Small Bathtubs: Ideas and Options

It is possible to fit a small bathtub into your cozy bathroom, and there are more options than you might think.
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By: Kirsten Efird
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Do you have a small bathroom but still want a bathtub in it rather than just a shower? Maybe you have a half bath that you would like to convert into a full bath for a growing family. With all of today's small bathtub ideas and options, fear not—it can be done with a little research and creativity.

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Vintage freestanding tubs were much shorter than today's tubs because people weren't as tall as we are today. The shortest freestanding tub is a mere 48 inches, or four feet long, and can work well for children's bathrooms or even for adults of average height. These tubs, which can be of the clawfoot variety or a more modern pedestal style, can even have shower attachments, so you can have the best of both worlds in your cozy bath. This type of tub can sit against the wall and does not need any extra space for a surround or deck area.

The smallest soaking tub for small bathrooms, however, is the Japanese soaking tub, which is becoming more popular and widely available in the West. These tubs have built-in seats and are much deeper than a conventional American-style tub—about 27 inches deep, so that you sit upright and the water comes up to your chin, making it a true deep soaking tub. You can find these as small as 41 inches wide, which is perfect for a small bathroom. They also are available as oval or round freestanding tubs in various finishes, such as stainless steel, copper, or the traditional wood.

Another way to fit a tub into a small bathroom is to consider installing a corner bathtub. Because of their design, corner tubs don't require the long wall space that standard bathtubs do. These tubs usually are five-sided and are designed so that two sides adjoin two walls. The basin can be triangular, oval, rectangular or even hourglass-shaped. The standard size for corner bathtubs is usually 4 feet by 4 feet, or slightly larger at 5 feet by 5 feet. Depths are comparable to conventional bathtubs, between 21 and 26 inches. Be sure you plan a bit of extra space for the surround or deck area. Whichever style you like, you will be able to find in today's wide selection of small tubs.

You don't have to give up on having modern amenities in your small tub. Some even have jets for that spa-like experience. The Japanese tubs feature aromatherapy options. Some even have a waterfall feature, or inline heating so that the water is continuously heated.

But first things first. Before you buy, analyze your space. Is there an alcove or underutilized corner in which one of these tubs might fit? Talk to your contractor or plumber to make sure the necessary plumbing can be located in that area. Measure the space thoroughly so you can be prepared when you head out to the home improvement store.

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