The Bath

Both freestanding and built-in designs suit contemporary and classic bathroom schemes.

Built-in baths sometimes come with adjustable ‘legs’, or are designed to sit within a cradle, which can be bought along with the bath Otherwise, you can just build a timber frame for it to sit within.

Frame tips:

  • You can buy cheap acrylic side and end panels to fit around the bath (these aren’t always attractive however)
  • Try covering the frame with painted timber panels, or plasterboarding it to take tiles for a more luxurious look
  • Access should always be considered in case the plumbing needs attention
  • The frame you build can be as deep as you like — the more space you provide around the bath, the more space you have for the toiletries that amass here.

Freestanding baths include the classic roll-top, along with a whole host of new designs — from bateau baths, contemporary slipper-style baths to creations in stone. Freestanding bath makes a great focal point. If you want a freestanding bath but are worried about the practicalities of one with a shower over, many now come designed with one straight end for placing against a wall. Also, remember that freestanding baths sometimes require a wall or floor mounted tap which can be more expensive than deck mounted ones.

Built in bath with tiled surround

The Linear Bath from Frontline Bathrooms, £185

Built-in Baths Pros:

  • They offer lots of storage potential
  • They can be tiled to match the rest of the bathroom
  • They tend to work out cheaper than freestanding baths


  • Less opportunity for ‘wow factor’
Striped boat bath

Acrylic Striped Boat Bath from BC Designs, £2,450

Freestanding Baths

  • They are the ideal way to create a focal point
  • There is a huge choice available, from traditional roll-tops to contemporary stone models
  • They can look more elegant than a built-in bath and can take up less space


  • They tend to lack the storage opportunities that built-in baths offer
  • They are not always practical where a shower over the bath is required

The Basin

Freestanding basins encompass pedestal, semi-pedestal and wall-hung basins. Built-in, however, refers to those basins which sit within a vanity or storage unit. It tends to be freestanding basins which come out cheaper overall, with standard pedestals being amongst the cheapest — although there are some costly designer versions out there. Pedestals make it easy to conceal all the pipework, are simple to fit and come in a huge range of styles. Built-in sinks, such as those moulded into contemporary countertops or period-style basins set into timber or marble units, provide storage around the basin.

Built in sink and vanity unit

Better Bathrooms’ Vigo Right Hand Corner Combination, £499.95

Built-in Basins

  • They offer huge storage opportunities
  • They look sleek and are available in materials such as timber or composites, to compliment the rest of the suite and interior scheme
  • They can be set at whatever height you wish


  • They can take up more space than freestanding
  • They tend to work out slightly more expensive
Freestanding basin against wall in modern apartment

The Rodinia Cameo basin from Pangea Bathrooms, £249

Freestanding Basins

  • Standard designs are cost-effective
  • Easy to conceal unsightly pipework if they feature a pedestal
  • Perfect for traditional-style bathrooms


  • No space is provided for storing bathroom essentials
  • Full pedastals are at a set height which may not suit everyone or every bathroom

The WC

Built-in WCs have their cistern and pipework built-in to a stud wall, or a unit built out from the wall. Wall-hung WCs fall into this category too. Built-in WCs have a sleeker, more contemporary look with just the pan visible, along with what is usually a push button flush mounted on the wall. Freestanding WCs include low-level models and also traditional high-level designs featuring a chain flush. Freestanding WCs are the cheaper option and less time-consuming to install, but can lack the seamless and more modern appeal of built-in. They also create a few more nooks and crannies to clean.

Space saving built in toilet and sink

Ideal Standard‘s Concept Space range

Built-in WCs

  • Ideal for creating clean lines
  • Possibilities for creating storage space


  • Needs to be built-in into a stud wall or unit
  • Can work out as a more expensive option
Aliseo freestanding WC

Aliseo WC from Frontline Bathrooms, £680

Freestanding WCs

  • Generally work out cheaper than built-in
  • Suit traditional-style bathrooms really well


  • More spaces to get lodged with dirt
  • No space for storage

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