Soaking Tub Designs

If you want serious relaxation in your bath, then deep soaking tub designs are the way to go. And there are plenty of style options from which to choose.
Peaceful Zen Bathroom With Freestanding Soaking Tub

Peaceful Zen Bathroom With Freestanding Soaking Tub

The unique contours of a bathtub help give this bathroom a peaceful feel.

Give your bathroom the ultimate in relaxation with trying a deep soaking tub design. These bathtubs have overtaken whirlpools and garden tubs as the most popular way to relax and cleanse the body and soul. And there are plenty of stylish options to choose from.

Dreamy Tubs and Showers

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Presenting the Solo Tub

This hammered-nickel tub from Waterworks needs no embellishment — it stands alone as the centerpiece of this bath suite designed by Heather Hungeling. The modern metallic finish offers a fresh counterpoint to the traditional look of columns and dentil molding. Photo courtesy of Heather Hungeling

Opulent Traditional Look

To create space for amenities in this bath, Tina Muller of Drury Design placed one wall of the shower enclosure on the tub deck — no easy engineering feat. The floors are Calcutta gold marble and cabinets are painted creamy white with a warm glaze. Photo courtesy of Drury Design

Simply Indulgent Shower

Rather than continue the busy pattern of the marble up the walls, Muller chose a serene and complementary subway tile for the shower's interior. The shower includes multiple body sprays, a rain showerhead and a steam machine for a total spa experience. Photo courtesy of Drury Design

Maximum Function, Minimum Space

Designer Jennifer Gilmer wanted a large freestanding tub and a shower in her master bath, but lacked the room to put them side by side. A trip to Japan inspired her to combine the two in an open space — this arrangement is common there. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer

Zen in the Details

Gilmer's materials suggest a Far Eastern sensibility. The shaving sink and showerheads are arranged against a backdrop of Verde Bamboo granite; the opposing walls are covered in a cool green tile; the niche shelving is lined with river rock; and the floor is black marble mosaic. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Gilmer

Sleek and Sparkling Ambiance

Gail Drury of Drury Design says that the glass tiles in this contemporary bathroom's steam shower lend a sparkle to the whole room. Floating espresso cabinets and a streamlined tub add to the dreamlike effect. Photo courtesy of Drury Design

From: Drury Design

Water, Water Everywhere

Soaking in a full tub is grand, but adding a water feature creates undeniable atmosphere. This gorgeous stone composite tub from Tyrrell & Laing is finished in bronze and rests below a romantic stone water cascade at the Della Terra Mountain Chateau in Estes Park, Colo. Photo courtesy of Tyrrell & Laing

Tranquil Reading Retreat

Gladys Schanstra of Drury Design created this Zen bath for a client who wanted a soaking tub for reading her favorite novels. Sweet details: a river-rock ceiling border for the shower (out of view) and a built-in bathmat comprised of Sobu bamboo tiles embedded in the limestone floor. Photo courtesy of Drury Design

Better Than Natural Stone

The "limestone" in this shower is actually a porcelain lookalike that's less expensive and easier to maintain. The medallion is composed of marble, mosaic tile and natural limestone. The splurge here, says designer Carolyn Thomas, is the curved glass chamber and two-way hinged door that keeps water inside after showering. Photo courtesy of Carolyn Thomas

A Tub for a King

This Imperia tub for two by Tyrrell & Laing, shown at Sir Richard Branson's Lodge Verbier in Switzerland, is made of a smooth stone composite that's much lighter (fortunately!) than solid stone. At 76.5 inches long and 45 inches wide, it's one of the largest free-standing tubs on the market. Photo courtesy of Tyrrell & Laing

Freestanding vintage soaking tub designs have made a comeback, as people choose them to make a stylish statement in their bathrooms. Cast iron clawfoot tubs are beautiful and classic—and practical for long soaks, since they hold the heat in the water longer. Their elegant designs make them bathroom showpieces, and they're now made in more lightweight materials. A slipper tub has one end raised up higher for even more lounging comfort.

A variation on the clawfoot tub is the pedestal tub. These have much the same shape as the clawfoot tubs, but instead of having feet, they are raised up on a platform or pedestal. These are a great mix of traditional and modern looks and can be made out of various materials. The most striking ones can be made of copper or stainless steel; but acrylic is the most common material used. They are long-lasting and easy to care for, as well as elegant and striking.

Deep Japanese tubs are the ultimate in soaking tubs. These are much deeper than a regular 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. These tubs traditionally are made of wood, which adds an aromatherapy element to your bath. They are not as long as a conventional tub, meaning they can fit in a smaller space in your bathroom.

Roman-style tubs are the most ornate and lavish of the soaking tubs. These are typically drop-in type tubs that will have a tile or stone surround and plenty of deck area for toiletries. As the name implies, these elaborately designed baths often include columns and other details such as intricate tile inlay patterns. Marble is frequently used in Roman baths for an authentic look and feel. These may have steps up to the tub, or the tub can be sunken into the floor like a pool. There are freestanding versions of Roman tubs as well.

Newer to the bathtub scene is the walk-in tub. Primarily used by seniors because of their safety features, these deep tubs have a door for easy access. All of these tubs have a built-in seat and can include a wide variety of other features, including adjustable bubble jets, handrails, adjustable shower heads and nonskid textures. Users of these tubs say the deep soaking helps with arthritis and muscle aches.

Be advised that most of these soaker tubs use more water than a conventional bathtub, so be sure your water heater is up to the task. You can talk to your plumber about installing a larger capacity water tank, or you could consider switching it out entirely for an in-line water heater, which supplies constant hot water that never runs out.

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