• Is a Freestanding Tub Right for Me?

  • Freestanding tubs aren’t a new concept to bathrooms. In fact, the first bathtubs were standalone. Over the years, this style was replaced with built-in tubs in most homes. However, there’s no doubt that standalone tubs have had a revival recently. You’ll find them offered as an option in many new construction homes and appearing on many people’s wish lists for bathroom renovations. There’s just something about its appearance that makes it look so luxurious! However, there are other factors to consider when making your choice of whether to add a freestanding or built-in tub to your bathroom. Make sure you know what you are getting into before you take the plunge!  


    In terms of costs of the tub itself, built-ins are generally cheaper than freestanding tubs. The reason for this is because freestanding tubs must be finished on all four sides as opposed to only one side for built-in models. There’s also much more design variation for freestanding tubs…a basic, white freestanding soaking tub costs around $1,000 but a unique freestanding tub designed in special materials can run into multiple thousands of dollars. A similar built-in tub can cost less than $500. You’ll also have to account for the fact that some models in both styles offer water jets for a spa-like experience, so that will bring costs up as well.  

    When it comes to installation costs, the price is similar. The exception is if you are attempting to bring a freestanding tub to a second (or higher) floor. Depending on the material, freestanding tubs are usually heavier and more robust (especially if you choose one made of a heavy material like cast iron) so having floors that will support the extra weight is critical. Especially for those with older homes, this may mean paying extra to reinforce the structure. Also ensure that there will be no problems getting it up the stairs and through doorways.  


    A freestanding tub definitely makes more of a statement than a built-in tub. It usually serves as a focal point in the bathroom. Therefore, it looks best in a larger space because it’s intended to be accessible and seen on all sides. Sticking it in a corner of a small bathroom defeats some of its purpose and visual impact. However, there are compact models on the market that would work better in a small bathroom.  

    As mentioned previously, there are more interesting designs and materials available for freestanding tubs. With so many styles to choose from, you can find a good complement to your design tastes, whether your home is vintage or contemporary. A clawfoot tub lends a rustic or vintage vibe while one with clean lines will look gorgeous in a modern home.  

    This unique freestanding bathtub will set you back $16,669. // 1stdibs.com


    There are several practicality factors to consider when it comes to a standalone tub. First, it is designed for someone who loves to bathe. If you are a showerer as opposed to a bather, then it wouldn’t be a very functional piece to have in the bathroom in place of a shower. Many models have showerhead sprayers that are lower to the ground and some models don’t include sprayers at all. Yes, you can install it against a wall just like a built-in and install a shower on the wall there, but again, this reduces the visual impact. You’ll be required to get a wraparound shower curtain to decrease the amount of water splashing around the floor. Water may still get in hard-to-dry areas and against the wall (which you would also make sure is waterproof). However, some interior designers have gotten around this by installing a tub/shower hybrid as seen below: 

    A bathtub built into a shower. // HGTV

    Unlike a built-in tub which usually includes storage space around the tub and on the surround, there is also no built-in storage that comes with a standalone bathtub. So, if you have a lot of bath and shower products then you’ll have to get a separate shelf to place nearby or a tub tray so that you can keep your products within reach.  

    Additionally, many freestanding tubs have tall sides. This can pose a problem if you are on the shorter side. It may be a safety hazard as it increases the chance of you slipping and falling if you can’t easily get out of your bathtub. For this reason, a freestanding tub is also not the best choice for seniors with mobility issues or for young children.  

    Do I Need a Tub at All? 

    If you don’t find yourself taking baths, then a bathtub may not be for you at all. However, it is practical to have at least one bathtub in the house if you have kids or pets. It is much easier to bathe them in a bathtub versus in a shower. A bathtub is also useful for soaking and washing larger items that would not fit in a sink. 

    If you’re renovating a bathroom that has a shower/bathtub combo, removing the tub will free up space. Some people expand their showers to create a large luxury shower or build more storage cabinets in place of a bathtub. Glass doors in place of shower curtains, which are typically used with built-in tubs, also automatically makes the bathroom look more modern and sleeker.  

    If you shower rather than bathe, then removing this bathtub will free up unused space. // Pinterest 

    We Will Help You Make the Best Decision 

    Our job as kitchen and bathroom renovation experts is to guide you through the entire process of the renovation, from start to finish. We are more than happy to answer any questions and to offer design advice. Contact us or get an estimate to get started!  

    Featured Image Credit: Houzz.com