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Sunken Baths for Every Space (Even Small Ones)

The ultimate in bathroom luxe? If you covet a tub into which you simply step, feast your eyes on these bathing beauties

Houzz Contributor. I’m a freelance journalist and editor writing for nationals, magazines… More

The act of stepping down into a bath of warm water for a long, relaxing soak rather than climbing over a high side has incredible appeal. If a spa-style sunken tub has your name on it, then models set into the floor, semi-sunken designs, and those that create the look with steps are all possibilities with which to indulge yourself. Take a look at these examples.

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Get in the zone
A change of levels is an effective way to zone a bathroom. Here, steps lead up to a shower on one side and a sunken bath on the other, separating the bathing area from the basins and concealed toilet beyond the wall. A raised edge makes the bath distinct without compromising the luxury look.

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Lower a little
In this calming, contemporary bathroom, the tub is partially sunken, leaving it slightly higher than the floor area. This strategy is worth copying to create the sunken bath aesthetic without fretting about household members stepping into it by mistake.

To get the look of this calming space, stick to a limited palette of materials and colours, and choose large-format floor tiles with a rectified (uniform) edge that leave minimal grout lines on show.

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Go in deep
This room features a Japanese version of the sunken bath. Called an ofuro, it’s deep and square in shape, so the experience is different from that of lying full-length in a bath. It’s an option that works well in a narrow room like this one, in which a long tub wouldn’t fit. A window that reaches the floor means the occupant can admire the view rather than a wall while unwinding in the soothing water.

If you aren’t blessed with such a huge window, consider raising the bath’s level to window height and adding steps. Alternatively, position it opposite a window and hang a mirror next to the bath to reflect the view.

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Shape up
Sunken baths don’t need to be conventionally configured. In this room, an L-shaped design doubles as a low-level shower as well as a deep bathing area. Finished in the same blue mosaic tiles as the wall behind the basin, it’s an injection of refreshing colour in the neutral room.

Once again, a full-length window means it’s a tub with a view. Opting for minimal, deck-mounted bath taps ensures brassware doesn’t block the vista.

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Take a step up
Fitting steps creates a sunken bath experience without actually having to sink the tub into the floor. Here, there’s a reasonably generous space in which to fit the tub, but in a smaller room, the surround could easily be reduced, leaving just a narrow ledge on one or two sides.

It could be a good option for a bathroom with a bay window or a way to make more of a bathing space in a corner.

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Put it on a plinth
In this bathroom, a raised area houses the tub, the top of which has been left on show, creating a pleasing contrast of materials between bath and platform.

Rather than building in a step or steps to access the tub, the owners have gone for a coordinating stool, which is a neat, space-saving option. Note how the countertop basins mirror the look, pulling the scheme together.

A plus point for the time-starved: a set-up like this one can make bath cleaning easier, because the surface you’re wiping is higher.

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Feel the (hidden) benefit
A sunken bath was a clever way to save space in this floating shipping container home. The shower floor’s pebble-covered mesh slides away from the back wall to reveal the tub beneath, which is made from stainless steel. As well as conjuring more from less, the two-in-one design means only one drainage system is necessary for shower and bath.

Take a tour of the rest of this converted shipping container

You can also see the bath in action in the episode of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces that tours Max McMurdo’s floating home

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Start from scratch
This home is a modern replacement for the previous house on the site, and features a super-sized sunken bath with steps down that make the experience akin to getting into a swimming pool.

A sunken bath is far easier to incorporate into a new-build than an existing property, as the depth required and the necessary support can simply be built into the design.

However, whether retro-fitting a sunken bath or including one in a new home, ensure you incorporate access to the pipework, so any possible future issues can be remedied easily.

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Fit more in
This en suite features a sunken bath/shower combo that creates fabulous bathing choices without being space-hungry. It’s teamed with a waterfall bath tap that makes even filling the tub an event.

This design allows the shower screen to be a partial barrier between the floor and the bath, while the bath lip also marks the edge of the lower surface to keep things safe in a small room. In a larger room, positioning a sunken bath so it’s away from the circulation areas is a good idea.

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Carry on tiling
Continuous tiling works as well for a sunken bath as it does for swimming pool design. Here, the grey-toned mosaics add texture to the surround as well as the bath, and create a feature area on the wall and display shelf.

Recreating this look? Consider a different floor finish for the rest of the room to visually separate the bathing area.

Is a sunken bath your ultimate bathroom luxury? Have you fitted one? Share your thoughts and photos in the Comments section.
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