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Apron Sink vs Farmhouse Sink (Design Guide)

Here’s our guide to the differences between an apron sink vs farmhouse sink including size, materials and design.
Contemporary kitchen with apron sink in island with white quartz countertops black pendant lightsIn most cases the apron sink and the farmhouse sink are extremely similar. Why would it have two different names then you may ask? This is a marketing strategy. By changing the name from a farmhouse sink to an apron sink it no longer limits these types of sinks to just being used in farmhouse style homes.

After the name change came into place, the apron sink then evolved into a completely new type of sink with different features and materials that are used. This is to make it more versatile in other styles of kitchen, while farmhouse takes the cake on any farmhouse style kitchens.

One of the best features of both the apron sink and farmhouse sink is that the entire point of them is to save the countertops from water damage.

These sinks do it in slightly different ways; the farmhouse sink is freestanding, away from the countertops, and the apron sink cuts away the most vulnerable section of countertop. This is a huge advantage when using natural stone, or other naturally porous materials on countertops.

Difference Between a Farm Sink and an Apron Sink?

Single basin apron sink in kitchen cornerFarmhouse kitchen sinks are meant to be extremely functional. This led to the sink often having multiple bowls in one sink, as well as a drying area that drains to the sink. See more pictures of double basin kitchen sinks here.

They also have a large backsplash and rim around it to keep all the water in the sink area, instead of on the floor.

The entire sink is made from one big piece of material, typically enameled cast iron. By being one large piece it avoids any seams that could collect water or harbor germs.

With all these features these sinks were often so large that they were their own entity and not necessarily attached to the countertop. They could be attached, but was often not the case as it was better for the smaller kitchens to have them separate.

In some extremely small kitchens the sink portion could also be added in a separate room, but this was only in old extremely traditional, often more upscale types of homes.

Sink Size Differences

Kitchen with double basin farmhouse sinkA beautiful traditional kitchen with window over sink.

Farmhouse sinks are often extremely large, heavy duty and quite heavy. This is the older, more traditional type of farmhouse sink, compared to the next section about the modern apron sink.

On the contrary, the apron sink is the much more modern and flexible version of the above mentioned farmhouse sink.

Apron sinks are typically much smaller than the farmhouse sink, and can be placed in a countertop arrangement, instead of needing to be its own entity.

Apron sinks also can nix the backsplashes and the drying area to shrink its size a little. After all this modernization, the apron sink comes to be and averaged sized, one to two bowl sink.

What Makes An Apron Sink Different From a Standard Sink?

Now, what makes an apron sink different than any standard sink that could be used in a kitchen? The way this sink is placed into the counter is going to be the most enticing and unique factor of the apron sink.

A standard sink would be dropped into a hole in the countertop, so you can only see the top of the sink. An apron sink cuts that front section of the countertop as well, so when the sink it placed you can see the entire front and top of the sink.

This is helpful if the countertop you have is not particularly good with water, because then you have less of a chance of ruining it.

Apron Sink vs Farmhouse Sink Material Differences

Kitchen with double basin farmhouse sinkAs mentioned above, farmhouse sinks in particular are often made from an enameled cast iron, and sometime even fire clay. This gives the look of the old time farmhouse and the traditional aesthetic that the farmhouse style exudes.

This is one of the limiting factors of the farmhouse sink since the appeal is often in the traditional materials and look of the farmhouse sink. Nowadays, these can be made from different materials, if the desired look can still be achieved.

When it comes to the apron sink, which again is just a more modern, versatile form of the farmhouse sink, are commonly made from materials such as stainless steel, granite composite and sometimes even copper depending on the desired aesthetic.

The material selection on an apron sink is a great deal more flexible as it does not need to express the aesthetic of age and tradition. An apron sink can be slipped into and design style one desires by coordinating the materials with the other elements in the space.

For another related article visit our types of kitchen faucets guide.