90. Bathtub Selection - Types

There are various types of bathtub formats as outlined by our team of contemporary residential designers in the Northern Beaches. These include island, freestanding, inset, back-to-wall and corner – all outlined below. The descriptions are brief since the information is not for specification purposes, only for general reference. This is because the format of the bathtub has most likely been decided according to what fits with the architectural floor plans.

E.g. A design has just been finalised for a new bathroom. In this bathroom any freestanding or back-to-wall baths will be inappropriate because an abutting shower and vanity make cleaning behind impossible. The bathroom is narrow and does not allow the additional width of an island surround or a corner bath. In this scenario, an inset bath would be the best and only solution.

Therefore, the focus is on the selection of the bathtub material. 

Inset Baths

Inset baths drop into a plinth that is usually tiled. They have a rounded tile bead along the outer edges so that they can be pushed hard up against the walls and the tiles can meet the bath cleanly. They can be bordered by walls on 1, 2 or 3 sides.

Freestanding Baths

These baths are chosen as a feature to a bathroom. To be aesthetically effective they need to have plenty of space around the perimeter. Unlike inset baths which sit in a frame, the freestanding is a complete unit that sits on the floor.

Island Baths

Very similar to inset baths, but they do not have the tile bead around the edge. This is because they are deigned to sit away from the wall with the top of the plinth bordering all 4 edges of the tub. In this way they look like islands.


Similar to a freestanding tub but designed for one long edge to abut the wall. They are one complete freestanding unit, not housed with a plinth or frame. To be aesthetically effective there should be considerable spaces around all 3 other sides.


Corner baths often have a spa feature given their oversized nature and ability to fit more than one person. They do have  a dated feel and only compatible with large bathrooms given their size. They are often deeper than standard baths, therefore good for tall people.

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