Major bathroom remodels are about two things: comfort, and style. Comfort, well, that comes built in to just about every luxury bathroom item. After all, all a bathtub really needs to be decadent and relaxing is to be big and reasonably well designed. But style is a whole different thing, and that takes a little more care to attain. Now, freestanding bathtubs have been a focal point of designer bathrooms for centuries, first out of necessity, and now because designers have started to have a little fun with them. Modern freestanding bathtubs have a stunning, statuesque quality, and many classic styles can still make a big splash. So if you want a one-of-a-kind look for your bathroom, these top ten most unique freestanding bathtubs are a pretty good place to start.
When you think of freestanding bathtubs, you probably think of old fashioned, Victorian style clawfoot tubs. With just a few basic designs, this single type of tub has remained iconic since the 19th century, a symbol of luxury and decadence. But while clawfoot tubs are certainly beautiful and add a specific historical quality to your bathroom, they aren’t exactly unique in the market. That said, I would be remiss in a discussion of beautiful freestanding bathtubs if I didn’t include at least one clawfoot. So, instead of the traditional form, I offer this simple twist: the Reminiscence Tub from American Standard, which takes the classic design of a slipper tub and gives the backrest a huge, dramatic flair, adding ample arm space and a swooping, petal-like rest for your head and back.
Despite the proliferation of clawfoot tubs, some of the most uniquely designed freestanding bathtubs do still have a vintage inspiration. This Medicis Tub from Herbeau is one of my personal favorites, and you can tell immediately why it’s so unique. Copper bathtubs aren’t exactly easy to come by, and by their very rarity they’re inherently pretty stunning. This one in particular has an amazing old world decadence to it, especially when paired with a nice vintage tub filler, and will lend more than a little sophistication to any bathroom you put it in.
That said, copper freestanding bathtubs don’t have to look like something out of a Sherlock Holmes movie. Modern copper tubs, like this Lexington Tub from Sierra Copper is anything but vintage, but every bit as impressive as its old world brethren. Once again, in a world where bathtubs come in a pretty limited selection of materials, a copper tub is pretty eye catching, but this one also has a unique, angular modern design that sets it apart from your average freestanding bathtubs. Plus, there are a lot of reasons to want a pure copper tub like this one – it’s easy to clean, naturally antibacterial, and develops a beautiful natural patina over time, just to name a few.
Any time you add color or texture to the outside of freestanding bathtubs, they immediately become more interesting to look at. Doing so breaks out of the expected smooth white porcelain, and really anything that’s unexpected is visually pleasing and unique. That’s why I love love love this Prince Tub from Knief – it has a stunning, modern industrial quality to it that I don’t think I’ve ever seen anywhere else. It would take a very modern bathroom and more than a little gumption to pull it off well, but the metal bands and rivets and overall sheet metal aesthetic are definitely not anything you’re going to find in your neighbor’s bathroom.
Even smaller metal accents, like non-claw style feet or even full metal bases can go a long way towards giving freestanding bathtubs a crisp, modern look. Of course, the squared corners and edges of this Modern Slipper Tub from Barclay don’t hurt much either, adding a cool modern, geometric twist to an old fashioned style without sacrificing the comfort of the big scooped backs.
For a slightly earthier look, opt instead for freestanding bathtubs with a wooden base or support frame. Tubs like this Walnut Leg Tub from Belle Foret are cool for a couple reasons. First, they have an awesome suspended look in a way that tubs with feet don’t really. Because they’re supported by separate pieces rather than standing on legs (or at least look like they are), there’s a greater impression of the old style basin tubs rather than a modern bath. That, combined with the dark, lacquered wood make wood base tubs like this an excellent option for an asian-inspired bathroom with a much more natural vibe.
Then again, if you just want to stick with traditional smooth, unbroken white freestanding bathtubs, who am I to object? Designers certainly don’t, with an increasingly wide range of pure white, sculpture-like modern freestanding bathtubs. As a fan of the old fashioned clawfoot tubs, I find myself especially drawn to this elegant, feminine Modern Slipper Tub. It’s got perfectly smooth sides and sits flat on the ground, but the sculpted tall slipper is elegant in its simplicity, and the little curve on the edge is pure style – a beautiful modern interpretation of an utterly classic form.
Many of the solid white designer freestanding bathtubs are as much playful as they are stylish, using the slightly glossy white finish of porcelain in the same way that modern artists do, letting curves and bends in the material play with light and shadow for added effect. This Abrazo Tub is a really great example, with playful wavy lines all around the upper edge, and a middle that’s ever so slightly pinched in to subtly play with the light of your bathroom and add visual interest to a tub that’s anything but a blank canvas.
This Askew Tub is another great example of modern, sculpture-like freestanding bathtubs. On the inside, it’s a perfectly normal, rectangular shaped tub, but on the outside it looks like it’s made of three staggered, slightly off center and overlapping “stacks’ of rectangular pieces. The slightly “broken” or piled book look of this tub is definitely eye catching, modern, simple, and sleek all in one. If you won’t go crazy wanting to straighten out your tub, this is a cool modern statement piece as much as it is a soaking tub, perfect for a luxury bathroom remodel.
Okay, okay, okay, so this one isn’t technically a freestanding tub, it’s a drop in, but this list would hardly be worth looking at if it didn’t include at least one overflow or infinity tub. What’s that, you ask? It’s a tub designed to fill all the way to the tippy top and then some, so water cascades down around the sides and spreads out in a special channel all around you. It’s basically the most all-encompassing water experience you can have without having to be afraid about getting your floor wet. They’re beautiful to look at, beautiful to listen to as they overflow, and oh-so comfortable to soak in. Some of them, like this Purist Tub from Kohler are of the air bath or whirlpool persuasion, and others (like the Isla Vista or Infini Vista from Americh) are designed to be installed directly into your floor and lined with small stones or glass pieces for the water to flow through. Maybe not quite like freestanding bathtubs, but definitely unique!
What are you looking for in a freestanding tub? Do you prefer a cutting edge modern style or something a little more classically inspired?