A Better Window above a Kitchen Sink

Kitchen Window

Nearly everyone likes to have a window above their kitchen sink. Standing and washing dishes is not most folks’ idea of a pleasant chore. But the chore becomes more pleasant if, instead of staring at a blank wall, you can look out through a window.

The usual and customary way of placing a window in the wall behind the sink is to set it at a height where the sill of the window is six inches or more above the countertop. This is done so the window above the sink does not have to be as accurately positioned relative to the countertop. And it also gives room for the standard four inch tall backsplash to run by. But I feel that this high window sill arrangement compromises the benefits of having a window above the sink. What I do is to use a taller window so that I can get the window sill down very close to the countertop.

You’d be surprised how much this slight adjustment improves the view out through your window above the sink, especially for people who are not tall. The countertop becomes an extended sill for the window, so to speak, and provides a place to put plants without having to worry about damaging the painted wood that a typical window sill would be made of.

This tip applies to new construction and remodeling. Depending on the exterior material on your house, changing out the existing window for a taller window might be fairly easy. If you want to improve the view from the kitchen, don’t make the mistake of installing a window that is too short.

I hope this information is helpful to you. You might want to get yourself a copy of my best-seller, Designing Your Perfect House. It is chockfull of valuable tips and advice that will save you many times the cost of the book on your house building or remodeling project. You might also like The Well-Centered Home: Simple Steps to Increase Mindfulness, Self-Awareness, and Happiness Where You Live. It will show you how to make your home a happy place.

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Bill Hirsch | Architect

Bill Hirsch


  1. Nat on February 21, 2014 at 7:42 pm

    Hi, I was just wondering: do the water droplets from the faucet and washing dishes cause rotting of the wood? I am wondering because I have to get my kitchen done and we’ve chosen to put the window right above the sink. AND the sink and window are almost level. HELP! Thanks

    • Bill Hirsch | Architect William Hirsch on February 24, 2014 at 9:48 pm

      Nat – Yes, water droplets can get on the window frame and sash. The window sill is the most vulnerable part for water. One good solution is to simply run the countertop right back to the window frame. It would replace the traditional wood window sill. The countertop would tolerate water and it will also give you more space between the sink and the window frame. But you still will need to wipe off the wood frame and sash if they get really wet. And keep the paint in good shape. The glass in a window behind a sink will always need to be cleaned more frequently that other windows, even if the window is set a few inches higher than you are planning. But personally, I think that small maintenance requirement is well worth the benefit of having the larger window.

      One other thought. If you have a new, raw wood window, or are willing to strip an existing window and then repainting it, you should apply a good wood preservative tot he window before painting it. This will keep the window from rotting and it will extend the life of the paint.

      • Jason Evison on December 6, 2015 at 9:47 pm

        Is there a type of window design that is best suited to having the countertop extend all the way to the frame?

        • Bill Hirsch | Architect William Hirsch on December 10, 2015 at 11:05 am

          Jason – I think a casement or awning type window is best for this application. Two reasons. First, these windows don’t require you to get your fingers under a finger groove or low handle to open them. With the countertop being essentially an very deep window sill, getting at the finger groove or low handle can be awkward. The second reason is that double hung windows are much harder to operate if you are leaning across a two foot deep countertop. With casements or awning, you simply need to turn a crank to operate them.

          Hope that helps. Be sure to tell all of your friends to visit our website.

  2. Plumbers Northern Beaches on September 30, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Nice flowery design of kitchen countertops.

  3. Debi on February 11, 2024 at 12:10 pm

    I have despised my kitchen window at the level of my sink for 25 years. It is about 8 inches deep from my sink, but sits on the counter. I get water splashing on the window and could clean it daily, and it would still be splattered. I think the window needs to be elevated at least 6 inches with some sort of ledge to prevent splashing.

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