Even if you prefer a shower to a bath, not having a bath in at least the main bathroom of the house could negatively affect its resale potential, particularly putting off buyers with children. A bath also adds a certain relaxing ambience and spa-like experience to the bathroom.

Of course not everyone has a huge bathroom and, when it comes to choosing either a shower or a bath, on a practical level showers make more sense for most of us leading busy lives. But there is good news — choose wisely and you can have both. Designers have wised up to the fact that not all of us have space for huge, freestanding baths and have come up with models to suit even the smallest of rooms.

Baths For Small Spaces

The average size of a bathroom in the UK is around 8ft x 6ft (roughly 2,438mm x 1,829mm, or 4.4m2). Now consider that the average bath size is 1,700mm x 700mm (1.19m2, or just over 25% of the total) and it is clear that space can be tight.

Of course, manufacturers realise that not everyone has the space for a standard-sized bath and there are many other sizes now available. But the concern for many is that sticking in a tiny bath may be a waste of time if it is not big enough to stretch out in. There really is no need to worry though — designers have thought of everything.

Baths that are shorter than average are available and often make up in depth what they lack in length — from those that are sunken into raised platforms Japanese-style, to the good-old roll-top (just stubbier and a little higher than usual).

Then there are those that utiltise the more space-friendly square shape instead and, whilst circular baths may not sound space-efficient, when built-into a square frame and fitted into one corner of the room they actually make perfect sense.

Corner baths are another way round the problem and have shaken off their 1970s image, with sleek products available today.

Baths For ‘Difficult’ Rooms

It is not just small rooms that can struggle to take a standard-sized rectangular bath. Sloping ceilings, cut-outs above staircases, low window openings just where you are putting the bath, airing cupboards that take away a corner of the room — all need some thought and attention when it comes to the design of bath you choose.

Asymmetrical baths, which are narrower at one end than the other, are often the ideal solution in rooms with cut-outs or limited space, working on the basis that your feet need less space than your upper body.

If the height of the bath is an issue (for example, if you want the bath to sit under an existing low window frame or have a heavily sloping ceiling), then low-level baths are available, but it’s more the height of the frame you sit it in and any bath panels that you use with it that will determine how high the bath comes up from the floor.

Bathtub Solutions for Larger Spaces

Whilst you may not think a big bathroom would present too many problems, actually finding a bath that doesn’t look strange in the centre of the room, or gets lost in a corner, can be tricky.

If you are planning on placing a bath in the centre of a large bathroom then choose one that makes a statement, rather than any old standard bath. Freestanding roll-tops, circular baths, egg-shaped stone creations, polished metal bateau baths or sunken baths on raised decks are all great options.

If you want to place the bath against a wall, building a partial stud wall at one end to separate the bathing area from the rest of the room works well, as does locating it on the opposite wall to the other items of sanitaryware.

Shower Baths

It can be difficult to justify giving space to both a bath and a separate shower cubicle in some bathrooms, and in this case a shower over the bath works really well. This is a far better option than doing everything you can to squeeze a shower cubicle in only to be left with a glass box that is difficult to turn around in and leaves you with bruised elbows after every shower.

If you are planning on locating the shower over your bath you will need to choose your bath wisely as not all are suitable for this purpose. The bath must have a flat bottom, as those with rounded bases not only provide less standing space but also pose the risk of slipping whilst showering.

Showerbaths are designed specifically for use with a shower over. They are shaped at one end to provide more space for showering and have flat bases — there are also glass shower screens moulded to fit these types of bath.

Baths with Storage Space

Bathroom storage is vital if clutter is not going to take over, especially in small spaces. Baths with built-in shelves and drawers can really help here, as can those with sneaky removable panels that reveal space for keeping cleaning products and toiletries.

All prices correct at time of going to press in April 2013

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