Anyone who’s ever set out to do a bathroom design in a standard-sized home has come across the dilemma: bathtub or shower?
And almost every household I come across chooses a mix: a bathtub with a shower above it. Add a glass screen or a shower curtain and you’ve got yourself a shower cabin. Well… sort of.
I know. I’ve had one of those for as long as I can remember and it’s not exactly the same as a proper shower cabin.
Once, when creating a bathroom design for a small apartment – my home at the time – we even considered putting in both: a full shower cabin and a bathtub. Both really small, but separate. Then, reality strikes and you realise that there is no other place in which to put the washing machine. Our plans of squeezing in a small shower and a small tub had to be replaced by the shower-tub combo I described above.
And there was nothing wrong with this solution per se, but this mix of bathtub and shower has been around for so long that I’ve started thinking: “there must be a better way”.
That’s why I gave it some thought, researched new ideas and would like to share with you my ideas. I came to one rather radical conclusion and found two great – but lesser-known solutions – for bigger and smaller bathrooms.
THE RADICAL IDEA:
The Bathtub might just be your unnecessary clutter.
If your mind just went spinning and your heart sped up in disbelief just at the mention of the idea, you might be one of the bathtub-lovers who dive into the tub almost every day, in which case: this isn’t for you.
But… if this idea made you curious, then I’ve got a question for you (and be honest, there are no wrong answers): “When was the last time you took a bath?” I mean an actual, soak-your-feet-till-they’re-wrinkled kind of bath?
If your response was somewhere between “long time ago, actually” and “I don’t remember”, then listen up.
From time to time we all hold on to things and thoughts that we don’t really enjoy.
It’s very natural, especially if you live in the modern western culture. We grow up being told to “save for the rainy day” and keep things “just in case”. Homes everywhere around the world have this magical spot where we store things that we don’t need, but we keep them anyway. It could be a garage, an attic, a shed, or sometimes even a deep corner of a cupboard, somewhere high up where it’s out of every-day reach.
All those things that we keep and then watch as they gather dust are clutter. It’s clutter that we hold on to out of fear. Because “what if… I get rid of it and then I need it?” I’ve heard it many times.
And the same way we think about old clothes, unread books that have been standing on our shelves for a decade, or even food that we once thought we’d make, but now it’s at the back of the cupboard and way past its expiration date… a lot of us apply that same way of thinking to our bathroom design choice of shower vs. bathtub.
We choose a bathtub with a shower curtain, even though we’d use a bath only once in a blue moon. To relax. And while making our choice we feel completely justified, even though we’re going to be inconvenienced four times a day, getting in and out of the bathtub, to shower twice a day. That’s 730 times a year of inconveniently getting into the tub and another 730 moments of having to get out with a slight risk of sliding or even falling on the slippery tub’s surface.
That’s a total of 1,460 times of getting in and out of the tub in order to take a shower. You’re doing it every day without thinking, because it’s something you’re used to. And just because you’re used to it.
Because now that we’ve done the maths: Does the one relaxing bath a year still outweigh the 1,460 times of unnecessary inconvenience?
Oh and why did we want to take that bath anyway? To relax, right? Somehow in our choice of shower vs. bathtub we end up forgetting that there are about a million other ways of relaxing. Including a visit to a local spa or a swimming pool for a… ahem… jacuzzi bath.
And it’s not that I’m somehow particularly prejudiced against baths.
But this article actually pretends to be only about bathtubs vs. showers, while really, I’d like to challenge you to think about your choices. Do you make them because you want to make them? Or do you choose based on the fear that you’ll miss out if you don’t go for the most popular choice?
Following this radical “ditch the bathtub” idea, you could easily support this new claim that if you’re not a fan of regular baths, you could simply install a proper shower cabin and instead enjoy the benefits of:
– having an easy in-and-out 1,460 times a year, without any awkward-slippery-moments,
– installing a rain shower head (trust me, they are amazing),
– having a power-shower,
– installing underfloor heating in your shower area,
– and probably a few more that I can’t think of right now. :)
If you have kids and are now hearing your inner voice tell you “maybe I don’t need a bathtub, but what about my little ones”, then check out these foldable tubs that you can set up inside your shower (and if you’ve got a garden, it can double as a swimming pool during the summer, which I think is pretty cool).
Ask yourself: how do you use it. When was the last time you had a bath? Follow your actual lifestyle and what feels good and comfortable for you. You could also ask yourself: does it bring you joy to stand under a stream of hot water and wash off the energy of a given day, past conversations and thoughts? Or does it bring you joy to lie down in a hot bath, and let all the thoughts wander, while you relax? I’m pretty sure you know the answer already.
If in the end you decide to keep both (and that’s perfectly fine, btw, as long as this is what you and your family want, not what you settle for), then I promised you two solutions – one for smaller and one for bigger bathrooms.
Let’s start with those who have more space. If you’ve got enough space for a shower cabin and a bathtub (lucky you! :)), then consider creating a wet room. It’s a space inside your bathroom, like a bigger shower cabin, where you put in the bathtub too. It’s like dividing your bathroom into a splash zone and splash-free zone. See an example below:
If you do not want to get rid of the bathtub altogether, but don’t have space for both, I would recommend a different way of covering the tub to create a shower space, without referring to shower curtains or foldable shower screens.
Personally, I really like this idea below, because it works like a wet room for smaller bathrooms:
Another idea would be to install a drain in the floor next to a bathtub and have a free standing bath with a shower above it (without any kind of protective screens or curtains). This would convert your entire bathroom into a wet room.
Finally, one more word for those who do have a bathtub already, but only ever use it as somewhere to stand while you shower:
for the love of all things chocolatey, take a bath… today!
If taking a bath is your thing, then just get in the tub and relax. You really don’t have to do anything to “deserve” this luxury. :)
Now I’d love to hear from you. Would you get rid of (or have you already gotten rid of) your bathtub? Or maybe quite to the contrary, you’d like to keep a tub only? Leave a comment below and let me know where you stand.
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Have a great weekend,