Above: Manufactured from Kaldewei’s unique steel enamel, the Meisterstück Incava freestanding bath is designed by Anke Salomon and has an enamelled waste cover and overflow integrated into the finish. Easy to clean and ideal for two, prices for this model start from £5,946

There’s nothing quite like a long hot soak after a hard day, so when it comes to choosing a new tub it’s important to think about comfort as well as size and style. According to Jo Crane, senior designer and manager at Ripples, the first step is to consider who is going to be using it and how often. ‘A stunning modern egg-shaped freestanding bath is not going to be the most practical for a family bathroom,’ she says. ‘However, it would be the perfect choice for that statement piece within a master en suite.’ 
Freestanding designs are available in a wide selection of shapes – slipper and roll tops for a classic suite, elliptical, circular and sculptural for a contemporary space, with everything from matt white composite stone for a modern look to hammered copper for a traditional feel. When space is more limited, a built-in bath can be fitted flush, with most companies offering a range of sizes to suit compact areas. 

Below Left: The William Garvey Geo Deep bath is made from teak and specialist marine ply and starts from £3,590. The single version has one removable seat while the double has two. Designed to stand on two teak bearers, which elevate the tub by 10cm, it also has a shaped base for efficient drainage. The bath comes with a matching laminated teak stool
Above Right: William Holland’s Rotundus bath is ideal for a traditional look in a period home or barn conversion. Available in a variety of interior and exterior finishes including Copper, Cuprosa, Patina, Tin, Verdigris, Nickel and Gold Leaf, it’s from around £8,056 

The material is also something to keep in mind, as Jo confirms: ‘Solid surface and stone baths are very sturdy and high quality,’ she says, ‘They are also really heavy and will need additional care when moving into place and support work in your floor to hold the weight – not just of the bath but also of the water and a person or two. More high-end suppliers are creating lighter resin or acrylic baths, which do not have the weight issue, yet look fantastic and are really hardwearing. With built-in, I would opt for steel as it’s more scratch and stain-resistant, so it’s easier to maintain.’ 
For really tight spaces, a shower bath is the ideal combination of comfort and practicality so look for a single-ended design with an L or P shape at one end for the shower with a centrally positioned waste. Whichever style you have your eye on, try before you buy. ‘Even if you love the look of a bath, you will never fully enjoy it if you find it uncomfortable,’ advises James Lentaigne at Drummonds. ‘Some baths are better for reading while others have curved sides to lie back into. Don’t be shy to climb into a bath in a showroom and try it out for comfort.’

Above: Created for back-to-wall installation, the Darling New bath by Duravit is available from C.P. Hart and priced at £887. It comes with a panel in Dark Brushed oak, which costs £1,086.

Article by: Hayley Gilbert