Does a Sink Have to Be Centered in the Cabinet?

Designing or redesigning a kitchen is undoubtedly stressful. If someone is going through that right now, they will find themselves thinking about all sorts of questions they have never imagined. For example, does the sink need to be centered? And if so, where should it be centered?

A sink does not need to be centered in a cabinet to be usable. It will function if attached to a good water source and sewer outlet. However, most people prefer to center the sink because it is more aesthetically pleasing than an uncentered one.

Read on for our handy guide to whether to center a sink or not – and all the things to consider if you choose not to do so!

An image of Cabinet installation base for an island in center installation on kitchen countertops and sink.

Where Should the Sink Be Placed in a Base Cabinet?

The standard place to put a sink in a cabinet base is to center it under an upper cabinet or in front of a kitchen window. Designs vary based on both aesthetics and functionality. Sinks can also be centered in a room or working island. Sinks can be placed for function, aesthetics, or both.

Of course, everything will come down to personal choices. Still, there is more to consider than ever imagined, whether to center the sink in a cabinet, line it up with other house features, or even place it somewhere that’s going to make chores strategically easier.

Wherever a person puts in a sink, a few considerations would be sensible to bear in mind. These include the plumbing, natural light, and functionality of the sink.


Plumbing is one of the most important things to remember when considering where to put a sink. After all, if there isn’t any plumbing there, then no amount of wishing will make that spot work for a sink.

A good plumber can install a sink wherever we like, but some configurations will be much easier than others. If we’re planning a refurb rather than a new build, the cheapest and easiest option will always be to work with existing plumbing rather than a drastic change.

I’ll go into the plumbing details a little bit more later, so read on if that’s something that sounds interesting.

Natural light

Having good natural light at a sink can make a huge difference to the atmosphere of a kitchen. After all, we will spend much time preparing food, washing dishes, or washing our hands.

Placing a sink in line with a window might help keep its natural light or give us a nice view. This comes down to personal choice; many choose to place the sink under wall cabinets instead.

This is going to depend on what the overall room looks like. Our sink is centered under a window, but it is not centered regarding anything else. Even so, the natural light helps at the sink, making the whole room work.


How we usually use our sink affects where we should put it.

One common consideration is that we should place the sink near the dishwasher. After all, this will save us many steps after years of doing dishes.

Centering a sink in a cabinet ensures we have lots of space on either side. However, we may prefer to have more space on one side or align it with something else for aesthetic reasons.

If we often host guests for dinner parties, we should put the sink somewhere so we can cook and clean without having to turn our back on the guests, such as a kitchen island.

If we’re more likely to use a sink just for doing the dishes, it can be nice to have a window to look out of while doing so – chores with a view.

An image of a Modern white kitchen sink with morning sun rays.

Where Should the Sink Be Placed on the Counter?

A kitchen sink can be placed anywhere on the counter. While centering to a window or the middle of a counter can look good, consider putting it elsewhere for practical considerations or if the desired aesthetic requires it.

When placing a sink on a counter, consider all the same things I’ve mentioned above for placing a sink on a cabinet. As long as it satisfies all of those, the exact placement is entirely up to the homeowner.

If your builder or handyman has some suggestions on where to place it (to make life easier), it’s worth hearing them out. Then, you can all make that final decision together.

Is It Okay if the Sink Is Ever Off-Center?

The sink can be off-center, though it’s not common. It is common to place a sink in the dead center of a cabinet or counter. However, it’s not an essential part of kitchen design, and there are numerous reasons people might not want to center a sink in the base cabinet.

A common reason to off-center a sink is to combine all the work surfaces into one large area rather than two split-up ones.

If the kitchen, or the cabinet, is small, this can be an effective solution to ensure enough space to prepare food and dry dishes. After all, one usable workspace is better than two spaces that are too small.

Remember that if the sink is off-center in a large kitchen, we may still want to maintain a decent workspace on either side to wash dishes or prepare food. A recommended amount of space to preserve is twenty to twenty-four inches on either side.

And really, that’s a low bar for a minimum. More preparation space is always better if there’s room for it.

As long as it works with the plumbing, a sink can be almost anywhere (though they generally tend to be in the same places for convenience). Read on about sink plumbing and whether the sink needs to be centered over the plumbing.

Does Sink Plumbing Have To Be Centered?

Sink plumbing doesn’t have to be centered, although this is often the default option to make the plumbing accessible and more universal. If someone is refurbishing a house, they will likely find that the plumbing is set up this way.

However, suppose someone is designing their kitchen from scratch or has a refurbishing idea that they want to do. In that case, it’s always possible to change the plumbing, and a good plumber (whether a contractor or a DIYer) can work miracles.

Remember that changing the plumbing will cost more than keeping it as is. It’s also sensible to make sure that any plumbing is installed somewhere easily accessible (not squeezed into corners, for example), as this will make it much easier to repair if there are any issues in the future.

You never want to crawl into a corner cabinet or any other hard-to-reach place when pipes have sprung a leak! So don’t forget to install a shut-off valve in the plumbing system.

If someone has a heart set on an unusual sink configuration and needs the plumbing to change, they should go for it. However, if taking the DIY approach, consult a professional plumber first, as they’ll point out all sorts of factors you never considered.

An image of Close up of a kitchen sink, worktop, and window in the kitchen, the square is the installation of the countertop.

Should Kitchen Sinks Be Centered in the Cabinet Or to a Window?

A kitchen sink can be centered in the base cabinet or under a window, depending mainly on personal preference. Centering in the cabinet can offer excellent symmetry, while centering to a window can offer good natural light and lovely views. Both options are common and generally acceptable.

It might be nice to center the sink if there is a charming window view (of a garden or skyline). That’s especially true if we’re planning to spend long hours standing at the sink cleaning or washing up.

That said, if a window faces directly onto a busy road (and if there isn’t a front garden), it might be uncomfortable to always be in view when doing the dishes.

The individual specifics of a kitchen will also come into play here — wherever we place the sink, it’s a good idea to have it naturally well-lit, which in some cases will mean it needs to be under a window. In other words, that may indicate other locations work better.

Key Takeaways and Next Steps

So, now we know that, for the most part, it doesn’t matter where we install a sink as long as there is a water source available. It truly is a matter of what the homeowner prefers.

Our first home’s kitchen sink was originally centered under our front window. We didn’t like the placement (hello, neighbors driving by!), but the natural light ended up being so good that, even though we rebuilt all of the cabinets (and moved some of them), we left the sink centered under that window. We did move the dishwasher to be closer to the sink, though, to create a dishwashing zone.

In our current home, the sink is again centered under a (much smaller) window. However, it looks out over the backyard, so the view is fantastic. We’ve also remodeled this kitchen, and the sink stayed under the window.

So if you had to center your sink under one thing, my first suggestion would be under a window. If that doesn’t work? Then center it on a base cabinet where it makes the most sense.


Learning from your own experience is important, but learning from others is also smart. These sources were used in this article and our research to be more informed as we DIY and decorate our homestead.

  • Dean, Erica. “WHERE TO PLACE YOUR KITCHEN SINK.” Dean Cabinetry, 14 Sept. 2022,
  • Ebert, Jennifer. “Where Should a Sink Be in a Kitchen? 7 Ways to Determine Placement.”, 17 July 2022,

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