Small Bathtubs: Ideas and Options
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.
Bold + Bright = Beautiful
Small bathroom color palettes don't have be limited to whites and grays. In a small space, you can use bright, bold colors and patterns that might be overwhelming in a larger room. This small bathroom from Dabito of Old Brand New is bursting with rich colors, quirky patterns and geometric shapes.
Go Small or Go Home
Small bathrooms unfortunately call for smaller fixtures. Instead of overwhelming your bathroom with a large sink and bulky vanity, choose a smaller, vintage-inspired sink. This piece serves its purpose while allowing extra room underneath to stow two small step stools.
Choose a Petite Tub
Yes, you can make a tub work in a small bathroom! This otherwise cramped enclosure is the perfect spot for a small soaking tub. From bright, tribal pattern flooring to towel hooks that double as fun art, this is a great example of a small bathroom that gets everything right.
Break the Rules
"Powder rooms are usually where I really go all out, break all the rules and use materials that might look 'over the top' in larger spaces," says interior designer Melissa Miranda. In tiny powder rooms like this one, small, medium and large wallpaper patterns work well. In larger powder rooms and bathrooms, wall coverings featuring small patterns can look cluttered.
Pick a Patterned Floor
Patterns look great in small bathrooms. Try a quirky patterned floor and see how the small square footage actually works in your favor. For another decor trick that adds interest to your bathroom without taking up space, try brass or gold fixtures instead of more common chrome.
Welcome to the Jungle
A small space, like this powder room, can be a fun place to try out bold colors or patterns. Here, green leafy wallpaper gives the space jungle fever and is imaginatively contrasted by the reds and yellows of the rug.
Or, Think Horizontal
Adding long, uninterrupted horizontal planks to a small bathroom is also a great way to make it seem larger than it actually is. In this small bathroom, the shiplap walls maximize horizontal space and keep the room from feeling closed in.
An advantage of small bathrooms? Smaller prices. "Since the space is usually so small, you can get away with using higher priced materials as you need so little of them," says interior designer Melissa Miranda. Sparkling damask wallpaper creates a stunning setting for a pair of contemporary pendant lights and golden sunburst mirror in this ultra-glam bathroom.
Kick Up the Color
Sometimes bold color is all you need to make a big statement. Although this space is small, the bold salmon-pink walls give it fresh personality. A simple white vanity and sleek fixtures balance the vibrant color.
Keep Clutter Controlled
While you'd never want clothes lying all over the floor even in a palatial bathroom, it's especially important to keep things neat and tidy in a small bathroom like this one from the HGTV Dream Home 2017. The rolling wire laundry basket shown here is a great design choice that blends function and style.
Bring On the Charm
Go for Glass
Walk-in showers are far from your only option for high-style bathing. This bathroom features a subway-tiled tub married with a barely-there glass enclosure. The use of glass keeps the full expanse of the room visible for a spacious feel.
Take a Trip to the Country
A yellow, footed tub framed by yellow, floral curtains create a cozy, French country-inspired bath. A wood cabinet, antique door with glass handle and a blue, distressed footstool complete the aesthetic. Design by Sarah Richardson.
Make Shelving Matter
Small bathrooms can't afford to be cluttered. If your bathroom doesn't have space for large amounts of storage, the storage you do have should pull double duty as an accent piece like these sleek natural wood shelves with well-placed essentials and decor pieces.
Lose the Rug
Besides a bath mat, small bathrooms don't necessarily need rugs. Take a tip from this bathroom that's not much bigger than a corner and decorate your floor with a cheeky tile design instead. The message adds spunk without taking up space.
Skirt the Issue
Careful attention to design ensured that this already-small bathroom would not feel closed in. Wine boxes add beautiful, warm color and create easy storage. A skirt for the sink provides extra storage underneath, and the pages of an old book are taped to the wall for inexpensive and effective decoration.
DIY Your Way to a Fresh Look
No matter how small your bath, gutting and replacing fixtures is an expensive undertaking. Save money by updating what you can yourself. For example, give a builder-basic vanity a trendy cottage-style update by stripping the paint or stain down to the natural wood, then adding a coat of whitewash.
Install a Large Mirror
It's a well-known design truth that mirrors can create the illusion of more space. The floor-to-ceiling mirror shown here is a perfect example of this tactic. The floating marble vanity and soft, clean color scheme further complete the posh, airy look of this bathroom.
Quirky, colorful book cover wallpaper makes a major statement in this small bathroom. Simple decor, like thin brass wall sconces, a retro mirror and white marble vanity, balance the bold paperback pattern.
From the mesmerizing floor tile to the slanted ceiling, this bathroom is nothing but first-rate design inspiration. One of designer Emily Henderson's tactics for decorating this small bathroom (photographed by Tessa Neustadt) was to match metals, from towel bars to faucets, for a more cohesive appearance.
Light It Up
Try a bold, dark ceiling color in your small bathroom, such as the black ceiling in this room from Sarah Gibson, designer and blogger at Room for Tuesday. The dramatic shade also helps expand the height of this small bathroom by drawing the eye upwards.
Show Off Your Shower
Fish scale tile is a hot bathroom trend and using it on a small shower accent wall is a great way to elevate your bathroom in a very subtle way. Bonus: Having less wall space to cover also means you'll spend less on this crave-able tile. Finish off the shower with a sleek glass door to strut your shower's new style.
Try Open Shelving
Any kind of enclosure or barrier in a room can divide it up and make the space feel smaller. While that might be desirable in some spaces, it's not what you want in a small bathroom. In this ultra-modern bathroom, the shower has no enclosure at all, which lends a roomier feel.
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.
- Bathtub Styles and Options
- Clawfoot Tub Designs
- Walk-In Tub Designs
- Whirlpool Tubs: Designs and Options
- Freestanding Tub Options
- Tub and Shower Combos
- Corner Bathtub Design Ideas
- Soaking Tub Designs
- Japanese Soaking Tub Designs
- Drop-In Bathtub Design Ideas
- Invest in a Soaking Tub for Your Zen Bathroom
- 12 Gorgeous Bathtubs to Soak Away the Stress
- Tub Enclosures
- Walk-In Tub Designs
- Clawfoot Tub Designs
- The Period Bath Takes on a New Luster