A freestanding bathtub is at the top of a lot of people's dream home wish list. They add so much glamour and luxury to a room that can so easily be a purely practical space. And while they are often associated with larger, more traditional bathrooms, a freestanding tub can work with any style, from classic to contemporary.
There are plenty of gorgeous bath ideas and designs to get inspired by, but there are also practicalities to consider too, in order to ensure a freestanding bath is a sensible choice as well as an aesthetic one for your bathroom. Here we look at some of our favorite approaches and ask interior designers for their tips on how to make a freestanding bath work best.
1. Place your tub away from the walls
Moving the bath away from the walls is a simple but effective way to achieve a relaxed atmosphere. An angled bath installation can also help break away from a boxy bathroom layout.
In this Umbrian home renovated by Retrouvius, the bateau bath was angled to access the enviable countryside views while luxuriating in the tub. A marble-clad freestanding tap plinth effectively deals with unsightly plumbing and provides somewhere to place toiletries and refreshments.
2. Set up a bold backdrop
A folding screen painted in Farrow & Ball’s joyful Babouche highlights the soft curves of BC Designs’ imposing Senator bath, in this unconventional project by Studio Peake.
‘We wanted something that really drew the eye to the bath as soon as you walked in,’ recalls founder and creative director, Sarah Peake. ‘The bright yellow is in a high-gloss lacquer and really stands out, but is also subtly picked up in various places, such as the laundry bin.’
3. Invest in luxurious materials
Even a generous double-ended bathtub can feel cast adrift in a spacious bathroom. Anchor it down with a glamorous marble bathroom backsplash, which will also protect wallpaper from bath-time splashes.
‘Acting as a frame to the bath, the black marble is a statement choice with curves matched to the rounded edges of our Usk freestanding bath,’ explains James Lentaigne, creative director, Drummonds. ‘Well sealed and regularly maintained, a marble splashback will stand the test of time.'
4. Make an entrance
A simple arched partition will soften the hard surfaces of a bathroom. Add billowing curtains to create a cozy bathroom with an comforting atmosphere and extra privacy when bathing inside.
‘The arched niche also brings charm and a sense of history to this new bathroom,’ explains interior designer Heidi Caillier. ‘Opting for a traditional clawfoot tub feels more unexpected amid new architecture. The once plain space now feels as if it tells a story.'
5. Create a cohesive scheme
White may be the go-to choice for most bathroom fixtures, but freestanding tubs can come in so many shades, they are a great way to bring some color into the room. Painting a bath is actually a fairly easy DIY job and can be a lovely way to update a vintage find - something to consider when choosing the right freestanding bath you can get some beautiful antiques that can be transformed with some TLC.
Whatever color you choose, let it dictate the scheme. It will naturally be the focus of the room so pick out that shade elsewhere in the space, say in a bathroom wallpaper or wall tiles.
Can you put a freestanding bath in any bathroom?
You need the space for a freestanding bath, however, there are plenty of designs that will work in a smaller room. You also need to carefully consider the strength of your bathroom floor, you may need to reinforce the floor in order for it to support the weight of the bath. Always speak with an expert to ensure a freestanding bath is a practical option for your bathroom.
What is the best shape for a freestanding bath?
Really, this will depend on the size and layout of your bathroom. If you want to pull your bath away from the wall and float in to make it a real focal point then go bolder with the shape, like an oval (also a very comfy shape) or a double-ended design. If you are dealing with a small bathroom so space could be an issue, a slipper bath is the best option to go for as these are a better shape when floor space is tight.
A freestanding bath needn't be reserved for more traditional styles or bathrooms with unlimited floor space, there are plenty of ways to make them work with any style and most sizes too. Bathrooms can be tricky rooms to balance form and function, but a freestanding tub ticks both boxes, adding both an important fixture and a beautiful focal point.
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Linda graduated from university with a First in Journalism, Film and Broadcasting. Her career began on a trade title for the kitchen and bathroom industry, and she has worked for Homes & Gardens, and sister-brands Livingetc, Country Homes & Interiors and Ideal Home, since 2006, covering interiors topics, though kitchens and bathrooms are her specialism.
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