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Small Spaces: Saving space with back to wall baths

Small Spaces: Saving space with back to wall baths

Posted by Adam Chard in Inspiration | 1 week ago 7 min read

Is your bathroom a little on the small side? Find out how you can still enjoy all the elegance and luxury you deserve, with a space-saving back to wall bath.

Having worked in the bathroom industry for over a decade, some of the best feedback I’ve ever received has been from friends and family (who never fail to be uncompromisingly honest!). Many years ago, one such comment, from an old school friend, got me thinking:

“Why do you bother selling freestanding baths? We don’t all live in mansions, you know!”

Whilst this blunt remark took me a little by surprise, I could fully appreciate the sentiment. How can a UK homeowner enjoy all the lavish luxury of a traditional roll top bath or designer freestanding tub when their bathroom may be a bit on the small side?

In this article, we’ll demonstrate just how this can be achieved with back to wall baths. To jump to a relevant section, simply click on any on the links below:

The Bath Co. Dalston province blue back to wall freestanding bath with brushed brass ball and claw feet

Why should freestanding baths be the sole preserve of those with big bathrooms?

How big is the average British bathroom?

So, just how big is the average British bathroom? Well, without going around all of the c. 28 million households, we reckon the average UK bathroom to be somewhere around 2.4m x 2.7m. However, this figure is gradually decreasing in size and, whilst you may not notice it, British bathrooms are getting smaller. But why is this?

Well, the simple answer is that the average British home is getting smaller, meaning vital inches are being shaved off the bathroom too.

As highlighted by LABC Warranty, the post-war era witnessed a significant boom in housebuilding. The UK population enjoyed progressively larger homes with notably improved amenities compared to earlier decades. This upward trajectory in home sizes persisted throughout the 1960s and 1970s. However, the landscape shifted in the 1980s as increased regulations emphasised the importance of quality over sheer quantity, and home size finally reached its peak. Subsequently, there was a noticeable decline in the average house size, a trend that has persisted to the present day.

Mode Cooper back to wall freestanding bath 1700 x 800

At just 1700mm x 800mm, the Cooper back to wall bath from Mode Bathrooms can fit into the footprint of most average-sized bathrooms

So, why have bathrooms settled around this average size? Well, to answer that, we need to look at the main fixture that gave the bathroom its name.

A standard bath size

Something which many people wish to know is whether there is a standard bath size. And, the answer (in the UK, at least) is yes.

Prior to the adoption of the metric system, it is widely acknowledged that the standard bath length was 5 feet 6 inches. Today, this equates to a bath size of 1700mm in length by 700mm in width. And, this is the most common bath size available on the UK market at the present time.

You can read our in-depth article, for more information about standard bath sizes

Mode Carter back to wall square bath with wall mounted bath tap 1700 x 740

Measuring just 1700mm x 740mm, the Carter back to wall bath from Mode Bathrooms is only 40mm wider than the standard UK bath size

So, as this bath size became standard, bathrooms were designed around these specific measurements. But what about our old friend, the freestanding bath?

The rise, fall and rise of freestanding baths

If we take a look through the history of baths, you may be surprised to discover they were the sole preserve of the wealthy elite until relatively recently. Many families had to make do with a weekly wash in a tin bath. Often placed in the kitchen, the father of the family would usually go first, enjoying the hottest, cleanest water, followed by mother and children in age order. If you were the youngest child, you’d likely end up bathing in tepid, murky water! A character-building experience, no doubt!

For those who could afford them, and had the space available, ornate freestanding baths were the order of the day. Designed with roll top rims for easier access, and initially filled with jugs of hot water from the stove, improvements in the Victorian plumbing system meant that some Victorian homes could finally take advantage of piped water. And this became more widespread as homes entered the Edwardian era.

The Bath Co. Dalston grey back to wall freestanding bath with chrome ball and claw feet

Whatever type of home you have, make the most of any small space with the Dalston back to wall freestanding bath from The Bath Co.

It wasn’t until the post war building boom of the 1950s and 60s, that all homes were built with bathrooms as standard. By this time, it was much easier (and cheaper!) to fit these bathrooms with a standard-sized straight bath. And, so, the freestanding bath fell out of fashion for quite some while.

By the turn of the 21st century, manufacturing techniques had advanced, meaning different types of bath could be designed and created at a lower price. With changing consumer tastes and a renewed focus on the bathroom as a relaxing retreat, the freestanding bath was back on the menu as far as homeowners were concerned.

However, with bathrooms now smaller than ever, how could bathroom retailers satisfy this demand when most conventional freestanding baths wouldn’t fit?

Back to wall baths: A space-saving solution

For those who want to experience all the lavish luxury and sheer opulence of a freestanding bath, but simply don’t have the space to spare, we’ve come up with the perfect solution: The back to wall bath.

Featuring all the design elements you’d expect from a freestanding tub, these fabulous baths are designed to fit neatly alongside a wall or even in the corner of your bathroom, just like a conventional straight bath. Plus, with dimensions that are as close as possible to a standard-sized bath, you can enjoy long, relaxing soaks in refined surroundings.

If you’re a fan of timeless, traditional style, you’ll simply adore the Dalston range of back to wall freestanding baths from The Bath Co. With ornate ball and claw feet in your choice of finishes, plus a selection of exterior colours, you can create the perfect vintage retreat, even in a small bathroom.

The Bath Co. Dalston back to wall freestanding bath with matt black ball and claw feet

The Dalston back to wall freestanding bath from The Bath Co. is available in white, grey or blue with chrome, matt black, brushed brass or antique bronze feet

For those who prefer a more contemporary look, the Adler back to wall freestanding bath from Mode Bathrooms is the perfect choice. With a simple, sleek design, including gently sloping sides, soft curved edges and a handy shelf for toiletries, this tub is made from high quality acrylic, meaning exceptional resistance to stains and scratches, plus easy cleaning.

Mode Adler back to wall bath 1700 x 785

For a small bathroom that covers all the latest trends, choose the Adler back to wall bath from Mode Bathrooms

What about those of us who need a multi-functional shower bath? We’ve thought about that too…

Introducing the opulent Dulwich traditional freestanding shower bath from Orchard Bathrooms. Complete with chrome feet and roll top design, this timeless bath features a 6mm glass shower screen and towel rail.

Starting from an ultra-compact 1500mm in length, it’ll fit even the tightest of bathroom spaces.

Orchard Dulwich traditional freestanding shower bath with 6mm shower screen and rail 1710 x 780

Enjoy the best of both worlds—a luxurious freestanding bath and shower—with the Dulwich traditional freestanding shower bath from Orchard Bathrooms

Shop back to wall baths

For great space-saving options for small bathrooms, discover our full range of back to wall baths. From traditional roll top designs to contemporary styles, you’re bound to find your perfect bath at a price you’ll love.

Shop back to wall baths

More small bathroom ideas and advice

At Victoria Plum, we’re full of big ideas for small bathrooms. Head to our Small Spaces hub, where you’ll find everything from cloakroom inspiration and small toilet ideas to guides which explain how to plan for a small bathroom and show you how small a bathroom can be. And, for all the inspiration you’ll need, check out all our small bathroom ideas in one handy place.

Author, Adam Chard

Posted by Adam Chard in Inspiration | 1 week ago

A born & raised West Countryman, now living on the Yorkshire Coast, for over 10 years Adam has been bringing home interior ideas to life at Victoria Plum. Adam’s favourite interior styles have been shaped by both urban and natural influences.

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