Whether you’re interested in restoring your home’s classic sensibility or adding a statement piece to your modern renovation, clawfoot bathtubs are undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and coveted ways to inject a serious sense of style into your bathroom.
Clawfoot tubs bridge modern and classic design, offering luxury as well as a touch of classic beauty. Though they didn’t hit the peak of their popularity until the late 19th century, their origins can be traced back to the 18th. Some believe that the classic design originated in Nordic countries, while others believe the imagery was inspired by an Asian motif of a dragon holding a stone.
Today, soaking and clawfoot tubs have become synonymous with pre-war design, offering a touch of ritual and luxury to your bathing routine. Even better, luxurious bathtubs are great for your home’s resale value, which is part of the reason we’ve seen a resurgence in their popularity over the past few years.
Besides all the niceties of this upscale bathroom feature, they can at times seem inaccessible, or at the very least, confusing. Where do you buy a clawfoot tub? How do you install it? Do you need an expert? How do you even choose which tub is going to suit your space? We’re going to answer all of that for you, but first, you have to get clear on what kind of space you want to create.
Begin with a visualization
If you aren’t sure where to start with your bathroom renovation or tub selection, start by visualizing what a place of peace would look like for you. Imagine coming home at the end of the day and going into your bathroom to relax. Consider the following:
- What does the tub feel like?
- How much space do you have?
- How does the tub fit in with the rest of your bathroom design?
- Are there any special features — such as a gold-finished faucet — that would make your experience even more beautiful?
- Do you want to sit up to read, or would you prefer a reclining soak?
Knowing the answers to some of these questions can help you when it comes time to make your selection.
Best clawfoot tubs for sale
Claudia Acrylic Double Roll Clawfoot Tub
This tub covers all of your basics: a suspended basin with gorgeous curved and intricately designed feet, a center rear drain, and a 17-inch depth. If you’re looking for a tub that’s classic but clean and fresh-looking, too, this is probably your best bet.
Merrick Acrylic Double Slipper Clawfoot Tub
If you’re looking to maintain the classic appearance of a clawfoot tub but with a unique twist, you might want to go for a basin design with more elongated sides or curvature. The Merrick Acrylic Double Slipper does exactly this. With the sides of the basin stretching upwards on either end, you can have more room to rest your back and feet. It’s a bit more luxurious and adds another layer of glamour to the tub’s appearance.
Picasso Double Roll Top Tub
If you’re looking to stray from the classic look of a white basin, try this antique hammered copper option. It gives the tub a look that’s almost medieval, while still being able to fit into a distinctly modern design. At only 31 inches long and 14 inches high (11-inch total soaking depth), this tub is also a great option for anyone concerned about size constraints in their bathroom.
Universal 68″ Roll Top Tub
For a touch of depth and glamour, try this extended, extra-large basin with matching faucet. The 68” Roll Top Tub holds up to 57 gallons of water, so you get a luxe appearance and experience in your bathtub.
Doyle 67″ Cast Iron Tub
If you love the look of a classic clawfoot but want to add a touch of modern sensibility at the same time, the Doyle Cast Iron Tub might be the option for you. With a classic acrylic lining but silver cast iron outer basin, this tub is striking and could easily serve as a focal piece for otherwise simple and minimalistic bathroom design.
Leandro 67″ Slipper Tub
If your dream is to lie back in your clawfoot tub at the end of the day, pick up a magazine or book and read for a while, the Leandro might be for you. The Leandro is designed to resemble a fainting couch, with a large, elongated lip on the left side that curves upwards to support your back.
Dawson Cast Iron Double Roll Top Tub
Finally, the Dawson Cast Iron Double Roll Top is a gorgeous combination of functionality and classic design. With a shortened basin, thick feet, and seven different finish options, this tub will be a standout piece in any bathroom design.
So, what’s next?
Once you’ve selected your choice of a clawfoot tub, you should prepare your space for installation. We recommend taking the following issues into consideration:
- If you’re installing your new tub on your own, make sure you have a team ready to do the heavy lifting. Clawfoot tubs can often fall in the range of a few hundred pounds each — often up to 400 pounds without water — so it’s definitely not a job for just one person.
- Make sure you have the right flooring installed. With the weight and size of a clawfoot tub, you’re going to need a sturdy flooring material. When water is added to the tub, it can go up to 600 or 700 pounds in weight; therefore, you need to ensure your flooring will hold up. Stone is great for this; however, hardwood will probably rot from water exposure, and the tub will simply sink into vinyl or carpet.
- Prepare for non-visible or visible plumbing. Clawfoot tubs generally don’t come with faucets built-in, only drains. This means that you need to either place the tub near a pre-existing drain or prepare to run new pipes under the floor to the new location of your tub. Clawfoot tubs most often require a floor-mounted faucet, which requires running a different configuration of pipes to deliver the water.
Ultimately, picking the right clawfoot tub for your space is about as personal a decision as they come, so make sure you take the time to do the research, look at your options, and feel confident you’re investing in the right one for you. There’s a lot to prepare for when it comes to bringing such a big piece into your house, so be sure you have everything in place, and never hesitate to call or at least consult with a specialist. If you’re tackling the redesign on your own and want to plan the best type of clawfoot tub based on your plumbing and space requirements, asking a product expert can relieve some of your stress. A clawfoot tub is one of those special items that requires care and thought to ensure it’s chosen and installed as well as possible.