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What to do if a conventional bathtub won’t fit into your small bathroom
If you are remodeling a very small bathroom that isn’t big enough to fit a full sized bath or if you want to add a shower cubicle to your already cramped bathroom then there are a few options that you might want to consider.
Shower above the bathtub
If you have room for a full sized bathtub then the option that many people take is to put a shower over the bathtub. While this is an easy option I don’t personally like it very much because it’s difficult to make it look good and it always feels like a compromise that I didn’t want to make.
Showers are for washing efficiently but bathtubs are for soaking and relaxing
After my small bathroom remodel I now have a shower cubicle as well as a bathtub, which I think is the ideal situation. Now that I have both I’ve been surprised to find that I use the shower far more often than I use the bathtub. Why is this? Well it’s because a shower is far more efficient than bathing. I can shower in 5 minutes but when I take a bath I like to make it last for an hour or more. So for me the shower is for washing and the bathtub is for relaxing.
Trade the length of your bathtub for depth
Your bathtub is for soaking and relaxing in and for that you need to be immersed in water and you need to be comfortable. It’s no good installing a short, shallow bathtub just to make it fit into your little bathroom because it won’t be any good for soaking in and it won’t be comfortable either.
A better idea is to trade length of your tub for depth. This simple concept makes it possible to fit a bathtub that requires a modest floor area but still allows you to immerse yourself in water and relax.
The Japanese have a long tradition of using bathtubs for soaking and relaxation. They also often have to manage in very small accommodations so you can get a lot of ideas from looking at the way they live. The most interesting soaking tub that I’ve come across was nothing more than a wooden barrel with a stool fixed to the bottom. Yes it was crude but it worked. It fitted into a tiny little bathroom, it immersed you in water and it was very relaxing.
Walk in bathtubs
A sophisticated version of the wooden barrel bathtub is the modern walk-in bathtub. The principles are the same but they have built in seats and a door to allow easy access. A walk-in bathtub takes up much less space than a conventional bathtub but still allows you to take a very relaxing bath.
The walk-in bathtub door can be a two edged sword however. It allows easy access on the one hand, which is great if you have difficulty stepping up into the bath. The problem is that the door has a potential to leak at some point and require maintenance. Also you can’t use the door unless the bathtub is empty of water, which means that you have to be inside when filling and emptying with water.
Short and deep bathtubs for very small bathrooms
So if you are remodeling a small bathroom remember that you can choose a shorter bathtub but make sure that it’s deep enough to give you a long relaxing soak.