You’ve picked out your drawer style, settled on upper shelving, and even came to a conclusion on hardware—your kitchen design is nearly complete. But there’s often one spot that gets lost in the excitement of a kitchen reno: the sink base cabinet. This wide-open box that hides all the plumbing doesn’t have to look like the rest of the cupboards in the room.
First up, let’s cover the basics—starting with how big your cabinet should be. According to Paul Dashevsky and Jon Grishpul, the cofounders of GreatBuildz, a matchmaking service that connects homeowners with general contractors, the standard measurements are 36 inches wide and 24 inches deep. The height is also typically 36 inches, but it can be customized depending on what kind of basin you plan to install (an apron-style front will eat into the cupboard). As for what your cupboard should be made out of, the pros recommend melamine, solid wood, or plywood. “Definitely avoid particleboard, as it can’t handle the weight requirements of most sinks and is damaged by water much easier than the alternatives,” says Dashevsky.
All that said, your sink base cabinet doesn’t have to be a boring box—let alone a place that gathers dust and reusable bags. Here are five ideas for revamping the overlooked cupboard, plus a few stock options to get you started.
Bring on the Texture
For a custom feel, opt for embellished fronts. These small grooves (also known as beads) act as a framing device and add definition to the cabinet. Depending on the fabricator you choose, the beads can either be made out of an additional piece of molding that’s applied to the front of the frame or by carving out the inset with a router.
Put Wood Scraps to Work
One important thing to know about sink cabinets is that they don’t even have to come from the same fabricator. When renovating her former Los Angeles home, Leanne Ford called on her friend Deter Fabrik to cut up one of her favorite tables and turn it into the cupboard’s front. “Repurposing something well-loved offers that extra bit of character,” she says of the hack.
Skirt the Millwork
Save on carpentry by covering the opening with fabric (patterned skirts, in particular, are making a comeback this year). You don’t have to get fussy with hardware either. Designer Alex Boudreau hung the ones in her Todos Santos, Mexico home with a simple tension rod and ties.
Leave It Open
Give your existing sink base cabinet a fresh look by ripping off the doors. If you’re concerned about the exposed plumbing fixtures being an eyesore, paint them! This renter-friendly hack works for the rest of your cabinets, too.
Spare yourself water damage with a drip-edge (Shea McGee’s go-to sink cabinet move). The extended lip catches any spillage that happens when you’re doing dishes, ensuring your doors stay pristine. The extension can come in the form of a slab of stone or just more wood, depending on how much you want to spend and whether you want it to play off the countertops.