10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub

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By Melissa Dalton / Published by Dwell
We've come a long way since the clawfoot.

Nothing inspires relaxation quite like a dreamy bathtub setup. We look at 10 different ways designers and homeowners have given the tub the modern treatment.


1. Bring On the Drama 

A black bathtub composed of recycled plastic combined with all-over black tile makes for a striking setting to suds up.  

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 1 of 10 - Black tiles and fittings lend the bathroom a dramatic look. The black bathtub is made of recycled plastic.

Black tiles and fittings lend the bathroom a dramatic look. The black bathtub is made of recycled plastic.

2. Tuck it Away

In this custom Harrington, Quebec, home, architect Eric Tremblay of Boom Town inserted a petite tub into the shower to maximize the footprint. 

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 2 of 10 - An Emily quartz bathtub by Caml-Tomlin is surrounded by Ceragres’ fade and frammenti tile.

An Emily quartz bathtub by Caml-Tomlin is surrounded by Ceragres’ fade and frammenti tile.

3. Borrow From Tradition 

A custom cedar tub invokes the art and craft of classic Japanese soaking tubs.  

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 3 of 10 - The custom cedar tub, fabricated by Dovetail, elegantly fits into the master bathroom.

The custom cedar tub, fabricated by Dovetail, elegantly fits into the master bathroom.

4. Set it Apart 

If your tub has a unique shape, what better way to highlight that than creating a backdrop of complementary materials? In this Greek home, concrete walls, wood decking, and white rocks set off the tub. 

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 4 of 10 - A UFO bathtub by Benedini Associati for Agape lends an alien touch to one of the master bathrooms.

A UFO bathtub by Benedini Associati for Agape lends an alien touch to one of the master bathrooms.

5. Strike a Balance 

A Duravit bathtub balances out an abundance of teak in the built-in cabinetry and floor.  

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 5 of 10 - The leftmost cabinet above the Duravit bathtub (equipped with KWC fixtures) occupies the space where a doorway once lead into the living room, creating unnecessary traffic from the home’s public spaces through to the master bedroom. The new bathroom features a minimal palette of white and teak. "It’s able to hold up on boat decks so is good for a bathroom," Klug says. It also makes the heated floor that much nicer to walk on in the morning.

The leftmost cabinet above the Duravit bathtub (equipped with KWC fixtures) occupies the space where a doorway once lead into the living room, creating unnecessary traffic from the home’s public spaces through to the master bedroom. The new bathroom features a minimal palette of white and teak. "It’s able to hold up on boat decks so is good for a bathroom," Klug says. It also makes the heated floor that much nicer to walk on in the morning.

6. Blend it In 

For this principal bathroom in an Australian vacation home, architect Annick Houle clad the tub to let it mesh with the tallowwood wall paneling. 

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 6 of 10 - Houle designed the ofuro tub in the master bath to mesh with the home’s tallowwood wall paneling. The Ikea sink is outfitted with Vola faucets.

Houle designed the ofuro tub in the master bath to mesh with the home’s tallowwood wall paneling. The Ikea sink is outfitted with Vola faucets.

7. Update Vintage 

A 1950s tub found in a basement looks modern when paired with updated tile. 

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 7 of 10 - For the bathroom, Reckendorfer wanted a shower for daily use, but opted to keep a 1950s bathtub that she discovered in her basement. "I studied graphic design and photography, so visual things are so important to me," she says. "I love sleek, light-filled Scandinavian designs, but I also love flea markets and pieces with history."

For the bathroom, Reckendorfer wanted a shower for daily use, but opted to keep a 1950s bathtub that she discovered in her basement. "I studied graphic design and photography, so visual things are so important to me," she says. "I love sleek, light-filled Scandinavian designs, but I also love flea markets and pieces with history."

8. Surround it 

A common tub layout is modernized with a grid-like tile application.   

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 8 of 10 - "I put everything that I've always loved into this house," says Tyler—and that includes white tiles edged with gray grout in the bathroom, a design move previous clients had balked at.

"I put everything that I've always loved into this house," says Tyler—and that includes white tiles edged with gray grout in the bathroom, a design move previous clients had balked at.

9. Highlight the Shape 

Brightly colored flooring and paneling show off this shapely tub. 

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 9 of 10 - A Lisbon freestanding tub and "a church chair from a junk shop" complete the children’s bathroom.

A Lisbon freestanding tub and "a church chair from a junk shop" complete the children’s bathroom.

10. Try an Unexpected Material 

Wood construction, as opposed to models coated in acrylic or porcelain, surprises with its contrast in the room. 

10 Ideas For Designing With a Modern Bathtub - Photo 10 of 10 - Sævik designed the wood tub in the bathroom, which features an adjacent sauna. The Inxx A5 faucet is by Mora.

Sævik designed the wood tub in the bathroom, which features an adjacent sauna. The Inxx A5 faucet is by Mora.