Showers are useful in the morning before you rush out the door, but bathtubs are for long, lazy soaks when the working day is done. Baths are a place in which to linger, so they must be designed with style, comfort and even outlook in mind. In a family orientated bathroom, baths can be useful and fun for bathing small children. In this instance the bath is a practical essential to the bathroom, and is probably not going to be as luxurious as one you might find in a master ensuite.
Baths designed to be fitted into solid surrounds are usually made of either acrylic or steel. The acrylic baths are less expensive, and because they are lighter are more easily installed. However, acrylic baths are less effective at maintaining the heat of bath water. The steel versions are more expensive and more heat effecient, though heavy, which may present challenges during installation. Acrylic baths can be scratched and therefore stained, while enamel coated steel baths are endanger of chipping if heavy objects accidentally fall on the surface.
The surrounds of these fitted baths can be clad with any number of water resistant materials, from ceramic tiles to treated wooden panelling to stainless steel or river pebbles. Surrounds can be extended to fill gaps, creating useful ledges between the ends of the bathtub and the walls of the bathroom.
In a small bathroom the shower may be positioned over the bath to save space - but this needs to be done at a stage where the plumbing pipe work can be incorporated to suit this setup.
These days the bath doesn't just have to be a functional item, it is often quite an art form in itself. With soft curving stand alone baths, to more geometric square baths such as the Sok waterfall bath, they come in all shapes and sizes. Spa baths are also common and if you are concerned about the noise, the pumps can also be installed outside. Bathrooms can be designed with low windows to take advantage of a great view from the bath, or if you are limited by space there are a large range of smaller baths or corner baths that may suit your purpose.