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Bathtub Alternatives

Wether you want to relax after a long day or you need to get your little one clean, a bathtub is a must have for any home. Take a look at this article to see some different options and styles.

Bathroom with white brick accent wall, abstract looking pattern tile flooring, white large stand alone tub, shower with only glass all around it, chair in corner with gray and yellow towel draped on it, three shelves on wall above tub with bath salts and shampoos and soaps

Relaxing in a bathtub is one of life’s small pleasures. A hot bath after a long and stressful day is an easy way to unwind. You might like soaking in the bathtub with bubbles and a good book for your daily dose of me-time.

Ask any busy mom, and she will tell you that there are only a few things that can beat getting away to the bathroom for a few minutes relaxing in a hot bath. But a bathtub is often needed in a home for more than just relaxation. If you have children too small to take a standup shower, a bathtub quickly becomes necessary.

Perhaps your bathroom is a bit cramped, and you don’t have room to install a full-size tub. Maybe you have an extremely limited budget and can’t remodel your home to include a bathtub. We have all the bathtub alternatives you will need to find a practical solution!

Most homes have at least one bathroom with a bathtub. But what if your house doesn’t have a bathtub? Our guide on bathtub alternatives will help you find bathing solutions, and before you know it, you will be neck-deep in a bubble bath, relaxing and forgetting your hectic schedules.

Whether designing a new bathroom or just doing a slight home improvement and installing a new tub, check out the choices below. We uncover all the bathing solutions and alternatives to bathtubs that are space-saving, affordable, and accessible for people of all ages!

The Traditional Bathtub

Master bath right off master bedroom, white tile flooring,gray and white marble pattern tile around tub framed into wall, large window with white shutters letting in natural light

Alternative tub designs provide a place for bathing and relaxing and offer options a standard tub does not. A conventional tub might not fit your space, or perhaps you want additional features like a whirlpool tub or walk-in accessibility. Whatever your bathing needs are, there is a bathtub alternative that will be the best solution!

Standard bathtubs are more than just a focal point to the bathroom. A bathtub has a purpose and is an expected amenity in most homes. However, the standard tub design does present some issues. A tub usually takes up a lot of valuable space in the room. On top of that, it often does not meet the specific needs of the homeowners.

Traditional bathtub designs come in several different types and shapes. From really interesting-looking bathtubs made of high-quality materials to basic run-of-the-mill soaking tubs, there are many standard options depending on the free space in the bathroom. The two most common traditional bathtubs are the bath and shower combo and the drop-in tub.

Bath and Shower Combo

Bathroom with simple white toilet, large white porcelein sink with stainless steel faucet, small vase with yellow flowers sitting on counter, white tile walls and a large mirror, shower and bathtub combo with glass doors

A bath and shower combo is the most practical choice for the bathroom because it allows for a shower and bath to occur in the same place without taking up any extra space. It is very versatile because it is available in any size and takes up less room than offering a separate space in the bathroom area for the bath and shower. Usually, a shower curtain or sliding glass doors can be opened for the bath and closed for the shower.

Drop-In Bathtub

Bathroom with large circular bathtub framed in with white subway tile, large glass wall separating the bathtub from the shower, window letting sun light in

This tub is “dropped” into a usually wood or tile frame. It is the most common tub beside the bath and shower combo because it doesn’t take too much space and is an affordable bathtub option. There is often a built-in tile surround that enhances your relaxing time in the bath because you can place everything you need for your bath within easy reach.

Modern bathroom with black and white marble looking tiles on floor and walls, large stand alone bathtub with metal rod coming out from the wall behind tub with white shower curtain to enclose tub, shower with glass doors to the side of tub with blue tile in a chevron pattern

A conventional tub might not fit your space, or perhaps you want additional features like a whirlpool tub or walk-in accessibility. Alternative tub designs provide a place for bathing and relaxing and offer options a traditional tub does not. Whatever your bathing needs are, there is a bathtub alternative that will be the best solution!

Small Bathroom

Small bathroom space with cream colored tile on the floor and wall, white toilet, tub and sink with drawers below

Most bathrooms will have a traditional bathtub that is built-in and takes up a large section of one wall. However, a small home with a tiny bathroom may only have a shower because there might not be room to install a tub. You can install a shower in a much smaller space than a tub, making it an obvious choice for smaller bathrooms that forgo the tub altogether.

