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Hawk Kitchens and Bathrooms

Freestanding vs Built-In Bathtubs

Both freestanding and built in bathtubs can turn your bathroom into a luxurious sanctuary but choosing which type to go with can be confusing. Taking into consideration space, style and purpose, we look at which tub suits what bathroom.

It is often thought that a freestanding tub is best for a larger bathroom and a built in, better suited to smaller space, however this is a common misconception. In fact a freestanding bath is often perfect for a smaller space as you are not restricted by where you position the bath, allowing it to fit in small alcoves where a built in bath could not. Due to their shape and occasionally their legs resulting in the tub being raised off the floor, this also creates the illusion of space.


Image via Hawk K&B

With a built in bathtub, the real advantage is the space that the surround provides. It can act as storage, seating and mounting space for taps, spouts and hand showers so the more room you have the better. You can also tile in your bath tying it in with the rest of the room to create a seamless appearance or panel it to match the bathroom furniture as we have done here.


Image via Hawk K&B

However that’s not to say with a freestanding bathtub you will have less storage. If space allows, placing the bath in the centre of the room, as we have done here, frees up valuable wall space for bathroom furniture and storage.


Image via Hawk K&B

Alternatively, built in niche’s into the wall can add that storage space needed for bathing essentials where space is limited.


Image via Hawk K&B

Also worth considering is that any built-in tub under 1700mm runs the risk of compromising the bathing experience. It is crucial to measure and plan your space to truly understand whether you can work with a built-in bath. In this instance a freestanding bath, in particular a slipper bath, is a great choice for a smaller space, allowing you to sit up and relax comfortably in a 1500mm bath for example.


Image via Burlington

A built-in bath is also much better suited for adding a shower to, whereas a freestanding tub is usually for bathing only. You can of course place a shower over a freestanding tub but only with the use of a shower curtain. In recent years however, the emergence of the ‘freestanding shower bath’ by companies such as April and Burlington mean the bath is fixed to the wall along two edges with the addition of a shower screen, resulting in a successful combination of both a fixed and freestanding bathtub.


Image via Hawk K&B

A similar alternative is a back to wall bath which offers the luxury of a freestanding bath whilst sitting flush against your bathroom wall. Designed to be installed in the middle of a wall it allows extra space either side for a basin, toilet and furniture whereas most built-in baths are designed to sit in corners and freestanding sitting in the middle of the room.

There are endless possibilities when choosing a bathtub so don’t feel restricted by your space and style choices. Both freestanding and built-in bathtubs can be adapted to suit your space and we will work with you to design a bathroom that is carefully space planned and is ultimately what you want.