Walk-In Tub Designs

If you're concerned about aging in place and universal design in the bathroom, consider installing a walk-in bathtub, which offers a door for easy entry and exit.
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Walk-in tub designs can be found in many senior and baby boomer homes. They feature access doors for safe, easy entry and exit, and come with built-in seats. They can be either freestanding or recessed, and their safety and ease-of-use features fit in with aging-in-place and universal design concepts.

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Tech Savvy Bathroom

For this stunning bathroom, designer Candice Olson of Candice Tells All pulls out all the technology stops, including heated flooring, a steam shower and a remote-controlled toilet that features a nightlight, bidet and even a self-cleaning function. Large square tiles form the wall behind the freestanding tub adding glamorous sparkle. Candice brings character to the room by repurposing the homeowner's dresser as the vanity.

Luxurious Gray Retreat

Cool and chic, this master bathroom designed by Sarah Richardson of Sarah's House mixes marble with other nature stone elements. A pair of sleek hexagonal mirrors hang above a custom double vanity while a freestanding tub brings a contemporary feel to the space.

Refined Contemporary

This bright and airy master bathroom is a true retreat away from it all. A glass enclosed shower and two floating vanities allow the eye to flow through the space. The wow factor is a curtain of crystal-like beads used to create a waterfall accent wall around the window. Design by Candice Olson.

Photo By: Brandon Barre, Brandon Barré Photography

Open Bathroom Retreat

Contractor Chip Wade of Elbow Room turns an attic into a breathtaking master suite with a sleek bathroom that opens up to the bedroom. The centerpiece of the room is a freestanding tub, which is flanked by matching his-and-her vanities. Behind the curtains is a large walk-in shower and extra dressing area.

Photo By: Jessica McGowan ©2013, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Seamless Style

For this swanky bathroom, contractor Stephen Fanuka of Million Dollar Contractor uses marble throughout the space for pure luxury. To create a high-end, seamless look, he meticulously selects the cuts of marble so the veining lines up from the floor to the tub surround to the backsplash.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg © 2012, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Modern Design, Modern Conveniences

This modern bathroom feels like a soothing spa. Designer Candice Olson of Candice Tells All fills the space with luxurious amenities, including heated flooring, a deep soaker tub and two-person rain showerhead. For wow factor, Candice hangs faceted chains as a window treatment behind the tub.

Cottage Charm

Designer Sarah Richardson of Sarah's House brings in incredible soft, filtered light with a skylight above the tub. A vintage table is transformed into a vanity with a marble top. For the bathroom flooring, luxurious marble is honed and sealed so it's not slippery and will last forever.

Bring on the Marble

Carrara marble is used throughout this entire bathroom for an upscale look. To create dimension and texture, designer Dina Manzo of Dina's Party uses different cuts of stone: subway tile, hexagon, mosaic and pencil pieces. Custom tone-on-tone wallpaper matches the gray and cream hues in the marble for a cohesive look.

Clean and Bright Tiles

A double-wide, glass-enclosed shower designed by Drew and Jonathan Scott of Buying and Selling is the centerpiece of this simple yet elegant bathroom. Large cream-colored tile on the lower half of the shower contrasts against the small glass tiles used on the floor and top of the shower. The clean, reflective surfaces of the tile make the entire bathroom brighter.

Photo By: Sarah Wilson © 2012, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights

Country Blue

Designer Sarah Richardson of Sarah's House creates a family-friendly bathroom with a classic blue-and-white palette. For an updated country style, she repurposes a pair of antique chest of drawers as vanities and hangs cheery checked curtains. A deep soaker tub with a modern silhouette brings a freshness to the space.

Bathing Beauty

Custom designed architectural details frame the freestanding tub in this brilliant blue bathroom. Contractor Chip Wade of Elbow Room brings in a sisal area rug and jute rope accents to add a natural and beachy touch to this contemporary space.

Photo By: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images ©2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Old World Bathroom

In his family's home in northern Italy, designer Brian Boitano of The Brian Boitano Project transforms a dark space into a rustic Italian bathroom. As a nod to the home's heritage, Brian leaves areas of the home's original stone walls exposed while stone vessel sinks and a zinc tub add to the bathroom's Old World feel.

Posh Hardware

The right hardware takes your bathroom to the next level. Designer Sarah Richardson of Sarah's House selects sleek chrome shower fixtures and faucets for this contemporary bathroom. To create a refined style, she uses glass mosaic tiles in the shower and a marble countertop for the vanity.

Resort-Inspired Bath

Contractor Chip Wade of Elbow Room designs an open floor plan master suite. Hotel-style mirror panels act as a central divider between the bedroom, vanity area and large walk-through closet. The entire space evokes a resort-like feel at home.

