Alcove Bathtubs: What to Know for Beginners

For first-time homeowners looking to renovate their bathrooms, choosing the perfect alcove bathtub can be an exciting yet daunting task. With so many sizes, shapes, materials, and features to consider, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed with options. However, alcove tubs are a great choice for small or awkwardly shaped bathrooms, as they tuck neatly into an inset in the wall and maximize space. It’s the most standard bathtub found in most standard bathroom designs.

In this blog post, I’ll walk through my top alcove bathtub recommendations for beginners, focusing on simple and budget-friendly styles that don’t sacrifice comfort or functionality. I’ll share tips on choosing the right tub size, material, and features based on your needs. You’ll also learn my go-to advice for installing and styling your new alcove tub.

By the end of this post, you’ll feel equipped to shop for and design the alcove bathtub of your dreams – and have the elegant, spa-like bathroom you’ve always wanted. So relax and soak up these alcove tub ideas for beginners!

What is an Alcove Bathtub?

An alcove bathtub is a type of bathtub that is designed to fit into a small recessed area or nook in the bathroom. Here are some key features of alcove tubs:

  • Compact size – Alcove tubs are narrower and shorter than regular tubs, usually 60 inches or less in length. This allows them to fit into tight spaces and small bathrooms.
  • Three-walled design – The back and two sides of an alcove tub are meant to fit flush against walls in a bathroom. One side remains open for entry/exit.
  • Built-in look – When installed into an alcove or nook, an alcove tub looks like a seamless part of the bathroom rather than a standalone fixture.
  • Range of styles – Alcove tubs come in different materials like acrylic, fiberglass, porcelain, etc. They also vary in shapes like rectangular, oval, corner, etc.
  • Specialized installation – Alcove tubs require careful measurement and custom fitting into the alcove space. Surrounding walls may need reinforcement too.
  • Efficient use of space – By utilizing the unused space between walls, alcove tubs maximize bathing capacity without taking up floor space.

The key benefit of an alcove tub is that it allows you to add a stylish soaking tub even in the smallest bathrooms where a regular tub won’t fit.

White marble bathroom with light brown vanity
My Domaine / Design by Amy Sklar

How to Make an Alcove Bathtub Look Good

First, choose an alcove tub in a sleek, modern style that matches your bathroom style and aesthetic. Clean lines and simple designs work best for small alcoves. Stick to classic white or neutral colors for the tub to keep the look minimalist and bright. Next, decorate the walls around the tub to accentuate it as a focal point.

Add drama with bold tile, stylish sconces, or shelving. You can also hang art or mirrors above the back rim of the tub to visually open up the space. Finally, pay attention to tub details like brushed nickel or gold fixtures for a touch of elegance. Consider accessories like a freestanding tub filler or accent tiles on the tub floor. With strategic decor that highlights your alcove soaking tub, you can create a spa-like oasis even in a tiny bathroom.

Alcove Bathtub Alternatives

There are several alcove bathtub alternatives – if you prefer a classic clawfoot tub, minimalist modern soaking tub, freestanding tub, or something in between, you’ll find plenty of other options for your preferred bathroom aesthetic.

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