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by Pei Wen Tan April 23, 2021 4 min read

How to decide between built-in and freestanding baths

When you’re doing your bathroom, there’s one key decision you’ll have to make when it comes to fixtures and fittings. Do you want a built-in or freestanding bath? There are positives and negatives to both, and as one of the central fittings of this space, it’s not a decision to be taken lightly.

Many people are opting to forego a tub altogether in order to save space and costs. While it is true that you will save on that front, if you’re someone who enjoys having a soak in warm water, it’s probably not a sacrifice you want to make.

Baths have been shown to have therapeutic effects, and there’s nothing more relaxing than sinking into a tub of warm water after a long day at work. True, it might be more expensive to install one, but chances are that the benefits outweigh the costs.

So what kind of model should you choose? Built-in models have traditionally been more popular but as minimalism takes the spotlight in interior design, more people are opting for freestanding baths.

Keep reading for the pros and cons of installing an in-built vs. freestanding bath!

The benefits of a freestanding bath

From style, easy installation, and placement, there are many benefits to having a freestanding bath.  


There’s no question that a freestanding bath brings style to your home. The standalone feature brings a spa-like feel to your space and allows more variety than a built-in model. From claw-foot tubs to circular shapes, you can choose the style that best fits your aesthetic vision.

Unlike in-set models, which are limited to one shape and configuration, freestanding baths allow more choice. You can choose to have a rectangular, oval, or circular shape, and even from different colours such as black or silver when installing a freestanding bath.

They are particularly attractive if you are looking to establish a minimalistic feel to your bathroom. Without the limitations of being built between two walls, and the blocky nature of an in-built model, you have more options when it comes to style.

Easy installation

Because freestanding baths do not need to be built between two walls like an in-set model, they are able to be installed more easily. Rather than hiring both a contractor and decorator to build your tub, you’ll most likely only need a plumber.

Because they do not need to be in-set and come ready to be installed, it is relatively quick and painless to place them in your home.


Unlike an in-set model, which must be placed between two walls in order to be installed, a freestanding bath can be placed anywhere within your space, so that you have more choice when it comes to the layout of your room.

Whether you want it against a wall beside your window, or placed in the middle of your room, you can choose to install it where you want.

Downsides of a freestanding bath

As with any products, there are downsides of installing a freestanding bath, such as price, weight, the lack of storage, and height of the tub.


Compared to in-set models, freestanding baths are relatively more expensive. It’s the price you’ll have to pay for the luxurious aesthetic of this type of tub. However, due to the easy installation of this type of model, you’ll also save costs by not needing to hire a contractor to fit it in.


Freestanding baths are generally heavier than their in-set counterparts. Because of this, they may require a reinforced floor, which may be a hassle when installing this product.

Lack of storage

Unlike with in-set tubs, which have a vast amount of space to store products such as shampoo, shower gel, candles, and bath bombs, freestanding baths have a limited amount of storage due to their standalone nature.

However, you can get around this by putting a caddy on the ledge or a rolling caddy, which allows you to place any items you need in reach.


Freestanding baths are generally taller than their in-built counterparts and this may cause getting in and out of the tub to be more difficult. It might also make it harder if you are using your tub to bathe a pet or child.

Benefits of a built-in

Built-in tubs have their own benefits, from having a shower option, being easier to clean, space saving, and having easier plumbing configuration.

Shower option

Unlike with freestanding baths, in-set models allow you to opt for a 2-in-1 configuration, saving on the space that you use in your room. Because they are built against a wall, it is easier to install a showerhead and taps so that you can shower in the same space.

Easier to clean

There are less crevices and cracks to clean with an in-set option, and less surface area to cover on the exterior. Because of this, it is relatively easier to maintain.

Easier plumbing

Freestanding baths may require more complex plumbing solutions, such as new piping, which can be difficult to conceal. However, most homes already have the plumbing for built-in installed and it can be easily hidden away.

Downsides of a built-in

From the installation, style, lack of choice, and placement, there are limitations to choosing a built-in option.


Unlike with freestanding baths, the installation is more complicated as it requires mounting, sealing, and the creation of a surrounding area. Although the plumbing is easier it may be offset by the requirement of these jobs.


There’s no question that a freestanding bath wins in terms of the variation of style you are able to have, and the look of luxury it achieves. While you are still able to make your in-built model look aesthetic through choices of tiles, if you are looking for a statement piece, freestanding baths are preferable.


The placement of an in-set is less flexible as they need to be placed between two walls, unlike freestanding baths which can be placed anywhere you desire within the room – whether it’s up against a wall or in the middle of your space.

There are positives and negatives to both in-set and freestanding baths, so it depends on what best suits your space and vision.  

Pei Wen Tan
Pei Wen Tan

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