How built-in baths offer plenty of ways to create a statement design

BathroomsFeatures Wed 11th Aug 2021 by Lisa Hibberd

How built-in baths offer plenty of ways to create a statement design

How built-in baths offer plenty of ways to create a statement design

Feature by Lisa Hibberd | Wed 11th Aug 2021

Lisa has a background in working on consumer titles, and as the former associate editor of Your Home magazine, over 15 years' experience writing about kitchens and bathrooms. She now works as a freelance, contributing to both consumer and B2B platforms. More

While freestanding tubs have been high on the consumer wish list for some time, built-in and back-to-wall designs are starting to enjoy something of a resurgence, with many manufacturers reporting a recent increase in sales. Lisa Hibberd gets the low-down from some key players.

“When people think of luxury bathrooms they quite often envisage a freestanding bath as part of the mix,” says Ben Bryden, sales and marketing director for RAK Ceramics UK. “The built-in bath, however, can be just as luxurious and spa-worthy. There are lots of reasons why the built-in bath is currently so popular, including the practical advantages this option offers. The chances of splashing and spillages are reduced, so it’s ideal when there are small children and even pets to be bathed, and because it fits flush to the wall it’s a great space-saver too. Our bathrooms tend to be getting smaller rather than bigger, so a fitted design offers consumers the opportunity to create a hotel-inspired aesthetic even in a quite compact space.”

The double-ended RAK-Evolution drop-in bath from has a generous capacity of 250 litres and is made from RAK Ceramics’ high quality acrylic

Part of the Space collection from Waters Baths of Ashbourne, the 217-litre Ebb shower bath is designed to fit neatly into a corner and looks stunning teamed with a simple shower screen

Richard Eaton, bathroom product manager for PJH Group, adds: “Such is the technological advancement and innovation in acrylic bath manufacture, that baths can now be crafted into all sorts of shapes, whilst also remaining streamlined, design-led, compact and highly durable. The classic roll-top bath has evolved substantially in recent years into space-saving and practical designs that no longer require a grand bathroom and a central room location.”

The Clevedon corner back-to-wall freestanding bath from Bathrooms to Love by PJH is the perfect hybrid – a classic roll-top with a practical corner design. It comes in two sizes, with either a 220 or 260-litre capacity

Many ‘hybrid’ options such as back-to-wall and corner solutions for the typical space-challenged bathroom are now widely available in the freestanding bath category. These allow consumers to achieve the look of a statement tub but with the practical benefits of a built-in design, explains Bart Sobieszczanski, general manager and senior designer at Ideal Standard. “An elegant built-in bath can be a great compromise in smaller bathrooms, leaving more room for accessories and furniture, and resulting in a more comfortable bathroom. Built-in baths are also much easier to keep clean, as you don’t have to reach behind or underneath them, which can often prove to be tricky and tedious, especially in smaller rooms.”

Ideal Standard’s 163-litre Tesi double-ended Idealform Plus+ bath proves that built-in needn’t mean boring, especially against a backdrop of stunning textured tiles

Consumers who prefer a traditional style need look no further than Burlington’s London 200-litre back-to-wall bath with stunning curved surround, which is available in four finishes

Bette’s generously sized BetteEve bath, shown here fitted into a rectangular surround, has an elliptical shape inspired by nature. Made from durable glazed titanium-steel, it has a capacity of 215 litres, comes with a 30 year warranty and is 100% recyclable

Martin Carroll, MD of Duravit UK, agrees that space is an important issue in many of today’s bathrooms. “In new-builds, refurbishments and conversions, space is often a key consideration, and a built-in bath can be a stylish space-saving option,” he says. “This can then enable the designer to add additional elements such as a double vanity or walk in shower.”

The Luv back-to-wall bathtub, by Danish designer Cecilie Manz for Duravit, combines Nordic minimalism with a timeless elegance. It has a capacity of 252 litres and is also available in a corner version

For the ultimate in relaxation, Roca’s BeCool double-ended bath boasts two headrests and a grip. The water capacity is a generous 285 litres

As well as being a practical solution for smaller spaces, built-in or hybrid bath designs offer plenty of opportunities for customisation. Barrie Cutchie, design director for BC Designs, comments: “Bath panel tiling is exactly what it says on the tin; it is adding tiles to the side of your bath, whether in the same or contrasting style as the rest of your bathroom. The process involves using specialist tile backing board which won't warp and requires a bit more effort than using standard bath panels, but it is often worth the extra effort.” Many bath manufactures now offer specialist bath panel boards which can make the process a lot easier as the panels can take the extra weight of the tiles with minimal fuss. “It doesn’t just have to be tiles either, as there are plenty of other options.” he adds. “Panelling is still a popular trend in interiors, and this too can be used to jazz up a bath panel.”

The possibilities are endless when it comes to adding an element of personalisation to a built-in tub. BC Designs’ 180-litre Lambert double-ended bath from its BC Solid Blue range – shown here in a project by Simply Bathrooms (Surrey) – has been customised with a stunning tile layout

The average bathroom has an area of only around eight square metres. This limited space, combined with awkward angles and alcoves, can present challenges. Adam Teal, head of sales for Kaldewei UK, suggests that designers use this as an opportunity. “Limited space doesn’t have to be a problem – an attic bathroom, for example, can be stunning and the perfect place for a Kaldewei enamelled bath is under the eaves – the ideal bathing area. Alcoves also offer a great opportunity to create more shelf space in the bathroom.”

The Meisterstück Centro Duo 2 bath by Kaldewei offers both elegance and simplicity for those seeking a back-to-wall bath. It holds around 300 litres of water, is made from high-quality enamel, and also benefits from Kaldewei’s exclusive easy-clean finish

Tags: bathrooms, features, built-in baths, back-to-wall baths, rak ceramics

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