Bathtub in bedroom: practical considerations

Freestanding bath in a bedroom: the practical considerations

Does the luxury hotel trend for a freestanding bath in a bedroom translate into everyday living?

By Hugh Metcalf |

Love this boutique hotel-inspired concept, but not sure it will work for everyday living? Here’s what you need to know.

Whether you’ve stayed in a luxury hotel that features one, or simply seen one in the pages of a glossy interiors magazine, chances are you’re familiar with the idea of a freestanding bath situated in a bedroom.

How you feel about it may be a different story. On one side, it could be seen as form over function, whilst on the other, an interesting way to think outside the box with your interior layout.

However, it’s not a new trend, says Sally Cutchie, marketing manager at BC Designs: “It can be traced back to the Middle Ages when many of the rich lords would have a bath in their bedroom. Fast forward to the 1990s and the trend was revived by boutique hotels placing free standing roll‐top baths at the end of huge beds.”

Consider these pros and cons, and practical considerations when deciding if this style is for you.

rolltop bath in a barn style bedroom - grand designs - home improvement

Photo: BC Designs Boat Bath

Benefits of bath in bedroom

Perhaps at the core of this trend is the want to create a space to showcase increasingly beautiful bathtubs. “Freestanding baths can cost a lot of money which is perhaps why people are choosing to show them off by putting them centre stage in the bedroom,” explains Sally.

However, there’s practical reasons that home builders and renovators are considering them too. En-suite bathrooms tend to be smaller than family bathrooms, and for those who long for a little quiet time to unwind in the bath, locating this in a small space may not be ideal.

If you have a large bedroom already, putting a freestanding tub into this space may be easier than the work required to enlarge an ensuite bathroom. It might also not end up being much more work than installing in a bathroom. “Many consumers can be put off of installing [freestanding baths] in a bathroom as the plumbing needs to be moved, coming up from the floor rather than out from the wall,” explains Sally, “but this is the case for the bedroom too and actually involves about the same amount of work.”

bath in main bedroom wardrobe - grand designs - home improvement

Photo: Havwoods

Splash zone

For an adult bedroom space, bathtub use will likely be a far more restrained affair, but this design idea isn’t ideal for family living. “When it comes to splashing children, a separate bathtub in a family bathroom is most likely a must. Bedrooms tend to have electrical equipment, expensive items and soft furnishings that don’t mix very well bubbles or water.”

You’ll also need to consider how you set your bathtub into the bedroom to avoid this damage, as carpets and traditional wood flooring aren’t as robust in handling water as traditional bathroom flooring materials. Tiles, stone or more durable flooring types such as LVT, could be adapted into your bedroom design.

Photo: BC Baths

Photo: BC Baths

Luxury of space

“One area that is essential to making the trend work is space. If you don’t have space to build an en suite, your room probably isn’t big enough to hold a bathtub,” says Sallie.

A bathtub in the bedroom is not an option for space limited living, it works best as an indulgent feature to add interest to an already grand room. However, while many examples that incorporate bedroom baths are classic or period-inspired with rolltop baths, the idea could be adapted across interior styles.

“It will be hard to create the look with a low to mid‐market product. If you’re going to have a bathtub at the end of the bed, it’s got to be a feature, it’s got to have presence and make a statement.”

If privacy is an issue, consider a lock on the bedroom door, rather than on the ensuite. Also consider window dressings in your space if the room is overlooked. Opaque blinds and voile curtains can create layers that allow the room to remain bright in the daytime, but that also offer privacy from the outside world.

nobu shoreditch bedroom

Photo: Nobu hotel in Shoreditch, courtesy of Design Hotels