As far as bathrooms go, it's safe to say that there are quite a few ways one can make an impact on the design front. Vividly colorful tiles, cheeky shower curtains, and a chic marble vanity are just the start. But for those looking to take things to the next level, a statement-worthy clawfoot bathtub will definitely get you there. The old-school fixture has made quite a comeback as of late — though some may argue that it never really went away in the first place — rendering itself an essential, regardless of what your decorative aesthetic may be.
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As its name would suggest, a hallmark characteristic of this tub style is the "clawfoot" feet. You can count its ability to properly retain heat and a seemingly streamlined design among the lengthy list of pros that come with owning one. However, when it comes to deciding between this type of soaking tub and a standard version, take inventory of your space, needs, and plumbing, especially if you're working with limited square footage. While a clawfoot tub may actually help keep your floors open and airy, thanks to its elevated structure, it might not be the best solution for your bathroom.
Bear in mind that a new tub may be more expensive than a used version (yep, you can snag a true vintage tub!) and certain materials will cost more than others. Cast iron and porcelain tubs are at the top tier when it comes to quality, durability, and price, followed by modernized and more affordable options such as acrylic or fiberglass builds. That said, a clawfoot bathtub's timeless design means that you can comfortably splurge on one without having to worry about it going out of style anytime soon. The fact that it's more or less of an investment is just a bonus. And if you find yourself curious as to how to make it work in your space, allow the dreamy baths ahead to serve as inspiration.
1. Go for both.
These days, walk-in showers are pretty much mainstream and a seamlessly integrated one with a sleek, glass partition is the way to do it. But for those in need of a spot to soak as well, a clawfoot tub can be a truly practical addition. The best part? Its classic design won't feel like an eyesore — this Australian home by architect Melanie Beynon is all the proof you'll need.
Get the look: Barclay Kirkland 67-inch Cast Iron Slipper Tub, $3,479
2. Mix and match styles.
There's something to be said of a modern bathroom that's outfitted with a vintage element and this Austin farmhouse by architecture firm co(X)ist Studio is a model in making it work. The old-school tub invites a cool contrast that results in a fresh and contemporary finish. To complete the scene, they brought in a handful of organic pieces — the pendant hanging above, the rustic stool, and a woven planter — to seamlessly merge the two aesthetics together.
Get the look: Kohler Iron Works Historic Freestanding Oval Bath, $3,578
3. Keep it simple.
An attic bathroom is pretty much an invitation to own a clawfoot bathtub and a great way to make use of low-set, slanted ceilings. Interior designer Leanne Ford's approach to the look entails an effortlessly cool combination of subway tiles, penny mosaic floor tile, and an all-white scheme that invites a serene vibe into the space.
4. Paint the tub.
Don't be afraid to employ a bold splash of color to your bathroom design — and the tub is no exception, especially if you have a vintage one. This saturated scene from Annie Sloan takes the cake with a tonally coordinated palette featuring checkerboard floors and a painted clawfoot tub to match. If yours is currently in need of a remodel, this is just the solution.
Get the look: Rejuvenation 5-foot Clawfoot Tub, $3,129
5. Make it a focal point.
Few decorative elements can capture the eye quite as readily as a freestanding tub positioned at the center of the room and this setup from designer Elizabeth Roberts is a prime example. While the walk-in shower and vintage bathtub combo is statement-worthy in itself, it's the soft, pastel-green hue at the heart of the room that seals the deal.
6. Consider cast iron.
If you're looking for an option that's built to last, go for a cast iron clawfoot tub. Highly durable, easy to clean, and optimal for retaining heat, consider it an investment-worthy alternative to the newer models on the market right now. While this variety can be fairly more expensive than the rest, you will probably find it easy to source a used (and more affordable!) one from vintage resellers.
7. Mind the feet.
The beauty of a clawfoot tub is all in the details and when shopping for one, keep an eye out for the components that'll make yours stand out. There's the "roll-top" (a subtle curved edge) or the "slipper" (when one end is slightly raised, providing back support) tub to choose from. But perhaps the most prominent feature is the imperial-style foot, which gives them an intricately designed leg to stand on.
8. Make it a double.
For those looking to embrace the concept with a design-forward spin, a double-ended clawfoot tub à la this cozy design is the way to go. Characterized by two raised edges, it channels old-world refinement and sophistication. Elevate the look by opting for a copper finish — sure, it'll be more expensive but who can resist the elegance of it?
9. Cover it up.
A freestanding tub doesn't mean you have to skip out on a shower curtain. In fact, if your bathroom is equipped with a shower fixture, then it's pretty much essential. Follow the lead of this inviting setup and look to the palette of your bath to pick out a linear textile that will invite a small dose of stylish privacy without taking away from your clawfoot tub.
10. Squeeze it in.
Sure, an alcove shower would work in a tiny, inset nook but a clawfoot tub would have way more of an impact. Put awkward corners to work by transforming them into a spot you can kick back and soak in. Take note of this industrial scene and build out the area with a slightly raised platform for good measure.