11 March 2009

Reader question: two pedestal sinks in the master bath?

Help! You always give no nonsense advice and we are in the middle of gutting our master bath. It's fairly large, and we're thinking of putting pedestal sinks in. What do you think? My tile designer says no pedestal sinks in a master bath... that people want something more substantial like a built in vanity with granite. What do you think?

Really? Someone told you that you shouldn't put pedestal sinks in a master bath? Where does this kind of "advice" come from? Who comes up with this crap? Really, who?

A lot of times this sort of rule making comes about as a result of an obsession with resale values mixed with entirely too much time spent in front of HGTV. Then take those two elements and sprinkle them liberally with someone who doesn't know what he or she is talking about and you get hackneyed advice like that. Tell your "tile designer" to take a hike.

The truth of the matter is that the only rule is that there aren't any rules. Every situation, every room and every homeowner is different. Do you like pedestal sinks? Can the room  handle them? If the answer is yes to both of those questions, then by all means put two pedestal sinks in your mater bath and get on with things.

All too often, people get hung up on what may or may not turn off a potential buyer at some point down the road. It is impossible to know who may some day look at your home as a potential buyer and you will drive yourself insane worrying about it. So just let that one go and make a home for yourself that you love. Besides, when have you ever not put an offer on a home because of the presence or lack of pedestal sinks?

The sorts of things that will make someone not make an offer on a home are filth, poorly and cheaply executed improvements, clutter and again, filth. If you want to improve your odds should you ever resell a home, buy nice fixtures and just let it go. When you do go to put your house on the market, clean it to within an inch of its life and keep it that way for as long as it stays on the market.

And in the meantime, put together a master bath that makes you happy. Since you're going to the expense of remodeling a master bath, get good pedestal sinks. Tiny, $100 pedestal sinks from an endcap at Home Depot are wasting your time and effort. Get decent-sized ones that will give your a ledge that surrounds the actual sink. 

Take a look at the Memoirs pedestal from Kohler and you'll see what I mean by a ledge around the sink. That ledge is not intended to be a storage area, though that's precisely what it'll end up being if you don't plan for a place to put your stuff beforehand. Think about hanging a shallow shelf on the wall the sinks attach to. It sounds like you have a bit of room in this master bath, so why not bring in a piece of furniture? Find an antique chest of drawers or dressing table and set it between the two pedestals. Make it interesting, make it practical and make it attractive and you will enjoy that master bath for years to come.


  1. Hi Paul,

    You're so right!
    Love the bathroom in the picture, gonna save it in my to do list folder.

    gr. Mel

  2. I love the look of them , however for re-sale ...I would think twice. Love the bathroom photo. Good luck

  3. Hey! Thanks for the comment. What's popular in bath design in The Netherlands? Do you and your partner have a bath remodel in your future?

  4. I disagree very strongly with the re-sale advice and thanks for the comment. I'd love to hear more about your argument though. I hear stuff like that all the time and it doesn't seem to be based on anything but a gut feeling. What makes you say "think twice?" Great blog by the way and welcome.

  5. From the functional and practical point of view, I am not a fan of pedestal sinks in a bathroom. However, some bathrooms are small and the pedestal sink is the best option.

    Why am I not a fan? I find I am balancing the products I use around the sink and invariably they fall into the sink or on the floor. I like counter space and drawers if there is enough space.

    If having a pedestal sink is important to a person, one solution is to have shelves around the sink area to place your products. Another solution would be to place your products on top of a piece of furniture located close by.

  6. I'm with you on that Susan, they are not the most practical things in the world and that's why whenever I use one in a project I always build a storage area somewhere close by. Left to my own devices I tend not to use them, but some people like the look so much they'll put up with the minimized storage. The publicity shot I got from Kohler at the top of this post is a prime example of what not to do, but if there were an additional foot of space between those two sinks, a chest of drawers would fit in there perfectly and solve the storage dilemmas in one fell swoop.

  7. I'm all for breaking design "rules"!! :-)

    If a person loves pedestal sinks and wants two of them in their bathroom, then I say go for it. Just make sure to come up with a design plan for the whole room that's be practical and functional.

    Personally, I'm not crazy about being able to see the pipes between the base of a pedestal sink and the wall. And I'm so sloppy when I use a sink, even a pedestal with a ledge won't stop me from getting water everywhere!!

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  8. Amen! I'm with you on the mess part, it's one of the reasons that I like that Memoirs by Kohler so much, it has a wide enough ledge to keep the slop water off the floor. Sometimes. And I'm with you on the planning part. Practicality is the trump card.

  9. spoken like a true man...lol one word...MAKEUP! Woman need space in the master bathroom.

  10. Hah! I thought that's what rear view mirrors were for!

  11. Pedestals with great ledge space are beautiful. I agree w/Paul entirely. I'd love to see a gorgeous storage piece between the two to accommodate some of the items you want to hide away.

  12. Great minds think alike Jamie!


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