Small black and white bathroom with a shower and tub combination with white subway tile and gray grout, black showerhead and other hardware, white toilet walls and sink, black framed mirror and cabinets

Another traditional option for a small space with a little more room is the tub-shower combo, an excellent solution for small bathrooms when homeowners don’t have the space for a separate tub and want the option of either a shower or bath. A small bathtub gives you more space than a full size tub and will help the bathroom feel more open.

Alternative tub options like the alcove or corner tubs also offer a space-saving solution for small bathrooms. They are a great example of tubs that take up less room. These tubs are tucked away in a corner or nook and usually have a triangle or round shape to the tub body.

Small bathtubs are a type of alternative tub perfect for a smaller space. These small tubs are a bit cramped inside but are ideal for children or petite adults.

Cream tile with a corner bathtub with gold and white handles and faucet

The angular shape and sharp edges of a triangle-shaped tub offer a modern look to the space. By choosing a modern alternative tub, bathrooms that are a bit cramped can still look high-end and have as much aesthetic appeal as bathrooms with more room.

Portable Bathtub

Portable bathtubs are an alternative tub solution if you just don’t have the space for a bathtub. Perhaps you live in a tiny city apartment or are leasing and cannot make a home improvement and add a tub to your bathroom. Whatever your situation, a relaxing bath can still be added to your space with a portable option!

Portable bathtubs can be placed in just about any room of the home. They can be set up in your bedroom or even taken outside. However, because they need to be filled with water and later drained, it is most convenient to use them outdoors or in an indoor area with a drain.

There are different shapes of portable tubs; some portable bathtubs are soaking tubs and have a tall and cylindrical design for upright soaking. This portable soaking tub also takes up less floor space and is an excellent alternative to the traditional soaking tub.

The traditional shaped portable tubs have plenty of space to bathe comfortably. They often include a pump for easy inflation and are made of a high-grade PVC material. The top-tier portable bathtubs will usually have more than one drain to make cleaning up fast and easy.

If you have ever been on long camping trips, you might have already used a portable bathtub. These tubs are cozy alternatives to bathing in the river or a stream! A relaxing bath near the fire while enjoying the great outdoors is a luxury. Using a portable bathtub camping is also a great option if you have children because they will have as much space to splash the tub water as hard as they want!

A baby or toddler bathtub is another portable bathtub that can be used while your children are small. Typically these are smaller versions of the inflatable portable tubs and are often made of hard plastic.

Mom and baby in nursery with large windows letting in sunlight, baby in small plastic white baby bathtub with a yellow rubber ducky, white wooden cradle with a white teddy bear in it

They are durable and designed to be easily moved from room to room. They are often used in the kitchen on the counter next to the sink or bathroom. A portable toddler tub can be used on the shower floor if there is room, but it can be used in just about any comfortable space for the parent to give a child a bath.

Freestanding Tub

A freestanding tub is a type of bathtub that can stand independently. It does not need to be built in or dropped into a prebuilt frame. Freestanding bathtubs offer more flexibility than a traditional tub because they can be placed anywhere in the bathroom.

Room with wooden floors, beige walls and a bed with white bedding, small wooden bench and small white bathtub next to bed, large window letting in sunlight

This type of small bathtub also will retain heat better because they are made of cast iron. Many newer clawfoot bathtubs are lighter acrylic, but they do not have the same heat retentive properties as the traditional cast iron clawfoot tub. Freestanding tubs are more expensive than traditional bathtubs, but the aesthetics and excellent heat retention make them worth the price for bath lovers.

In addition, freestanding bathtubs are available in many high-quality materials that add an elegant look to the bathroom. Freestanding tubs are easy to install and keep clean. They require little maintenance and come in a wide variety of styles.

A freestanding tub is heavier than a traditional drop-in tub or bath and shower combo, and because of its weight can be difficult to carry up multiple flights of stairs. In a remodel, the weight of the freestanding tub sometimes needs to be taken into consideration to make sure the floor and joist can support it.

