Small bathtubs solve big challenges in bathroom design

Small bathtubs solve big challenges in bathroom design

A statement freestanding bath may be the lust-have item on today’s bathroom renovation list, but not everyone has enough space to include a full sized bathtub in their bathroom layout. In many cases very small baths for small bathrooms tick boxes of style and substance and represent an excellent compromise to maximise space where it counts. Here we look at options for including a small bathtub when considering possible bathroom design ideas.

Whether you’re a family with small children to wash safely each night before bed, or a good soak is an essential option at any time, if your home has a small bathroom, including a bathtub of a more compact size in your bathroom design might be the answer you are looking for.

Many styles of bathtub are available in smaller sizes – from contemporary sleek styles in stone, to diminutive acrylic replicas of traditional claw-foot bathtubs. Just what does it takes to fit a tiny tub into a tight space?

Trends and popular models of small bathtubs

“Japanese inspired bathrooms are increasingly popular nowadays,” says Highgrove Bathrooms brand specialist Wesley Sinclair. “The clean, modern look exudes spa-like luxury, and Japanese style soaking tubs can be a great option for a small bathtub that has added height.”

“If you’re looking to draw the eye with a more classic ceramic built-in or drop-in corner bathtub, consider feature tiling all around the bathtub and the surrounding walls – whether it be a unique pattern or a bold colour, it’ll definitely be the visual statement that’ll take your bathroom renovation to the next level.”

Savefrom alibaba.comCorner install round shape bathtub very small deep soaking Japanese bath tub668Elisha WheelerBathroom idea

How do small bathtubs compare in cost vs full-sized bathtubs?

“Smaller bathtubs are definitely cheaper than full-sized bathtubs due to their compact size and the fact that they are easier to install,” says Wesley. “Especially when opting for a combined shower bathtub. Not only will you be able to save space, but with less waterproofing and fixtures required, you’ll have the budget to spend on other aspects of the renovation.”

Can you get a good ‘soak’ in a smaller tub?

“When choosing a bathtub, it’s important to consider not only the length but the height,” Wesley suggests. “Selecting a bathtub with extra height to make up for the shorter length will allow for a more immersive experience. The shape of the bathtub is also a vital factor – with slightly curvier edges or even an in-built seat, you’ll be much more comfortable when unwinding after a long day.”

Small bathtub design ideas
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There are a number of elements to consider when making the decision on which small bathtub will work in your small bathroom. Allowing for enough circulation space around the bathroom is essential for daily activities and access to plumbing the bathtub for small bathroom space ratio is an important consideration in planning your layout.

What are the pros and cons of a small bathtub?


  • Space saver, great for smaller bathrooms
  • Cost effective
  • Built-in or drop in corner bathtubs are designed to be against the wall for easier plumbing structures and drainage
  • Capacity for shower bathtub combo
  • Low maintenance and easier to clean compared to freestanding baths


  • Less of a luxurious, spa-like feel
  • Less of a statement piece / lower decorative impact
  • Not as flexible in placement if opting for a built-in or drop-in corner bathtub

Here are 10 small bathtubs to consider for your bathroom design:

10. Japanese style copper bathtub

SaveSamsel ArchitectsJapanese soaking tub in our modern rustic project in East Tennessee. Water flows from the ceiling in the large copper tub. Architecture by Samsel Architects from Asheville, NC. #easttennessee #modernrustic #rusticbathroom #japanesesoakingtub #soakingtub #coppertub219Ash D*Bus/ van bathroom

Surrounding walls lined in timber combine rustic texture and natural materials to bring a bespoke edge to this small bathroom corner and work beautifully with the rich copper colours of the bathtub.

10 Best small bath ideas
All Things Copper

9. Round bathtub

Savedomino6 Details We’re Stealing From Garance Doré’s Breezy California Bathroom787DrewMagnumStudio_Space

Whilst a full-size bathtub measures around 750mm in width and between 1500–1800mm in length, small bathtub sizes, depending on the shape range from as little as 1200mm long or in diameter in the case of a round bathtub.

10 Best small bath ideas

7. Shower over bathtub

SaveHomeGardenMagzSmall Bathroom Tub Shower Combo Ideas(53)11K+Ashleigh HuntRenovation ideas

A shorter length in bathtub even allows for essential plumbing access and provides a useful surface for storage at the end for plants or toiletries.

10 Best small bath ideas

6. Drop-in bathtub

Savefrom blogstephaniebathroom.myblogka.ruBathroom shower over bath glass doors 67+ super ideas #bath #bathroom151Jessica MetcalfeLaundry

Perhaps the ultimate space saver, positioning a shower over the bathtub maximises use of available space. A monochrome colour scheme keeps things easy on the eye.

10 Best small bath ideas

5. Mini claw-foot replica bathtub

Savedomino✧Pinterest- NomadicPisces7K+Nicole Wilkinson// BATHROOMS //

A shortened version of a claw foot bathtub allows for the luxury and comfort of a slipper shape to recline in, whilst still taking up less room in your small bathroom.

10 Best small bath ideas
Baths Vanities

4. Small modern freestanding bathtub

SaveCheetah is the New Blackprettiest white bathroom and freestanding tub for a small bath3K+RebeccaStylish Bathrooms ♡

An all-white colour scheme is the perfect foil for a small bath. Fitting snugly into one end of a tiny bathroom, marble tiling allows for subtle pattern and texture without making the space look too busy.

10 Best small bath ideas
Bathroom Warehouse

3. Small square bathtub

Savefrom decorpad.comBehind a glass partition, a drop in tub is positioned beneath tiled niche shelves framed by marble subway tiles and facing a vintage hand held shower head as mosaic marble tiles accent an adjacent wall.902cindy leebathroom

With space seriously tight in this tiny bathroom, the eye is drawn upwards to ceiling height with a white patterned tile on the back wall and space-saving shower niche with glass shelving.

10 Best small bath ideas

2. Designer round bathtub

SaveSignature HardwareCreate a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom with the round Siglo Japanese Soaking Tub. A relaxing integral seat within the bathtub creates a comfortable and peaceful experience. The drain and overflow system is built within the walls of the tub, leaving no pipes exposed.12Ali SmealBathroom inspo

A little luxury goes a long way and this luxurious round bath brings a hotel feel to a home bathroom, without the long length of a conventional bathtub.

10 Best small bath ideas
Stone Baths

1. Upright Japanese style bathtub

Savenamedecors.com18+ Gorgeous Japanese Bathtub to Feel Sensation of Bathing Like a Japanese – Page 12 of 188Nadia TheoreBathroom

Consider the comfort of your ideal bath experience and perhaps be guided by the Japanese bath principle where depth can be a great swap for length to provide a satisfactory soak.

10 Best small bath ideas