It’s an open secret in the world of kitchen design that draining board markings are added to the average worksurface, at best, for decorative effect or, at worst, simply because people expect to see a set of grooves next to a sink in the belief that they assist in draining dishes.
The ‘draining board’ of yesteryear, from where this belief derives, was of course the real deal. Typically made from wood (hence a ‘board’) – a material now mostly considered unsuitable for placing near daily running water (oiled teak an exception but, unless reclaimed, also endangered) – these boards were grooved, angled, sloped from above the level of the sink, provided a relatively soft landing for fragile items such as glasses, and were undeniably true to the function of their name.
In a contemporary context, grooves only whisper of this functional memory. On a flat stone worksurface they now typically serve to help gather pooling water – creating ideal conditions for limescale to grow and attracting dirt, both of which will be harder to remove than if the grooves were absent.
For this reason, a Day True kitchen will rarely, if ever, come with grooves carved into the worksurface next to the sink. Not only do we not like dishonesty with the dishwashing, we also don’t feel the need to designate a space as only suitable for draining dishes.
There is, arguably, still a case for deploying an old school plate rack as an alternative – designed to sit above the sink and drain directly from overhead. This is practical as storage, can filter light across the course of a day, will likely fit within a comfortable arms-reach, and crockery will undoubtedly dry efficiently on high but … , as one who has (occasionally) suffered from dripping crockery overhead, I am here to bear witness to some of the downsides. Wet hair might be one, the mechanics of what it can accommodate another, and the potential for eye-line distraction, if you value a view of any kind from your kitchen sink, is maybe the final deal breaker on this as a 'go-to' drainer option.
By now you might be asking, if we don’t like the grooves, and overhead plate racks are a reach, what do we favour? Our two favourite solutions are showcased in all our showrooms – we believe in using what we love – and also here on Collected. Both are elegantly low in profile and provide a good-looking frame for a contemporary load of washing up. I have even, on occasion, been moved to Instagram mine when full of charity shop crystal or a childhood’s worth of Gotham City characters fresh out of their bath (don’t ask – I’ve been clearing out a loft space!).
The first is from Hay – available as pretty in pink or delicate in powder blue alternative choices; the accompanying rack is super useful for the plates and platters, and the melamine material is dishwasher safe – so there’s no excuse for not keeping the dish-drainer clean.
The second, from Sej, is made from synthetic black rubber (Sej is a Danish word for ‘cool’ before you jump to any conclusions), and I made a choice to forego the utility of the Hay dish rack (sadly not compatible with Sej sizing) for the beauty of the Sej black frame and the gentle feel of its soft surface. The silicone material will not fade, will last a lifetime and is also dishwasher compatible, so a double tick on the eco-friendly and easy-to-care for scale.
Like everything else on Collected, these two items are ‘tried and tested’ by the Day True team – we each have our favourites. I’ve already declared my Sej preference, others prefer the look and utility of the Hay option, but come in and see us – and see them in situ. To see them is to learn why we love them.