Freestanding Bath vs Inset Bath: Which Should You Choose?


There is nothing more luxurious than soaking in a stylish, comfortable bath to melt away the stress of the day. But when you are designing or renovating your bathroom, the choice of baths available can be overwhelming.

Should you choose a freestanding bath or an inset bath? This will depend on your tastes and the amount of space in your bathroom. It is not a decision to be taken lightly, as your chosen bath will have a huge impact on your bathroom design.

We have put together this handy guide to inset and freestanding bathtubs, to help you make the perfect decision for your bathroom.

What is a freestanding bath?

A freestanding bath, as its name suggests, stands alone in your bathroom. It is not built against a wall, so it is finished on all sides, allowing it to be viewed from every angle.

Because of this, a freestanding bathtub can be a beautiful centrepiece in your bathroom, instantly becoming the focal point of your bathroom design.

With a huge variety of sizes and designs available, you can find a freestanding bath to suit virtually any bathroom décor scheme, whether you are looking for contemporary, clean lines, or a more detailed design to suit a traditional bathroom.

A freestanding bath will add an instant element of luxury to your bathroom, evoking an atmosphere of exclusive holiday destinations for the ultimate relaxing experience.

What is an inset bath?

Freestanding Bath vs Inset Bath - Inset Bath

Many bathrooms in Australia feature an inset bath. This is a highly practical bath design, as it is installed against one or more walls, so it takes up less space in your bathroom than a freestanding bath.

For this reason, inset bathtubs are an excellent choice for smaller bathrooms and renovations, as they fit easily into any bathroom design. Thanks to the range of stylish shower screens available, an inset bath is also ideal for positioning a shower above, allowing you to make the best possible use of the available space.

Safety is also an important consideration in a bathroom, especially if young children or elderly people will use it. An inset bath can be easier to get in and out of than a freestanding bath, especially if you install a handrail on the wall next to the bath for children and the elderly to hold onto as they climb in and out of the bath.

The tiled edges around it also offer a convenient space for your bath products, so everything is within easy reach.

Things to consider

When choosing the right bath for your new bathroom, there’s a few important things you need to consider.

1. Water

Plumbing is an important consideration, especially if you are renovating your existing bathroom rather than designing a new build. Think about the style and location of the tapware you want to use with your bath, and what plumbing work might be needed to accommodate it.

There is also the issue of overspray to deal with if you choose to install a shower above a freestanding bath. Glass shower screens are not generally designed with freestanding baths in mind, so you may need to install a rail and a shower curtain to keep your bathroom dry.

2. Cleaning

An inset bath is a low-maintenance option – only the sides which are not positioned against walls require cleaning, and as they stand directly on the floor, there is no need to clean underneath them, either.

A freestanding bath may mean that you spend more time cleaning, as all sides of the bath need to be kept clean, and there are often spaces underneath and behind the bath where dust and dirt can gather.

If you choose a freestanding bath, make sure to leave plenty of space around it on all sides, so the bath and the area around it can be cleaned as easily as possible.

3. Design

There is no question that a freestanding bath is the ultimate design feature in a bathroom. It looks stylish and luxurious, giving your bathroom an instant “wow” factor, and adding to your home’s general appeal and resale value.

By designing your bathroom creatively, you can also make an inset bath into a stunning focal point. Continuing your tiling up the side of the bath offers a streamlined, spacious look. Alternatively, choose to make a feature of your inset bath by decorating it with contrasting mosaic tiling.

4. Materials

Inset and freestanding baths come in a wide variety of materials, all with their own specific qualities.

  • Acrylic: While it can be expensive, acrylic is lightweight and highly durable, as well as excellent at retaining heat.
  • Steel: Resistant to scratches and dents, steel baths are easy to maintain, and look extremely effective in modern bathrooms.
  • Stone: A stone bath is strong and built to last, and adds a natural warmth to your bathroom design. However, stone baths are extremely heavy, so you may need your bathroom floor reinforced.
  • Solid surface: These engineered composite baths have gel coat surfaces which are resistant to bacteria and won’t stain, so this is a hygienic option that requires minimal maintenance.

Creating the perfect bathroom design to suit your bath

Whether you choose a freestanding bath or an inset bath, it will be the main focal point of your bathroom, so it is important to design the layout of the room around the bath. Consider your lifestyle needs and those of the other people who will be using your bathroom to make the best possible use of the space.

Whichever style you choose, there are many beautiful options available which will help you to create the luxurious bathroom you have always wanted.

Talk to our friendly staff in our designer showrooms across Melbourne for helpful advice on the right bath for you.

And download our free Design Your Dream Bathroom guide and create a bathroom you’ll love!