The definitive guide to the best design-conscious bath shapes and cutting edge materials
There are many ways to give a run-of-the-mill inset bath a luxe look. Forget wobbly acrylic panels – encase your bath in sexy tiles, glossy mirror or even coloured glass, which can be illuminated with bathroom-friendly LEDs for added ambience. ‘If your budget’s limited, position an inset bath in the middle of the room and clad it entirely in a beautiful material,’ says Hayley Tarrington, senior designer at CP Hart. ‘This can create a freestanding look for a fraction of the cost.’
Cladding is the eye-catching element of an inset bath, so choose carefully. A classic stone, such as marble, is smart, or why not use a striking wood? ‘Panelling in warm, exotic woods looks great and tones with most bathroom furniture,’ says Gary Dart, managing director at Duravit. ‘Choose from cherry, rosewood, ebony, bleached oak, wenge, ash, olive, American walnut or maple.’
‘Wedi board is a waterproof panelling system that’s perfect for bath cladding – and you can tile directly onto it,’ says Matt Watson, marketing manger at Kaldewei. ‘Mosaics are also a great option as you can make them go around corners.’ Whatever cladding you choose, remember to enable access to the plumbing in case anything springs a leak.
Aside from rectangular baths, there’s a host of shapes – from ovals to hexagons to squares – that might suit your space better. ‘Whatever shape or size you choose, a bath will take up a fair proportion of the room,’ says Mike Wilson, marketing manager at Kohler, ‘so it’s a good idea to go to a retailer who can design a complete space. They may be able to do something clever that will ultimately save you money.’