Belfast Sink Ideas for Your Farmhouse Inspired Kitchen

August 31, 2020

If you like to keep informed with the latest kitchen renovation trends, you’ll know that farmhouse kitchens and décor are having their time in the spotlight. People are turning towards older homes and restoring them rather than demolishing them and building a new home. Along with the rise of farmhouse décor, we’ve seen a growth in the popularity of ceramic kitchen sinks. One popular type of kitchen sink even has its roots in Northern Ireland. That sink is the Belfast sink.

In this article, we’ll go over the history and origins of the Belfast sink. Then, we’ll share our favourite pieces of inspiration for your very own white ceramic sink. Without further ado, let’s get into learning about the sink from Northern Ireland!

Already in love with the belfast sink? Can’t wait to install it? Click below to find a local sink installer near you!

What Is a Belfast Sink?

The Belfast sink is a type of butler sink that originated in Belfast, Northern Ireland. It is modelled after a traditional butler sink, which would have been used in the butler’s pantry for preparing food and washing up. This version of the sink is quite deep, though, for reasons we will cover later.

How Is a Belfast Sink Different from a Butler Sink?

The truth is that they’re not that different. In fact, the Belfast sink is a variation of a butler sink. That means that all Belfast sinks are butler sinks, but not all butler sinks are Belfast sinks. In the next section, we’ll discuss the origins of the Belfast sink and why they look the way that they do. This will also tie in a bit of history around a different type of butler sink: the London sink.

What Are the Origins of the Belfast Sink?

The Belfast sink was designed by sanitation officers in the 17th century and has kept the same features since its inception.

According to, the sanitation officers “made them big enough to wash a small child in and gave the sinks an overflow to allow water to flow out so that the sink did not overflow at the brim”. There was no shortage of water in Belfast, so the capacity did not need to be limited. The Belfast sink drainer is an iconic part of the sink’s design and has been modernised in some variations throughout the years.

Did you know? There is also a variation of the butler sink named for London. It is much shallower than the Belfast sink and does not feature an overflow. London had much less freshwater than Belfast so they couldn’t waste the little water that they had.

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How Can I Include a Belfast Sink in My Kitchen?

Belfast Sinks

Self-Draining Kitchen Worktop

A wooden worktop is perfect for a farmhouse or rustic kitchen, and we just love this one! It features draining grooves in the butcher block worktop that will direct the flow of water coming from drying dishes right back into the sink. That sounds pretty convenient to us!

In this photo, you can see the iconic Belfast sink drainer, ready to catch any overflow from the sink or the drying dishes. This type of kitchen faucet is also pretty common with Belfast sinks, as they do not feature a built-in faucet. Many choose a vintage-looking kitchen tap to accompany their Belfast butler sink.

self-draining belfast sink

Baking Utopia

If you’re a frequent baker, this kitchen probably appeals to you! It features a beautiful stand mixer under shelves of baking supplies and beside an enamel bread box. The kitchen also includes the same draining grooves we saw in the previous kitchen. Talk about a baker’s dream washing up station!

This photo draws attention to the depth of the ceramic sink, as it was meant to be able to hold a baby. The depth of this sink is perfect if you bake often, as you’ll be able to wash any mixing bowls or equipment with ease.

Cosy and Colourful

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Cosy and Colourful

If you love all things kitschy and colourful, this kitchen is for you! The kitchen features an overall farmhouse look with butcher block worktops and shaker style cabinets, but the dishes and decorations take it to a different level. We love the bright colours and Union Jacks scattered around these mugs and dishes.

Pretty in Pastel

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Pretty in Pastel

Are you a fan of pastel colours and vintage finishes? If you are, this kitchen is perfect for you! Like others we’ve featured, this kitchen has butcher block worktops and shaker style cabinets. It also has dual vintage kitchen faucets, bringing more classic charm to this farmhouse-inspired kitchen.

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Belfast Sink Unit

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Belfast Sink Unit

Sometimes a farmhouse kitchen just looks better with mismatched or scavenged pieces. This vintage Belfast sink unit would look great in any farmhouse-inspired kitchen, and could be painted to match any colour scheme you choose! Like the last example, this white ceramic sink features dual taps, bringing a timeless element to your kitchen.

