Bathtub Styles and Options

Today's bathtubs make a statement in your bathroom, and HGTV can help you choose the right one from the wide variety of styles available.
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By: Kirsten Efird
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Forget the basic, unattractive bathtub that typically hides behind your shower curtain. These days, bathtubs can be pretty, elegant, and streamlined. From a whirlpool system to a soaker tub, today's bathtub styles and options can be the centerpiece of your bathroom.

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The bathtub style you choose will ultimately come down to your budget as well as your personal style preference. Bathtub manufacturers produce a variety of styles and looks to match your taste, as well as to fit your budget. Be sure to check out pictures of bathtub options online or in design books to help you determine which style you prefer.

First, consider how you primarily use your bathtub. Is it mainly for relaxing soaks, or is it for washing kids and pets? You want it to best serve the purposes for your lifestyle. Keep in mind also the size and installation requirements — it needs to fit in the space nicely.

If you love a vintage look, freestanding clawfoot tubs are beautiful as well as being space savers. They are a bold feature in a bathroom. You can select the specific design of the feet to reflect your personal style. Some even feature a higher back for supporting the head and neck.

Whirlpool bathtubs are best for providing targeted massage to select areas, such as the back or neck. A water jet system is standard with most whirlpool baths. Before purchasing, be sure to check that all the jets are adjustable for speed. Note that whirlpool jets are usually somewhat loud when operated, and the jets need to be cleaned regularly.

If you want a simple bathtub without the fuss or noise of jets, soaking tubs are designed to simply be filled with water for relaxing escapes. Some even have armrests molded into the sides of the tub. Because of the smooth surface, you may want to consider one with a slip-resistant floor. A variation on this type is the Japanese soaker tub, which is traditionally made of wood and is shorter but deeper than the typical American-style bathtub.

Walk-in bathtubs are increasing in popularity for their ease of use and safety features. These special tubs have doors for easy access, and they can include a variety of features including adjustable jets, handrails, slip-proof textures, and even a seat.

If space is tight, you may want to consider a corner bathtub. These are especially designed to be installed in angled or curved spaces in a corner of a bathroom — but that doesn't necessarily mean they have to be small. Many corner tubs are placed beneath a window so you can enjoy natural light and outside views while bathing.

Another space-saving option is the tub and shower combination. The bonus of this two-in-one unit is that it makes the most of limited space, and it provides both options for bathers. These are great in kids' or guest bathrooms.

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