Choosing a tub for your period home

When it comes to function, it can be said that the most important room in the house, after the kitchen, is the bathroom.

Mayfair freestanding roll top slipper bath,

Unlike the living room and bedroom, for example, the bathroom cannot be entirely focused on décor, as it’s vital that plumbing, heating and general usability are top-notch. This can of course be particularly important in period homes, where it’s not enough to simply recreate the feel of the original – you also have to make room for all mod cons, including your tub!

In fact, depending on the age of your home, it may be that it never even had a bathroom to begin with, and so you find yourself trying to fit something into a room for which it was not originally intended.


Bathrooms were only introduced in the late 1800s and, even then, would only have been in large houses and not in Victorian terraces or older properties, which many period home owners now call their own.

Victorian bathrooms, when first introduced, tended to be fairly plain, with a pedestal sink, and a toilet with high level cistern. In terms of baths, your choices tended to consist of roll top, or panelled models.

The Victorians also favoured encasing exposed piping and fittings in wooden cladding, making the room less utilitarian and giving a more upmarket feel.

If you would like your bathroom to adhere to the Victorian aesthetic, then you will want to choose a bath that tends towards the minimal. A plain white roll top bath with ornate claw feet makes an incredible statement in an otherwise minimalist bathroom and creates an incomparable sense of luxury.

However, that doesn’t mean that you need to forego mod cons altogether. Even the latest Jacuzzi or spa tub can be made to fit your chosen aesthetic with some wooden panelling and, done right, will easily fool the casual observer into thinking that you’ve gone ‘full period-style’ in the smallest room.


If you do want to keep the historical feel in your home, then the simpler the better, but who says the bathroom needs to stick to the rules?

For many people, the juxtaposition of period architecture with contemporary design can be truly stunning. After all, if the Elizabethan builders of your home didn’t have a bathroom, then who’s to say how you should decorate your new addition?

In this case minimalism is still the byword for many modern styles, albeit with the introduction of stainless steel features and mood lighting.

However, perhaps your home lends itself more to cottagecore? Big news in the world of interior design in recent years, cottagecore takes an aesthetic born of country living and uses it to create a rural idyll within your property. Think Darling Buds of May, or a pared down Cath Kidston, and add floral motifs around an oversized bath to create a cosy feel.

Again, these tubs can feature all the jets, lights and even speakers you want without looking out of place, as the ‘gubbins’ tend to be fairly well-hidden.

Outdoor luxury

Of course, your ideal bath might not be situated in the bathroom! Our ancestors certainly didn’t have hot tubs or spas, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t. A well-designed hot tub from a reputable company can blend seamlessly into your garden or patio; you simply have to take care when designing it.

Surrounding your hot tub with stonework could make it look like an 18th century folly, or even a Roman spa! (OK, so your house isn’t that old, but considering the Victorians’ love of Antiquity, it’s still entirely relevant).

Remember that hot tubs aren’t just for entertaining: they can be extremely good for conditions such as arthritis and muscular injuries, as well as myriad other health problems. However, you should speak to your supplier first as some people (pregnant women, for example) should avoid them. You should also be sure to purchase a good maintenance programme from the company you choose, as a poorly maintained hot tub can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

In modern tubs of course, risks are minimal, and the benefits are many. A hot tub in a period home can add value when it comes to sell and be a source of relaxation and luxury until that time.

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