What Everybody Forgets About Elegant Pedestal Sinks

updated May 3, 2019
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(Image credit: Heather Keeling)

See a bathroom pedestal sink and you can’t help but think things like sleek, streamlined, graceful. And they are undeniably handy in tight quarters when there’s no room for a full-fledged vanity, and they do tend to be much less expensive than a sink and vanity. Also? There’s just something romantic about them.

Maybe it’s because pedestal sinks let us pretend we don’t need any equipment, chemicals, or other accoutrements to get ready, nor do we have to ever address bodily functions. The idea of the pedestal sink is that everything is effortless. There’s no futzing about awkward cabinets for you! You just wake up, splash your face with cool water, and go on about your glamorous day.

(Image credit: Esteban Cortez)

Sadly, I’m here to break it to you that as pretty as they are, pedestal sinks are not your friend. At least not unless you’re that miraculous zero-maintenance person. Or, if you don’t have enough room in your bathroom to put a storage cabinet or shelves.

No, if you need a place to keep plastic bottles of mouthwash, dog-eared boxes of bandages, and far too many bits and bobs of makeup and skin care—not to mention razors, a flatiron or curling iron (or both!), and period supplies—you’re out of luck in a pedestal sink bathroom.

Bathroom vanity cabinets may not be as simple and pretty, but they are a necessary evil. Unless you have alternate storage, or are a fan of bathroom open shelving, your sink has to be a workhorse. And that means keeping all the unattractive detritus of daily life neatly out of sight. What if you find your favorite body wash on sale and stock up? It’s got to go in that black hole under the sink, which isn’t possible when there is no black hole under the sink.

(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

As someone who inherited a perfectly lovely pedestal sink in my guest bathroom, I’ve got one other beef with them. The sink bowl is actually plenty large, which is nice, but it’s only a bowl, with no counter to speak of. There’s barely enough surface space to balance a bottle of hand soap (which I manage to knock over most days), let alone the gear I need to get ready.

Where does that leave me? Well, I can dump my make-up kit into the sink, but then I can’t wash my hands as I go. Or I can set it on the toilet lid. Which just feels… gross. I guess there’s the floor, but nobody wants to keep bending over to grab things.

Here’s the thing. If you’re really limited on space, narrow sink cabinets can give you a surprising amount of storage. I had to go super-streamlined for our main bath renovation—the same 24-inch width as the pedestal sink in the other bath mentioned above. I briefly considered a pedestal or wall mount, but found an incredibly clever option—at Menards, of all places.

The vanity and integrated sink actually came with a ton of storage in its pull out drawer-within-a-drawer set-up, and even a bit of countertop space. It doesn’t feel limited in space at all. And bonus, it was incredibly affordable.

So if you’re eyeing a pretty pedestal sink on Pinterest somewhere, maybe take a minute to picture real life… and reconsider.