How to buy a bath: all our best advice

Sometimes, after a particular trying day, I like to sit back on the Tube home and imagine having a nice long soak – bathbomb and all – in a luxurious, definitely oversized tub.

But how to buy a bath? That’s the big question.

It is, after all, pretty much the largest single item in your room, so you want to get it absolutely right.

how to buy a bath
How to buy a bath: when shopping, look at practicality, style, and don’t let others’ expectations sway you if you really like something. Take this quirky Newton slipper bath, price on application, from Maison Valentina for example. Is it over the top? A little. I also looked at it and thought ‘Do I need it’? Absolutely.

Luckily, working on an interiors magazine means I have the answers right at my fingertips – and today, I’m sharing them with you.

So let’s get started.

How to buy a bath: decide on the style

Do you prefer more classic or contemporary looks? This determines everything else, so think about it carefully.

If you’re unsure, look around magazines, Instagram, Pinterest and co – and don’t be afraid to start with deciding what you don’t like. That’s very often easier than the other way around.

Fitted or freestanding?

In a compact space, a fitted (or built-in) design will be the better choice as it takes up less room.

If you have plenty of floor area or are planning to place the tub in your bedroom– the ultimate luxury! – a freestanding statement piece might just be your go-to choice.

How to buy a bath: a compact space doesn’t mean you can’t have a bath – there are designs in all sizes. The Albion Bath Company’s Tubby Too, for example, is as flexible as it is space efficient. Standing on clawed feet, it can be finished in any Dulux Trade or Farrow & Ball colour as well as one of the Albion Bath Company’s three burnished finishes: gold, iron or bronze. Priced from £2133, a bath in a painted finish (shown) would cost £2431.

They take up more space, yes, but also come in some striking shapes and finishes.

How to buy a bath: one end or two?

Having the brassware in the middle is ideal if you plan on sharing it with your partner as there is no squabbling about who has to sit on the plug.

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If nobody else beyond your rubber duck is allowed to hop in with you, a design with the fixtures at one end is sufficient. This way, you also won’t end up banging your knee against the tap just as you relax.

Choose your bath’s shape and size

how to buy a bath
How to buy a bath: if you have the space, why not make your bath a real statement and stray from the ‘standard’ forms in favour of more unusual ideas? This Bisazza x Wanders Freestanding bath, from £12,474, is sure to catch everyone’s eye with its unusual design. Available from CP Hart.

Fitted tubs offers three options: rectangular, square, or a corner design, which leaves you with choosing the depth. Shallower models are great if you have children, as it makes it easier to bathe your little ones.

If you have a freestanding design, there is more choice – from oval baths to sensual hourglass – so make sure you look at as many options as possible and ‘test sit’ them to find your ideal match.

How to buy a bath: a fitted bath doesn’t need to look plain white. Tiling the exterior could make a design statement or help your bath blend in for a cohesive look – such as in this scheme, which uses Ayton Grey Decor tiles, £28 per sq m, on the bath and the wall directly behind it. Paired with the Ayton Grey design, £28 per sq m, on the rest of the walls and the Woodeves Grey tiles, £19.94 per sq m, on the floor, all from Topps Tiles.

Also think about the size, especially if you’re tall. The standard length is 170cm, which isn’t always enough for the long-legged people among us. Luckily, baths now often extend beyond that, so no more knees poking above the waterline.

How to buy a bath: buying brassware

The best way to go about choosing a tap is to do it as the same time as your bath – this way, you’ll know it fits and looks good together.

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how to buy a bath
How to buy a bath: whether you go for classic chrome or decide to choose a more statement design, finding the style that fits you is key. This matt black bath mixer from Meir, for example, is unfussy but still looks super stylish. Priced around £478.21(AUS $899).

If that’s not practicable or you like shopping around, make sure you look at the right configurations (baths usually come with tap holes predrilled, so that’s what you need to go by) and that the style of tub suits the look of your brassware.

Design synergy, as the professionals call it, is the ultimate goal – whether that means matching or mixing styles is all down to your personal taste.

Material matters – watch the weight

Floors might need reinforcing, which will add cost to your project if your tub is too heavy. But choose one that’s too light and it’ll wander around the room as you move it.

How to buy a bath: a drop-in bath blends seamlessly with your surrounding space. In addition, you could use the steps for storage, if you design it to contain drawers. This Hydra bath from Waters Baths of Ashbourne is £1995.

But fear not: we have the lowdown on the most popular materials, right here at your fingertips.

So, what are you waiting for? Go forth and pick your ideal bath. You deserve it.

Featured image: Kaldewei‘s Centro Duo bath, from £1973, features two backrests and centrally positioned brassware – so no need to fight over who gets the tap end.

Want another feature on how to buy a bath? Then check out the pros and cons of both fitted and freestanding models.

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