When you purchase an older home, you will often be greeted with some leftover furniture and home features.
This is quite common and you may not even be able to identify some of the things.
The way of life has certainly changed in the last fifty to one hundred years.
The things that we take for granted today were once much more complicated.
If you have come across a dry sink in your home and you are wondering what you have to do with it, we have all the answers you need.
What Were Dry Sinks Used For?
A dry sink is used to catch extra water from a washbasin.
Before modern plumbing, a pitcher and bucket of water were kept in a bedroom or kitchen area to help a person clean their hands and their face.
This was especially done before eating or before going to bed.
The sink is not like we have today, with a drain in it through which the water will go out of the home.
There is no drain in a dry sink, but just a small bucket-type area that will be able to collect any spilled or dripping water.
The dry sink kept the water from flowing out onto the floor and getting the rest of the room wet.
The dry sink was a standard fixture in a home for many years.
Sometimes more than one dry sink would be kept in the house.
For some homes, putting a dry sink outside the back door became customary.
This was to ensure that dirt was washed off prior to entering the home.
Considering many of the jobs of the time required the use of hands, this made quite a bit of sense.
What Does a Dry Sink Look Like?
A dry sink looks a bit like a modern-day bathroom vanity.
The top part of the dry sink is going to have a recessed area that would fit a pitcher and a washbasin.
The bottom part of the dry sink is going to look like a cabinet.
Inside this cabinet, you can store towels, washcloths, and any other materials that may be necessary to keep the dry sink well supplied.
Dry sinks were available in many different types and styles depending on the level of the home.
If you were a wealthier person with more fine furnishings in your home, chances are you would see a dry sink lined with copper or some other waterproof type of material.
Others were just made with wood, and then caution was taken not to spill too much water into the dry sink area.
On the side of the dry sink, you will often see a hook or a bar.
This is essentially a modern-day towel bar or hook.
With the hook or bar, you could hang a wet towel in place to dry before you would need to use it again.
What Type of Material Were Dry Sinks Made Of?
Most dry sinks were made of a pine material.
The material was used because it was readily available, and it was not overly expensive.
In addition to pine, many other types of wood could have been used depending on the money that the people had to spend on purchasing a new dry sink.
This is similar to today when you could see a vanity for $400 or $4,000.
Certainly, these two pieces will be made with different types of materials.
As years went on, people who had dry sinks started to learn that it may make just as much sense to have a flat top sink made with higher quality material.
This is where you will see the introduction of the more modern dry sink with a marble top on it.
Since the materials used were so resistant to water spilling, the process of cleaning up after using the dry sink was quite a bit easier.
What to Do With a Dry Sink
If you have found a dry sink in your home and you are not sure what to do with it, you can rest assured that there are many ways to use it.
If you are wondering what to do with your dry sink, here are a few great options.
Depending on the size of your dry sink, you may be able to turn it into a nightstand.
If your dry sink has a large basin, you will probably decide to turn this into a drawer or put some type of a top over it.
The nightstand option is an excellent choice for those who are interested in keeping some of the traditional styles in their rooms.
The truth is most of the dry sinks are in good condition and are not worth getting rid of, so if you can find a place to put this in your home, it can make a unique addition.
2. Side Table
A side table is another excellent idea for a dry sink.
Depending on your table’s height, you could also use it as a console table behind a sofa or in the entryway of your home.
You don’t have to leave the dry sink precisely as you found it as you can update it by taking the doors off or even putting a top on it.
The side table is an excellent choice for a room that you don’t use that often and may not have the proper furniture to fit in it.
Choose the place for your table accordingly, as this is typically a decent-sized piece of furniture that can bring quite a bit of character to a room.
3. Bathroom Vanity
Since the idea of a bathroom vanity is essentially the same as a dry sink, you can turn your old dry sink into a bathroom vanity.
The bathroom vanity will obviously require some plumbing and potentially the changing of some material to get the top of the dry sink to work as a modern sink.
Remember that older dry sinks were not necessarily made to contain or hold water.
The water in these dry sinks was simply if the basin or pitcher were to splash during the process.
It will take a bit of work to transform your dry sink into a bathroom vanity, but it should be the proper size.
If you have a home that features quite a bit of antique furniture and decor, this is going to be an option that will stand out as a great choice.
The bathroom vanity keeps the dry sink in the role that it was initially designed for and will make a unique addition to a bathroom.
4. Display Piece in a Bedroom
Do you have a guest bedroom that is not entirely filled with furniture?
Chances are you have some room somewhere in one of your guest bedrooms to display your old dry sink.
You can put a basin and a pitcher in the dry sink and even store towels underneath.
Of course, you will expect your guests to enjoy the modern convenience of the bathroom, so this is more of nostalgic touch to the room.
For homeowners who have tried to remain true to the original character of the home, this is going to be a great choice.
When using the dry sink as simply a display piece, you may not even have to do much to it before putting it out for display.
Chances are a coat of paint or a quick cleaning may be all the piece needs before it is displayed.
5. Kitchen Island or Counter
Another great thing about the dry sink is that it typically tends to be a good height for use in the kitchen as well.
With the dry sink having a cabinet underneath, you can simply place pots and pans or kitchen supplies under the basin and then put a top on the upper part of the dry sink.
The top can be a piece of the leftover counter, or you can even use a butcher block type material.
Regardless of what you settle on, a kitchen island or counter is an excellent option for the older dry sink.
Some people have been smart to put small wheels or casters on the bottom of the dry sink.
This makes it so that you can move it around your kitchen if necessary.
The more versatility you can get from a piece like this, the better.
A kitchen island or counter is an excellent option for an old dry sink.
Certainly, if you have one in your home already, it is going to save you money, as purchasing a new island or extended counter can cost quite a bit of money.
6. Laundry Room
A dry sink is an excellent addition to a laundry room.
We have seen the dry sink used in a number of different ways.
Obviously, the bottom cabinet offers some great storage, but the top can also serve as a folding table.
In addition, you could transform the top of the table into a traditional sink and use it to wash out very dirty laundry or a stain that you may have noticed on a piece of clothing.
There are numerous ways to transform a dry sink to work in the laundry room, and many people have the extra space in the laundry room for a piece of furniture of this size.
Is a Dry Sink Worth Money?
If you find an old dry sink in your home and you are thinking of selling it for money, you may be in luck.
Depending on the age of the piece and its condition, it could be worth something.
These were fairly common, so if it is a basic dry sink, there are probably not going to be too many people willing to pay high amounts for it.
If, however, you think that your dry sink may be unique or different and have some special functionality, it is worth contacting an antique dealer.
You can talk to the dealer about what they will offer you for the piece and then decide from there what it means to you.
If the pricing is quite low, consider keeping the dry sink and incorporating it into your home in some way.
Hopefully, you now feel as though you understand a bit more about the dry sink and what it was used for.
Having to live in a time when modern plumbing systems were not in place can be hard to imagine.
A unique piece like this in your home can be a reminder of what our ancestors had to deal with in their everyday lives.
The dry sink is an interesting conversation piece and something that many traditional homes should keep on display.
If nothing else, you will always have an extra place to wash up if needed.