Why Are Kitchen Sinks Under Windows?

Almost every kitchen sink is placed under a window, but why? No, it’s not just tradition and there’s actually a lot more to it.

Since windows are on outside walls, a sink placed under a window does not need extra piping under the floor for drainage and is thus easier and cheaper. Windows can be opened to give way to bad smelling dishes and also offer a view to a person doing the dishes. Lastly, cabinets over a sink are neither desirable nor can they be placed on a window. This makes kitchen windows a space-optimising place for sinks.

Interestingly, architects and home decorators are coming up with new kitchen designs every year, motivating people to experiment with traditions. Gone are the days when every single kitchen sink was placed under a window. However, there’s so much to learn before you decide where to place your kitchen sink. Let’s discuss the details.

Does a Kitchen Sink Need to be Under a Window?

If I am to be honest, this question does not have a yes/no answer.

Does putting your sink under the window have its benefits? Yes, definitely. But do you absolutely have to place it there? Well no, not if you have other plans.

Let’s first discuss the advantages of placing your kitchen sink under a window:

1. A Great Space Saver

We all love having cabinets in our kitchen. The more, the better. However, there are two places where you cannot put them:

  • On the kitchen window.
  • Over the sink (Well, you can place cabinets there but it’s not recommended as they interfere while washing a big item in the sink).

This makes two places where you miss out on cabinet space, but if you place your sink under the window, it turns into just one!

2. Easier & Cheaper Plumbing

Ask any plumber, and they’ll tell you that the best wall to have your kitchen sink in front of is the exterior one (where the window is).

The reason behind is that the sink’s waste pipe needs to be connected to the drains. The farther you move your sink from the outside wall, the longer pipe you’ll need for its drainage. In fact, not just longer, but costlier and messier too. Here’s why:

Drain pipes for sinks away from the exterior wall run under the kitchen floor. This means that in case you have a major blockage, the floor would probably need to be dug up to access the pipes.

Trust me, this is no less of a nightmare both for you and for the plumber.

3. Let the Fresh Air In & Bad Odors Out

This reason usually goes overlooked, but it matters a lot.

Dirty dishes tend to get smelly and having a window right above the sink is a lifesaver at such times. An open window gives bad smells a place to go to, instead of filling up your entire kitchen.

Even if the dishes aren’t smelly, you can still open the window when there’s a fresh breeze outside to make your dish-washing experience pleasant!

4. Dish-Washing with a View & Good Lighting

This is one of the traditional reasons to have your kitchen sink under the window. Back in the day when dish-washers weren’t as common and TVs only streamed a couple of channels, a dull chore like washing the dishes used to be even duller.

So, to make it interesting, people started putting their sinks under windows. This not only gave them an outside view, but also much-needed good lighting while doing the dishes.

I have my sink under the kitchen window too and it overlooks the front lawn. I love having some natural beauty to admire while doing the dishes!

Moreover, doing the dishes with hot water can steam up your kitchen, and an open window makes way for ventilation.

5. Aesthetics

Last but not the least, a sink under the kitchen window is aesthetically pleasing to the eye. Sinks are one of the visual focal points in a kitchen. Windows can dress this space up and turn it into a delightful corner.

Some people go as far as matching their sink type and color to the kitchen windows. For example, a white ceramic farmhouse sink under a white-washed window with glass panes is undoubtedly a thing of beauty!

3 Reasons Not to Place Your Sink Under the Kitchen Window

Can a kitchen sink not be under a window?”

You don’t necessarily have to put your sink under the kitchen window. However, keep in mind that if you don’t, you would be missing out on all the benefits I just discussed.

Nonetheless, there are a few cases when placing the sink right under the kitchen window may not be that great of an idea. Let’s look at the top 3 reasons:

1. You Don’t Use it Often

If you’re someone who doesn’t use their sink often and would rather use the dishwasher to do the dishing, you may not want to have the sink under the window.

When you place the sink under the kitchen window, it means having it somewhere in the middle of the counter. This would not seem like a hindrance to someone who’s reaping the benefits of an under-the-window sink. However, for someone who doesn’t use their sink frequently, it may seem like a pointless hurdle.

So, if you’re the latter kind, you should place your sink at the end of the counter to have uninterrupted counter-space.

2. The Dishwasher is Away from the Window

It’s more important to have your sink near the dishwasher than having it near the window. The reason is obviously that you don’t want to carry dripping dishes all the way to the other end of the kitchen to be placed inside the dishwasher.

Ideally, dishwashers are also placed close to the window to make for easy plumbing, so this is a rare case. However, if your dishwasher is elsewhere, I recommend placing your sink as close to it as possible.

3. You Would Like Storage Over the Sink

This is for the people who cook a lot and like having their oft-used utensils nearby.

For instance, some people hang ladles, spoons and even small pots above the stove to have easy access. Since that’s a limited space, you can extend it to a shelf over your sink as well.

Again, I recommend this for people who don’t use their sinks all the time because an overhead cabinet or shelf over the sink may become a hindrance while washing big items.

Nonetheless, a shelf over the sink to hang utensils is also useful to dry off wet dishes.

3 Creative Ways to Position Your Sink in a Windowless Kitchen

Before I wrap this post up, I have a few ideas for people who have windowless kitchens. It’s true, not everyone has the luxury of a large kitchen window (especially when you live in an apartment). However, this is no excuse to have a dark and boring kitchen.

When you place your sink in front of a blank wall, you can play around with that space however you like! For example, you can place a shelf over it to hang utensils or even get creative to revamp this visual focal point. Here are some ideas:

  • If you can’t have the outside view while doing the dishes, why not bring it inside? Kitchen is a great place to grow indoor plants. They not only clear up the air, but also add an element of freshness to your kitchen. You can simply place a shelf over your sink and keep small pots of indoor plants there.
  • Since windows are often present behind the sink, this is also a good place for a mirror. Mirrors make a room seem brighter and larger than it actually is. They bounce off light and lighten up a small room.
  • If you’re an art-lover who keeps running out of space to hang their favorite art pieces, a blank wall behind the kitchen sink is a great place. It gives your kitchen a chic look and gives you something to look at while doing the dishes. However, be careful not to place it too low to avoid getting splashes on it. 

Final Thoughts

Kitchen sinks and windows go great together. If you don’t have a specific reason to place your sink away from the kitchen window, I recommend you get it installed under the window.

Most importantly, take your plumber’s counsel if you’re confused about the placement of your kitchen sink. It’s vital to keep a kitchen sink’s plumbing as simple as possible to avoid costly messes in the future.

Finally, this was all you needed to know about why kitchen sinks are under windows and where else can you place them. If you have any questions, drop them in the comments below and I’ll get to them as soon as possible!

George Sab is a retired home improvement professional. For over 30 years, he has educated his clients and helped them make the best choice for their homes. George started A Great Sink in 2017 to share his knowledge with the world and assist his readers on their journey to their perfect home!


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