Freestanding tubs taking center stage in the bathroom

Kohler?s Stargaze tub has a square shape that

Kohler?s Stargaze tub has a square shape that works in both contemporary and transitional homes. Photo Credit: Kohler

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Interest in creating the perfect bathroom retreat shows no sign of waning. And one item has become the stand-alone star of many a makeover: the freestanding bathtub.

FOCAL POINT

Designers always talk about focal points, and for good reason. They create interest in a room. Manufacturers have taken notice of the new interest; tubs available now with lots of aesthetic appeal.

For maximum style impact, a freestanding tub can be tucked into a corner, placed against a wall or anchored under a window for a soak with a view. Unless your home has a slab foundation, placing the tub should be an easy job for a plumber.

From traditional claw-foot models to Japanese-style soaking tubs, there's something to fit many decors. Tubs come in a wide range of shapes, including square and oval. Kohler's Stargaze tub has a rectangular shape that works in both contemporary and transitional homes (about $2,220 at online retailers).

If you really want to break the style mold, try a round tub. The Istanbul or Hampton models from Barclay Products will set your bathroom apart (barclayproducts.com).

HEALTHFUL SOAK

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More than good-looking, freestanding tubs are often the go-to choice for therapeutic benefits. Even if your motivation isn't health-related, having a tub you can fully immerse yourself in is a luxurious plus.

The Japanese have long known the value of a good soak, and favor deep, compact tubs to fully experience the pleasure of bathing. Of course, there's extra cost to these tubs because they're completely finished and not just one-sided like traditional drop-in models.

THE PRICE OF STYLE

The more unique your freestanding tub, the more this will be reflected in the price. Round tubs can run upward of $5,000, depending on the material. You can expect a starting price of $1,000 for a simple freestanding bathtub made of fiberglass like the Terra model (homedepot.com), and costs can run up to $19,000 for the Roma natural stone bathtub (wayfair.com).

A good midrange estimate for a cast-iron tub like the Langley double slipper tub is around $2,000 (signature hardware.com). A Victoria and Albert limestone-resin mix that insulates well and feels warm to the touch -- and is stylish, to boot -- will set you back $3,000 to $4,000, depending on the style you choose (qualitybath.com).

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