baths to anywhere you want to add a compact decorative sink

Truly Contemporary

City Pedestal Sink From GSI
City Pedestal Sink From GSI

Most pedestal sinks fall in that second category – still nodding toward tradition, but simplified for easy cleaning and a more casual contemporary setting. But many designers are starting to come out with much more modern designs, like this City Pedestal from GSI. They still have a base and a sink, but instead of shapely, decorative stands, these are simplified and geometric, either conical and tapered or simply cylindrical, with thick, showy sink tops that are more like modern ceramic vessel sinks. These have many of the same advantages of the traditional compact design, but mesh wonderfully with the minimalism of modern design, and offer a fresh, unique twist for a modern bathroom.

Perfect For Any Size Bath

Soiree Modern Pedestal Sink From Toto
Soiree Modern Pedestal Sink From Toto

Because pedestal sinks are available in so many styles, they work well with a huge variety of bathroom designs. For a turn of the century cottage style bathroom, pedestal sinks are small and svelte enough to make the space seem larger and mesh well with a white-on-white porcelain tile style. In a master bathroom, they’re easily doubled up for a nice, simple symmetry. In a modern bath, a more contemporary design (like this Soiree Pedestal) can nicely encapsulate a sense of smooth, clean minimalism. Finally, pedestal sinks work especially well in a small guest bathroom where you might not need the same amount of storage, but want to save as much floor space as possible.

What About Storage

L'Expression Modern Pedestal Sink From Porcher
L’Expression Modern Pedestal Sink From Porcher

Speaking of storage, I’ll admit that it’s an issue that deserves addressing. As much as I love love love the look of pedestal sinks, they don’t come with any built in storage, and that can be a problem in any size bathroom. Choosing a pedestal sink means choosing not to have a storage cabinet or drawers, and often not a whole lot of counter space, either. But none of that makes pedestal sinks a bad choice, and I’ll tell you why: the amount of space saved by choosing such a small, thin fixture opens up a whole lot of space (especially wall space) to install storage customized to your needs. Whether that means wall mounted toothbrush holders, wall mounted storage cabinets, or just a decorative dirty clothes basket that fits next to the sink, a pedestal sink might not have a lot of storage space on its own, but it offers a whole lot more options than a more conventional setup. If you’re still worried about storage, look for something like this L’Expression Pedestal from Porcher that has a built-in towel bar, which can significantly clear up your wall space for more storage.

What do you think of the pedestal sink? Is it something you’d want in your bathroom? And do you tend toward a more traditional style, simpler contemporary designs, or very modern ones?