So you’re ready to give your bathroom a major facelift and this time you really want to pull out all the stops to create what could be your new favourite room in the house.
You’re a big fan of bath time, but there’s just something missing when you settle down for a soak in your standard built-in. Maybe it’s a little cramped, maybe you just can’t get the water as deep as you’d like. Maybe you want the kind of bubbles you can’t get out of a bottle, or maybe it’s the ambience that is getting in the way of the luxurious experience you crave.
There are no two ways about it – you’re ready to think (and spend) big on your next bath. But what type should you choose? Designer bathroom specialists Aston Matthews walk us through four of the main luxury bath options.
Roll top bath
If there’s one type of bath that can truly be described as iconic, it’s the roll top. It’s a style that transports us back to another era, a timeless classic that is as versatile as it is a statement of style. Think elegant porcelain fit for royalty, think a copperplated tub oozing rustic charm – the roll top style covers the full range, and is equally eye-catching in every case.
A roll top is perhaps the archetypal example of a freestanding bath. The style gets its name from the rolled or curved lip around the rim, which is so popular it has become almost the default for freestanding baths. Like all freestanding tubs, the key benefits are that you can put it anywhere you want in your bathroom, even right in the middle of the room as a stand out feature. And, let’s be honest – they look stunning.
The classic example of a roll top bath comes in cast iron, which may then be clad in ceramic, porcelain, enamel, copper, bronze and so on. So one thing to consider is that roll tops have some weight to them – make sure your bathroom has the necessary structural support, especially if it is upstairs.
Another instantly recognisable riff on the freestanding theme, slipper baths are those that are shaped vaguely like a chaise lounge, with a pronounced upward curve at one end (you can also get double-ended slipper baths). The point is that a slipper bath is designed for a more comfortable reclining position, making long, luxurious soaks that much more comfortable. Another benefit is that they are deeper than a typical bath, which again favours the more leisurely bather.
Slipper baths may well feature roll tops and can be made from the same materials, although nowadays you can also find attractive stone varieties in marble and the like. Again, be conscious of weight.
There’s something about the notion of stepping down into a pool of water, rather than climbing into a raised tub, that seems to really chime with our ideas of luxury on a deep level. Perhaps its to do with primal memories of bathing in open water. Or maybe it’s just because we’re all very used to baths looking a certain way.
In any case, there is no doubt that a stunning bath can look absolutely stunning. Taken to the extreme of having the rim of the tub flush with the floor, they create an open, seamless look that works particularly well with spacious, minimally furnished bathrooms. Even fitted on a slightly raised pedestal, sunken baths create more of an impression of space than your ordinary run-of-the-mill built-in bath, and they are also great if access is an issue.
Finally, for anyone who wants to get a little extra out of bath time, there’s the spa bath. Also known as whirlpool baths or, particularly for varieties designed for outdoor use, hot tubs, spa baths have one main attraction – bubbles created by jets of air and/or warm water.
Because of the extra plumbing involved, whirlpool baths are generally built-in varieties, but they come in an extensive range of shapes and sizes. As well as spa versions of the standard rectangular bath, spa tubs are also often associated with corner and round sunken varieties. The key here is that a spa bath is designed for sitting in to enjoy the therapeutic effects of the jets as much as for reclining for a long soak, so shapes that make it easy to sit upright are popular.
For anyone looking to capture even more of the spa experience in their own bathroom, another popular sub-category is the steam shower whirlpool bath. With an enclosed screen fitted around the tub, these units double up as a steam room. And when things have got hot enough, you can flick on a cold shower without even having to move.