An Architect's approach to kitchens and kitchen renovations - part 3 - sinks, countertops and backsplashes

This is Part 3 of our series on Kitchen Renovations. Scroll down or click the links for the previous posts.

When an architect is designing a kitchen in a new home or in a kitchen renovation project they try to make clients aware that this space is best approached by prioritizing what you want both functionally and aesthetically and then working in roughly this order:

  • GENERAL LAYOUT (Part 1, below)
  • APPLIANCES (Part 2, below)
  • CABINETS (Part 2, below)
    • (at a window or island is nice, do you need a second?)
    • (what material? how hight? do you want a transaction counter?)
    • (standard 4" or full height?)
  • LIGHTING (coming soon)



Compared to most if these things sinks may seem less significant, but I would definitely take the time to make sure you are happy with the sink. Sinks are the first component that can be changed relatively easily, but they are also the component that will be used the most. Make sure it is big enough for your biggest pots and pans. Make sure they are deep enough but not too deep. Make sure it accommodates the faucet you like. Will there be an integrated soap dispenser, instant hot water, single handle etc. Finally will they be under mounted or top mounted? Also remember a sink sets up your dishwasher location, so do you load to the right, or load to the left, or does it matter?


There are a wide variety of counter top materials to choose for your kitchen renovation, ranging from laminate, to granite, to concrete to a myriad of synthetic or manmade composite products. I would pick my cabinets before my countertop, as most countertops offer a flexibility in coloration that will allow you to work with a more finite cabinet color palette.


 Backsplashes allow for a chance to add some accent color and personality to a highly visible area, while also having the opportunity to make that area that is typically between the countertop and underside of the wall cabinets easy to clean up. Often an accent tile works well here and can be incorporated with a feature behind the cooktop. Keep in mind that you will be required to have electrical outlets in this area so you will want to make sure that those locations and face plates are integrated with your design.