Bathroom with white board and batten on the walls, white tile floors and a white clawfoot bathtub with stainless steel faucet, small white and stainless steel sink with white roses in a small vase on counter, natural light coming through window

Clawfoot bathtubs are a type of freestanding bathtub that is classic and found in the bathrooms of historic homes and has been used for centuries. A clawfoot tub usually has four legs with feet shaped like claws. Today, clawfoot tubs always have four legs, but the feet are not always shaped like claws.

A Japanese Soaking tub is a small bathtub shaped like a circle, and it is similar to an alcove bathtub. This minimalist bathtub features a space-saving design perfect for one person to fit comfortably inside. The Japanese soaking tub offers all the benefits of a freestanding tub, except it is smaller and ideal for a small bathroom.

Sunken Tub

Gorgeous vacation bathroom with a gray concrete wall and wood floors, step up platform with a sunken in large rectangular shaped bath tub filled with water, wooden beams on the ceiling and floating wooden shelves on the wall, small green tree planted in a small white pot

A sunken bathtub is a type of bathtub placed away from the wall and installed directly on the floor. This is perfect for a small bathroom when you don’t want a tub touching the walls.

Peaceful vacation bathtub sunken down into a gray large tile floor under a patio covering suported by large round pillars, overlooking the ocean, blue skies and small green trees along the perimeter

A sunken bathtub is a design for a bathtub that removes the usual structure above the floor. Instead, it merges into the floor itself and creates a seamless look. Sunken bathtubs are installed directly into the bathroom floor, and their basins often rest below the level of the flooring.

It is also possible to construct them with stairs going up to them so that they are elevated above the floor line but yet have the appearance of being built-in and concealed under the floor.

Upscale modern bathroom, wood floor, wood and metal framed sinks with stainless steel faucets, two white towel hung perfectly under each sink, 2 steps up to a small rectangular shaped sunken in bathtub filled with water, flat screen tv mounted to wall, a potted tree in each corner

Really nice sunken bathtubs are becoming more and more popular for several reasons: they provide an excellent and seamless look. Tiled flooring looks fantastic with a sunken tub and adds a sense of luxury to the bathroom.

Accessible Bathtub Alternatives

Walk-in Tub

Older bathroom with a glass enclosed shower and a walk-in bathtub/shower

Often, alternative bathtubs are needed to meet a specific physical need. A bathtub alternative is necessary for those with limited mobility. If physical movement is a challenge, bathtubs can be challenging to safely get in and out of.

A walk-in tub has a door that opens and closes, so you can simply open the door and walk-in. After walking in and shutting the doors, this shower can fill up with water and have a relaxing bath.

A shower used to be the only real viable means of staying clean for those with physical limitations. This type of small bathtub offers an alternative to the shower and can easily replace the standard bathtub in most bathrooms.

Shower Chair

Inside of a shower with brown tile on the walls and small brown and cream tiles on the floor, brown shower curtain, white shower chair

If you cannot replace your shower or bathtub with a safer alternative, you can make the shower in your bathroom safer by using one of the readily available shower chairs. Many people have health conditions that prevent them from taking baths. A shower might be the only option for getting clean.

A shower chair is designed to be placed inside the shower so you can sit down while bathing. A shower chair can also be used in a bathtub for a more secure seat and to prevent slipping and sliding in the water.

Hot Tub

Lady with white towel on her head holding a small espresso cup with espresso relaxing in a jacuzzi tub

If you are searching for an alternative bathtub to upgrade your bathroom, how about your very own jacuzzi? What a luxury it is to have a spa treatment in your own bathroom! A jacuzzi-style bathtub is the ultimate little luxury, and you won’t even need to leave your home to enjoy the spa-like benefits of the massaging jets.

Close up of a jacuzzi bathtub filled with water, water jets on

A whirlpool bathtub, or jacuzzi tub, is similar to a hot tub with underwater jets. Hot tubs are usually more oversized, hold more people, and are typically located outside. A jacuzzi-style tub is perfectly sized for the bathroom and providers the same therapeutic comforts.

Heated jet bathtubs have many benefits for both health and relaxation. The hot water combined with the heated jets work to relieve aches and pains in the muscles and joints while you relax in the warm water.