Tub faucets come in a variety of styles and finishes, and choosing the right one for your bathroom tub can go a long way towards defining the overall design of the space.
A renaissance in freestanding tubs—often in a vintage style, such as a grand, porcelain claw-foot tub—means that tub faucets with exposed pipes are becoming more common. The pipes can sit outside of the tub, emerging from the floor behind it, or they can sometimes protrude directly through the bottom of the tub.
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
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
Another common tub faucet choice is the deck-mounted faucet. This type of faucet sits on the flat surface, or deck, of the tub. You'll have options if you decide on this style, such as whether you want one or two handles, and how long and dramatic you want the faucet neck to be.
Lastly, wall-mounted faucets are an efficient choice for a tub/shower combination.
In terms of materials, quality should be your first consideration. Solid brass construction is best and most durable, but it's also the most expensive. Brass or chrome plating is a step down, but if you're on a budget, it can be a viable option.
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