Photo By: Jeff Herr - AP Images © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Chic Contemporary

Unexpected materials give this bathroom a modern feel. Designer Jillian Harris of Love It or List It, Too pairs a square vessel sink with butcher block countertops. Striped floor tiles ground the space and lead to a large walk-in shower.

Photo By: janis nicolay ©Copyright: janis nicolay photography 2011

Striking Tile Design

A tight space doesn't mean you have to skimp on style. Contractors Anthony Carrino and John Colaneri of Cousins on Call make a big impact in this small bath by installing glass tiles in varying shades of blues, grays and black from the floor to ceiling.

Photo By: Chris Amaral © 2011, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Wall of Glass

This long, narrow master bath, as seen on HGTV's Million Dollar Rooms, is designed to provide a virtual outdoor experience, creating the impression that the space is open to the outside. The seamless glass windows that form the outer walls allows natural light to brighten the space, while also providing a gorgeous view.

Surrounded by Stones

As seen on HGTV’s Million Dollar Rooms, this serene master bathroom is made for relaxation with a freestanding soaking tub surrounded by smooth stones. The wall-mounted shelf next to the tub frees up floor space and maintains the room’s open, airy feel. Natural light streams in through a large window.

Neutral Yet Ritzy

This master bathroom designed by Stephen Fanuka of Million Dollar Contractor features luxurious hand-painted wallpaper and a custom Carrara marble shower. Even though the materials have varying textures, he keeps the look clean with a monochromatic color palette.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg © 2012, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Spa-Inspired Shower

A custom shower designed by Chip Wade of Elbow Room features floor-to-ceiling rectangular tiles and a spa-inspired floor made from exotic ipe wood. The wood helps break up the tile used throughout the bathroom and adds warmth to the space. A recessed nook blends seamlessly into the tile while providing much-needed storage.

Photo By: Jeff Herr - AP Images © 2013, HGTV/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Clean and Contemporary

Dark gray floor tiles provide a strong contrast in this otherwise bright white bathroom. Tarek and Christina El Moussa of Flip or Flop use glass tiles in the shower for a high-end, custom look. A quartz countertop is paired with shaker-style white cabinetry for a chic, modern vanity.

Gray Sophistication

Marble takes an ordinary bathroom from bland to brilliant by bouncing the light around to make even a small bathroom feel much brighter and more spacious. Contractor Stephen Fanuka of Million Dollar Contractor uses oversized marble tiles on the floor and in the shower to create this lavish bathroom.

Photo By: Anders Krusberg © 2012, DIY Network/Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Most walk-in bathtub vendors offer a variety of models and styles. Even the size and shape of the door can be personalized to your taste. These walk-in tubs can include a wide variety of bonus features including adjustable bubble jets, handrails, adjustable shower heads and inside-the-tub seating.

Before making a decision on a style, take into account the size of the bathroom. Be sure your bathroom can accommodate such a large fixture. A small room might need a bathtub door that swings inward, for example.

Consider the pros and cons of this style of bathtub. The most obvious advantage is that a walk-in bathtub makes bathing safer. These bathtubs are designed to prevent slipping and falls with handrails and textured surfaces. Installing a walk-in bath could also increase the value of your home, especially if you live in a retirement community.

Owners of these tubs say that they enjoy the therapeutic aspect of the water jets to help with arthritis pain and other muscle aches. Be sure the jet speed is adjustable so you can personalize the massage to your needs. These walk-in tubs also are good for those with physical disabilities that make stepping in and out of a regular tub hazardous.

One disadvantage to a walk-in tub is that you have to enter the bathtub before beginning to fill it with water, and of course it must be fully drained before you exit. Have your towel and robe nearby to avoid getting chilled after your bath while the tub is draining.

Also, you might have to buy a new and more powerful hot water heater in order to use the tub to its full potential. In this case, add the expense of a new water heater and its installation to the cost of the walk-in bathtub. Or perhaps you would like to consider installing a tankless water heater, which means you have endless hot water all the time. Be aware that this would increase your total cost considerably.

Don't be worried that the walk-in tub door could leak; they are well-designed and usually do not present any problems. Manufacturers recommend leaving the door slightly ajar after bathing so that the seals can relax and dry thoroughly. It is also a good idea to wipe down the seal regularly to remove any dirt that might cause it to not seal properly.

Walk-in bathtubs should be installed by a professional. You can expect to pay anywhere from $2,500 up to $10,000 for a model with all the features you want.

Walk-in bathtubs are a significant financial investment, but many homeowners consider them to be worth the cost for the peace of mind that comes with their safety features.

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