making an alcove tub more than just a tub

I’m a huge design nerd, especially when it comes to bath design - this comes as no surprise to literally zero people who have met me. find me pinteresting bath design on the train, on dates, at the bar; the obsession is real, y’all. but hey, maybe as a kitchen and bath designer that just means that I’ve chosen the right profession.

anyways, I’m here to address a large issue plaguing the world of bath design: alcove tubs.

for those unfamiliar, an alcove tub is a tub surrounded by three walls and generally has an integral apron. these are super common and found in virtually every house. unfortunately, almost no one knows what to do with them in regards to design. most designers seem to throw some standard subway tile up and hide it behind a curtain. unless you have a freestanding or drop-in surrounded by a stone deck, you’re not ~bathing in luxury~, at least so-goes the theory.

this is SO wrong. be it in a master bath or a kids’ bath, alcove baths are a necessary fixture in a house, and make so much sense functionally - they have the slimmest deck, come in the shallowest depths which are great for bathing children, and come in the smallest configurations, making them practical for almost any space. so, why do so many people disregard alcove tubs as design features? we think it’s because they’re so common, and usually plain.

we’ve put together a collection of images that will inspire you to love the alcove, along with a few hints about livening it up a bit!

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pro tip 1: cover the apron

part of what can appear so unsightly or unextraordinary about an alcove is its “standardness.” unfortunately, unlike a freestanding tub or many drop-ins, there isn’t much opportunity for design in the way of the actual fixture. instead, you need to style the bath itself. consider adding an interesting stone or tile facade along the apron of the tub for a bespoke look.

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pro tip 2: use bold fixtures

instead of hiding the tub space, make it pop by using fixtures with unique shapes and contrasting, bold finishes.

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pro tip 3: conceal, don’t reveal!

if you’re set on putting up a shower curtain, hide the rod behind a valance. a visible rod is unsightly and can come off as cheap, whilst an arch or valence turns your curtain into an (easy) custom design feature.

pro tip 4: best. tile. opportunity. ever.

go crazy with tile; you’ve got three walls that need to be tiled, so this is a great opportunity to do some amazing things. these walls aren’t going to be covered by mirrors, sconces, or anything else, so if you’re looking for a splash of color, or want to try out a unique shape, now’s your chance!

pro tip 5: feature it

yup. instead of styling the tub, style around the tub; let it speak for itself. some of the streamlined alcove tubs are beautiful, look modern, and fit perfectly into nooks, adding the perfect “feng” to your shui . take this opportunity to carry minimalism through your entire space, streamlining all your fixtures and creating a zen space. this will also maximize your space’s footprint and functionality.

we know we want to see more alcove tubs in the bath realm as part of a more relatable design fixture, but what about you? do you want to see more stylish alcove tubs, or are you more inspired by other types of fixtures, like freestanding tubs and drop-ins with stone decks?

give us your thoughts in the comments!

x - mk