Turn your bathroom into a getaway
Although many people today think a tub is no longer necessary if you have a shower, don't underestimate the power of the right bath tub to take your bathroom from just an ordinary space to a relaxing retreat that is the height of style.
Bath Tub Form
Your tub style is going to be dictated by your taste and the theme you've chosen for your space. One of the most popular themes in bathrooms is antique country, so it's no surprise that antique and vintage tub styles are in high demand to couple with antique bathroom vanities and fixtures. Although it is possible to hunt down a true antique, reproductions are plentiful. Available in both cast iron and porcelain, you can find the modern take on an antique tub style, often for a more reasonable price than hunting down an authentic vintage model.
If you're looking for a more modern tub, you'll find designs that are based more on features than on design. A spa tub, complete with massaging jets, is the height of luxury in any bathroom. You can find these models in large sizes, complete with hot tub style seating, as well as in the standard bath tub size.
Modern tubs also mean greater selection in the shape of the tub and in tub enclosures. When it comes to choosing shape, a corner bath tub gives you extra style points and can also help you make better use of a small space. Round tubs are also popular, particularly if you choose one of the aforementioned spa tubs.
For tub enclosure options, you can now go beyond just a shower curtain – glass or plastic shower doors are available in numerous styles and designs to add a touch of elegance to your bathroom. For a contemporary look, clear glass doors with an elegant slate or porcelain-tiled built-in tub is very stylish, but you can also find doors with frosting or etched patterns for more privacy.
Top Bath Tub Choices:
A whirlpool bath tub (or whirlpool spa tub) is both a luxury in a bathroom and a necessity for those with muscle pains or debilitating physical conditions. This jetted tub has anywhere from 2 to 12 streams (depending on the size of the tub), strategically placed to deliver high-pressure bursts of water to various parts of the body for a relaxing and beneficial massage.
Whirlpool tubs are made to fit easily into any bathroom. You can choose a regular or corner whirlpool tub, depending on your room's size and design. The most popular model, a Jacuzzi tub, is available in a variety of design and color choices, so you can integrate one into your bathroom decor or easily design a new decor around your chosen style. Although an acrylic whirlpool tub will cost you more than a standard acrylic tub, remember that the extra dollars are well-spent. With proper maintenance, you'll have an attractive, functional, luxurious tub that will last you for years to come.
A clawfoot tub is the most popular model of antique bath tub. Appropriately named for its distinctive feet, a clawfoot bath tub features a large oblong tub held up by four small, toed supports. An authentic antique clawfoot tub is made of cast iron or porcelain, but nowadays an acrylic clawfoot tub will be easier to find. Although it is not an authentic antique, these modern replicas are easier to clean and will hold up better to wear and tear.
If you like the look of a clawfoot tub but also want the practicality of a shower, you can find the right accessories to give you both options. A clawfoot tub shower enclosure usually involves an oblong shower rod that circles around the tub and a long curtain that can be drawn to cover all sides of the tub. While many find this look to be a little too antique, with the right curtain and bathroom fixtures that echo the style, a clawfoot tub shower can be a distinctive focal point of any antique country bathroom.
A soaking tub is the newest form of luxury tub, but its origins actually go far back several centuries to cultures in the Far East.
The Japanese soaking tub is a deeper vertical tub that is intended for full-body immersion and can hold over 250 gallons of water. The American version of these tubs have increased in width as well as depth for extra comfort, and have come to include massaging jets and even aromatherapy options for the full spa experience. They are available in a number of different shapes to work in any bathroom space, including rectangular, corner and oval.
While these types of tubs are luxurious in a bathroom, their price tags scare away many homeowners from such indulgences. Their lack of water efficiency is another deterrent. However, for those who appreciate the relaxation of a good soak, and who are prepared to keep a close eye on their water bill, soaking tubs can be a great indulgence item in any home.
Bath Tub Function
Sometimes you need to choose a tub based on more practical purposes, rather than aesthetics. If you live with an elderly or disabled person, a walk in bath tub will make bathing much easier. These tubs come with a door built right into the tub frame, which can be opened to allow access into the tub and then sealed tight to prevent any leakage. These tubs are as large as (and sometimes larger than) ordinary tubs, and often come equipped with seats for added stability and comfort.
Adding hand rails and non-slip mats are essential safety precautions in any tub, particularly for the very young and the elderly. Massaging jets are also a welcome addition for those with muscle strain issues or health problems.
Read our Editorial Review on American Standard Bath Tubs