Shower, Bath, & Sink

What You Need to Know About Freestanding vs. Drop-In Bathtubs

Read Time (
August 15, 2023
Kallista Design

When it comes to creating a stylish bathroom, choosing the right luxury bathtub is crucial. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to determine which style is the best fit for your space and personal style. In this article, we take a closer look at two popular options: freestanding vs. drop-in bathtubs.  

Let’s explore the differences between the two, the benefits of each, and how to choose the right one for your needs.

What Is a Freestanding Tub?

Freestanding bathtubs are standalone tubs that can be placed anywhere in your bathroom. They typically have a more sculptural and modern design, and are often made of materials like acrylic, cast iron, or stone. They come in a variety of shapes and sizes, including oval, rectangular, and even circular, giving you more options to fit your personal style.

Benefits of Freestanding Tubs

One of the main benefits of a freestanding bathtub is its versatility. Because they aren’t built into the wall or floor, they can be placed anywhere in your bathroom, giving you more flexibility in your bathroom design. They also provide a focal point and can create a spa-like atmosphere in your bathroom, making them a popular choice for those looking for a luxurious bathing experience.

Script™ Freestanding Bath Faucet

Another benefit of freestanding bathtubs is their ease of installation. Because they don’t require any built-in framing or plumbing, they can be installed more quickly and easily than drop-in bathtubs. This can save you time and money during your bathroom renovation.

What Is a Drop-In Tub?

Drop-in bathtubs, also known as built-in bathtubs, are designed to be installed into a framed enclosure in your bathroom. They are typically made of materials like acrylic or fiberglass and come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Benefits of Built-In Tubs

One of the main benefits of a drop-in bathtub is its seamless integration into your bathroom design. Because it is built into the wall or floor, it creates a more streamlined and cohesive look. It also provides a space-saving solution, as it can be tucked into a corner or built into a larger surround, giving you more floor space in your bathroom.

Perfect Small Rectangular Bathtub

Another benefit of drop-in bathtubs is their customization options. Because they require framing and plumbing, you can choose to add features like jets, lighting, or even a built-in shelf for your bath products.  

Credit: @changoandco Featured Product: One™ Wall-Mount Bath Spout

Drop-in bathtubs also tend to be more practical for those who want to incorporate a shower into their bathtub, as an alcove can be used to house the showerhead. Learn more about tub/shower combos for your space.

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Choosing the Right Bathtub for Your Needs: Freestanding Tub vs. Built-In Bathtub

When it comes to choosing the right tub for your project, here are some important factors to keep in mind.  

Bathroom Size and Layout

Of course, one of the most important considerations is how the tub will fit into your bathroom.  

Statement-Making Freestanding Tubs

Because they don’t require a built-in surround or deck, freestanding bathtubs take up more space than drop-in tubs. This can be a great choice if you have a larger bathroom with plenty of room to spare. However, if you have a small bathroom, a freestanding bathtub may not be the most practical option.

Space-Saving Drop-In Tubs

Drop-in bathtubs can be customized to fit your bathroom, which can be particularly useful if you have a smaller or more unique layout. Because they are built into a surround or deck, they can be more space-efficient than freestanding bathtubs.

Style and Décor

Circe™ Claw Foot Bathtub

The style of your bathtub can have a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your bathroom. Here are a few things to consider when choosing a bathtub style:

  • Freestanding bathtubs are often considered more visually striking than drop-in bathtubs. Because they stand alone and don’t require a built-in surround or deck, they can be a focal point of the room. Freestanding bathtubs come in a wide variety of styles, from classic clawfoot tubs to sleek modern designs. Clawfoot tubs, for example, are a popular choice for those who want a vintage or traditional look in their bathroom.
  • Drop-in bathtubs, on the other hand, are more subtle in their appearance. Because they are built into a surround or deck, they can be customized to match the rest of the bathroom and blend in seamlessly. Drop-in bathtubs also tend to be more practical for those who want to incorporate a shower into their bathtub, as the built-in surround can be used to house the showerhead.
  • Your personal style preferences should also play a role in your bathtub choice. If you prefer a more classic or traditional look, a freestanding clawfoot tub may be the perfect choice. If you prefer a more modern or minimalist look, a drop-in bathtub with clean lines may be more your style.

Ultimately, whether you prefer traditional or modern bathtubs, the design should reflect your personal taste and the overall aesthetic of your bathroom.

Which One Should You Choose?

Choosing between a freestanding and drop-in bathtub ultimately comes down to your personal preferences and the specific needs of your bathroom. Both types of bathtubs have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it's important to weigh these carefully before making a decision.

If you're considering a bathroom remodel or renovation, it may be worth considering replacing an alcove tub with a freestanding bathtub to add a touch of luxury and sophistication to your space.

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