If you’re patient and determined, we’re sure you’ll be able to find a vintage Belfast sink unit on a trading website or online. Then, you can hire a Bidvine professional to install your find in your kitchen!

Eclectic Furniture

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Eclectic Furniture

We love this eclectic kitchen, as it ties in many pieces of vintage-inspired furniture to create a cohesive look. The use of butcher block worktop throughout the kitchen really brings out a farmhouse aesthetic throughout the kitchen. Our star, the white ceramic sink, is centred under the window looking out towards the garden, which looks pretty appealing to us.

If you’re looking to create your own eclectic kitchen out of IKEA kitchen islands or tables, you can find a pro to build them on Bidvine. When you hire a professional furniture assembler on Bidvine, you can rest assured that your flat pack furniture will be ready for anything.

Double Belfast Sink

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Double Belfast Sink

Do you need a bit more room in your kitchen sink? Would you like to wash vegetables at the same time as you soak dishes? Whatever you need a double basin sink for, the double Belfast sink is ideal. When you install any of the ceramic kitchen sinks we’ve featured on this list, you won’t have to worry about your sink overflowing (due to the built-in overflows). In this version of the sink, the overflows look a bit different, but they serve the same purpose.

This kitchen is unique in that most of the cabinetry and worktop is made of wood, but the cabinet doors are white shaker style doors. We think this modernises the farmhouse look quite a bit while still keeping it classic. If you’d like to install custom cabinets in your kitchen, you can find a cabinet installer on Bidvine!

Succulent Garden

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Bonus: Build a Succulent Garden

Have you found a vintage Belfast sink but don’t want to renovate your kitchen? Don’t worry, because you can use it in a different way! The depth of these butler sinks makes them the perfect home for a garden. This example plays host to succulents and various rocks, but you can plant many different types of small plants in yours! Plus, if you need a bit of gardening help, you can hire a professional gardener or gardening instructor on Bidvine.

If we’ve inspired you to install your own Belfast sink, you can find a professional to help on Bidvine! All you need to do answer a few questions about your sink installation project and you’ll be on your way to custom bids from local technicians. 

Further Reading on Kitchens

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Garbage Disposal

Professional Installation Recommended? Yes

Are you prone to throwing your dish in the sink without scraping off your food scraps into the rubbish bin? If you are, and you’re tired of scooping out your scraps from the sink basin while you’re washing dishes, it might be time to invest in a garbage disposal. A garbage disposal will grind up your food waste and dispose of it appropriately. Just make sure you don’t try to push your food down with your hand!

Bidvine tip: To ensure your family’s safety while using a garbage disposal, we recommend setting out ground rules for its use. This article from the Food Network includes seven important rules for using a garbage disposal.

We advise against installing a garbage disposal yourself and recommend hiring a trusted professional to complete the project for you. You don’t want to risk your rubbish ending up where it shouldn’t or breaking your kitchen sink setup. Luckily, you can find a local plumber on Bidvine to install your garbage disposal for you.

Keep in mind that owning a garbage disposal comes with added maintenance in your kitchen. You’ll need to keep it running properly and clean it regularly. Given that disposals are cutting up food waste, you can imagine the amount of residue that can build up inside of them (including on the rubber flap that separates it from your sink). You’ll want to be absolutely sure that the disposal is not running when you clean it, though. You don’t want to risk an injury. If you’re worried about cleaning it regularly, we recommend hiring a professional cleaner.

Kitchen Sink Soap Dispenser

Soap Dispenser

Professional Installation Recommended? Yes

If you find yourself constantly running out of hand soap or washing up liquid in your kitchen, a built-in soap dispenser might be right up your alley. Built-in soap dispensers are also perfect if you’re regularly knocking your soap into your sink, as it can get quite annoying.

When you’re installing a new sink in your kitchen, why not make your life more convenient and install a soap dispenser as well? Your technician will need to install the dispenser alongside your kitchen tap, so this will need to be done before the sink installation is complete. Otherwise, the project will be more laborious, but likely still possible depending on your sink.

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Now, let’s get into learning about the different types of kitchen taps!

Traditional Kitchen Tap

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Kitchen Tap

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