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Not Your Grandma’s Pedestal Sink: An Updated Look For A Small Bathroom

Pedestal sinks have been a staple of small bathroom design for pretty much as long as we’ve had the concept of “bathroom design.” And for the most part, the way they’re made has changed very little: a broad porcelain basin perched atop a simple pedestal, with variation mostly in the size and detail work. But while pedestal sinks are a brilliant solution for a small space, their classic design can feel a little outdated in a more contemporary bathroom. To get the best of both worlds, you need to look for a pedestal sink that breaks the mold.

27.5" Pedestal Sink LT962 from Toto
27.5″ Pedestal Sink LT962 from Toto

How do you do that, exactly? Some designs that are on the tame side re-envision the pedestal and the sink as simpler and more geometric, with designs that are hefty and bold rather than delicate and elegant. But I’d consider these pedestal sinks more along the line of transitional – they’re modern enough to make your bathroom feel a little more updated, but are still pretty strongly tied to their original designs, so they don’t feel completely new or different.

Quebec 17.5" Solid Surface Pedestal Sink 127-V17.5-BW from James Martin Furniture
Quebec 17.5″ Solid Surface Pedestal Sink 127-V17.5-BW from James Martin Furniture

If you want to get a really different look, though, you need to throw out the idea of the pedestal and sink entirely. Modern designs typically do this by merging the two into a single solid piece, then treating it as a sculpture. Of course, they still have some of the practical necessities – a sink, room for a faucet, and typically a little counter space. But from there, there’s a lot of room to get creative and bold with the style and create something far more striking and modern than you’d get even from an updated pedestal sink made from the traditional two parts.

Quadro 23" White Pedestal Sink FVN5024WH from Fesca
Quadro 23″ White Pedestal Sink FVN5024WH from Fesca

More modern pedestal sinks certainly aren’t taking over the market, but they aren’t as hard to find as you might think. Many manufacturers are sneaking a design or two into their catalogs, and while you might admittedly be lacking a little for variety, if you shop around you can find some pretty fun and unique designs. This angular, “floating” sink is a particularly popular look, somewhere between a folded piece of paper and a gravity-defying modern sculpture, but it’s far from the only style out there.

Parma 24" White Pedestal Sink FVN5023WH from Fresca
Parma 24″ White Pedestal Sink FVN5023WH from Fresca

Conical pedestal sinks are another common option, and one that many manufacturers put their own small twists on. They can be smooth or patterned, perfectly round or slightly oblong, and stand apart from the wall or be flattened up against it. The size and shape of the sinks can differ, too, which not only changes the appearance of the sink, but also the amount of “counter” space. Pedestals with perfectly round sinks tend to have very little counter space (and if they do, it’s in the form of a small ledge behind the faucet), but ones with semi-circular sinks tend to have a tad more surface space.

Messina 16" White Pedestal Sink FVN5022WH from Fresca
Messina 16″ White Pedestal Sink FVN5022WH from Fresca

I’ll be perfectly honest: when it comes to white porcelain contemporary pedestal sinks, the updated versions are almost always worse for storage than the tried-and-true traditional versions, simply because the basins aren’t as wide. The flip side of that, though, is that modern pedestal sinks can be used in spaces so small that even a traditional pedestal would be cumbersome. That makes them a great option for dressing up a small half bath or powder room. You’ll get the full functionality of the sink in a stylish package that’s less than 20″ at its widest, and even smaller at the base – which makes it doubly easy to clean around.

Ovale 24" Modern Glass Bathroom Vanity FVN1019 from Fresca
Ovale 24″ Modern Glass Bathroom Vanity FVN1019 from Fresca

If you are looking to add a more modern pedestal sink to a bathroom you’re going to be using regularly, though, you might want to abandon the classic white porcelain and go in for a more modern material as well. Metal-and-glass pedestals are also becoming more popular (and more widely produced), but don’t settle for being merely pretty to look at. Though they’re certainly less practical looking, these pedestal sinks typically include not only a metal base and glass vessel sink, but also a glass countertop, towel bars, and sometimes even shelves. All while still benefiting from the style and compact footprint of a more modern design.

If you’re in the market to redecorate a small bathroom, traditional pedestal sinks are a tempting option, but they certainly aren’t the only one. Even if you don’t want to opt for a very small bathroom vanity, a more contemporary option might give your space the look and feel you’ve been missing.