Porcelain Bathtub Options

Porcelain bathtubs have been the mainstay in many American bathrooms since the 1920s, a testament to their popularity and durability.
Cottage Inspiration

Cottage Inspiration

Inspired by colors of nature, designer Sarah Richardson uses mint-green mosaic tile to create a focal wall and covers the floor in a beautiful marble. Paneled walls and shutter-inspired cabinets give the space a charming cottage feel.

By: Dianne Casolaro

Porcelain tubs, which are actually formed steel or cast iron enameled with porcelain, are one of the most common bathtub options. Whether you choose simple or sophisticated, porcelain bathtubs are a good starting point for your bathroom redesign.

Luxurious Showers

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Make it Big

Luxury means being able to do yoga poses in your shower — at least for one of designer Susan Fredman's clients. She delivered not only a large space but also a dramatic boulder rock for seating. Earth tones, textured tiles, natural light and a steam shower complete this soothing, masculine space.

Step It Up

A surefire way to create a shower that stands out? Elevate it. Beverly Hills interior designer Christopher Grubb framed this glass-enclosed shower with elegant stone steps. Another luxurious feature: waterproof speakers inside the shower let you groove to your favorite wake-up tunes.

Go Frameless

To open up this corner space and give the shower a larger feel, Southern California designer Genoveve Serge opted for a frameless shower that allows enough space for his-and-hers shower heads. Polished nickel fixtures and sandy-toned porcelain tiles complete this simple-yet-elegant look.

Room With a View

Idee Chic Designs' Natalia Smith took advantage of this home's lake view by placing a frameless glass shower in front of it. Earth tones, pebbles at your feet and natural lighting add to the attraction of this open space. High-end body sprayers with both hand-held and stationary showerheads complete the spa effect.

Sit Down and Stay Awhile

A stone or marble bench inside the shower creates the perfect place to relax and reflect. This steam shower, designed by Christopher Grubb, has fully programmable shower controls and a niche for candles and accessories to complete the spa-like experience.

Etch the Glass

The New York architectural firm Robert A. M. Stern Designs notches up that luxurious feel with Bendheim etched glass enclosures. Not only can you feel the texture of this lace-like design on both the inside and outside of the shower panels, you can also get a sense of movement under light. The best part: It's naturally resistant to fingerprints and stains, which makes this product a top choice for this high-traffic space.

Consider Casual

Luxury doesn't have to be big or expensive. You can go casual, as did Chicago-based designer Mark Zancanaro, with a river rock floor and slate and tumbled marble on the shower walls. The materials blend well with the overall blue tones in the room.

Double Down

In this spacious shower, Christopher Grubb of Arch Interior Design Group in Beverly Hills features not only two showerheads but also two shampoo niches and shaving benches. A chiseled stone mosaic in between the benches adds both textural and artistic interest.

Formed steel enameled with porcelain coating is the least expensive kind of bathtub. Its standard length is 5 feet, though smaller, space-saving versions are manufactured. The steel construction is much lighter than the cast iron version of porcelain tubs.

The most common design for built-in installation is the apron-front style. The non-porous glassy surfaces of these types of porcelain tubs usually resist scratches, chemicals and bacteria growth.

Color choices are in the white family, with some variations. These tubs do not tend to be design elements in your bathroom. However, they do lend themselves to numerous options for adding surrounds.

Cast iron porcelain bathtubs are sturdy, durable and heavy. Incorporating them into a remodel may require extra support on the subfloor. They generally resist cracks, scratches and chips, but they can be expensive to have professionally repaired if these do occur.

Cast iron porcelain coating is thicker than that on formed steel. Initially, cast iron tubs will pull heat from the water, but once warmed up, they will keep water warm for a long time.

Cast iron porcelain tubs do offer more tub design options than formed steel tubs. They are usually 5 to 6 feet in length and are available in alcove and freestanding units.

Designed for one-person bathing, the built-in porcelain cast iron tub offers additional color choices from the white and black palettes.

If you want to be true to the original porcelain tubs, choose a claw foot cast iron design. Two primary styles of the freestanding branch of porcelain family are slippers and roll tops.

Slippers are raised at one or both ends for easier single or double lounging. Roll tops curve smoothly along all edges.

Freestanding porcelain tubs have design options for their feet as well. They may rest on a pedestal base, on an Oriental-style wooden base, or a variety of claw feet. Typical finishes for feet are polished brass, polished chrome, polished or brushed nickel, white porcelain, and oil-rubbed bronze.

Freestanding tubs require fillers for rim, wall or floor mounting. Match these fillers with the feet of your porcelain tub to complete your overall tub design.

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