Stainless steel is a hygienic material, easy to clean even though its gleaming surface does become dimmed over the years by a myriad of tiny scratches. Those who like colour, though, will appreciate the enamelled steel sinks emanating from the continent. The permutations are as varied as those for stainless steel, the colours of some makes are good, and there is much emphasis on accessories and fittings like plastic draining-baskets and sieves. These mean you really get value out of the space taken up by the sink or sinks. Many are circular, which look attractive, but be sure not to purchase one which is too small to be useful at all times.
That brings me to the question of sizes generally. The main (or only) sink in kitchens should be at least 500 x 350 mm (20 x 14 in) it it is to take the largest item most people wash, which is an oven shelf and this unfortunately precludes most of the circular sinks. Depth should be 175 – 200 mm (7 – 8 in) but 250 mm (10 in) it you are going to use the sink for hand laundry. Double sinks should have at least one of this maximum size, but the other could be smaller, say 350 x 250 mm (14 x 10 in), to be used for waste disposal, vegetable washing, etc. China sinks, along with other items of a simple, back- to-the-farmhouse nature have enjoyed a revival in recent years. I do not think they are ideal for general kitchen use, since with heavy wearthey will crack and chip, making them unhygienic as well as unsightly. But if you have a laundry room or large separate laundry area, they are excellent for hand-washing of clothes; many stainless steel or enamelled sinks are not really capacious enough for this purpose.
The way in which modern sinks can be set into the work surface varies. They may have their own integral drainer or drainers which do restrict the usage of the whole area to this one purpose. Or the sinks can be let directly into the worktop with no drainers, If you have a dishwasher and are prepared to drain pans and other items you have washed by hand in the second sink, this arrangement works. lt looks neat and more precious worktop space is released for general use. The joint between the worktop and sink must be good and tight though, or water will seep into it. Drainers are also designed now to be inset in the same way as sinks, which is another good-looking and practical innovation.