Squeezing a bathtub into a small space can certainly come with its challenges, but with the right approach and thoughtful design solutions, even the most compact of bathrooms can be transformed into more spacious, functional, and enjoyable spaces.
We’ve rounded up some of our favourite bathtubs as featured on NTS, ranging from luxurious baths in unconventional places to a bathtub doubling as a planter box — all adding a unique touch to the space while making the most out of every square metre.
Architect: Ben Edwards. Images: Fraser Marsden
The first-ever project featured on our YouTube channel boldly illustrates that compact utility can comfortably co-exist with glamour, opulence and luxury. As soon as you step through the door of Microluxe, you’re met by a sleek black-and-white Japanese-style bathtub placed unconventionally in the living room.
The deep yet compact soaking tub sits on an opulent marble plinth, against a backdrop of deliberately mismatched patchworked marble tiles. The raised platform is not simply there for dramatic effect, it serves a dual purpose—concealing the bathtub’s drainage system whilst elegantly demarcating the living and bathing areas.
Architect: Motoki Yasuhara. Images: Never Too Small
At the top of the three-storey Flagpole House, a wooden deck marks the transition between the outdoor garden and the minimalist bedroom. Beside it, an unassuming wooden box transforms into an open-air bath, heavily inspired by the owner’s travels throughout Japan and experiences in traditional onsens.
Strategically placed plants create a layer of privacy, allowing the owner to enjoy an urban forest bathing experience. With this outdoor area specifically designed to merge into the interior spaces, a greatly-valued connection to nature is strengthened when enjoying a relaxing soak.
To find out more about this small home in Tokyo and other Japanese small houses, check out Serene Japanese Small Houses.
Architect: Maguire + Devine Architects. Images: Never Too Small
Another concealed outdoor bath can be found in the off-grid Bruny Island Hideaway, surrounded by 99 acres of conservation forest. Clad from head-to-toe in Baltic pine, this Japanese-inspired cabin has two decks on either side that expand the interior, with a bathtub cleverly concealed in one of them. The sunken outdoor bathtub is revealed by removing a few decking panels; a whimsical, luxurious touch that allows guests to truly indulge in the wilderness.
Curious about off-grid homes? Read about our Off-Grid Tiny Retreats in Australia.
Designers: Hum Studio & Gallery. Images: Never Too Small
Not wanting to compromise on the ritual that comes with using a bathtub, the designers and owners of Apartment 33 made a bold choice to expand the shower area into their bedroom, incorporating a bathtub and vanity opposite their bed.
The eggshell-white bathtub sits adjacent to a recessed ledge, displaying stylish items while conveniently hiding necessary piping. By seamlessly fusing both spaces, a lavish spa-like touch is added to the room, reminiscent of luxe hotel suites the designers were inspired by.
Designer: Nick Gurney. Images: Micheal Wee
The Warren is striking, airy, and filled to the brim with plants—and its bathroom is no exception. The only space in the home where white is more prominent than colour, the vibrancy of the bathroom comes from the collection of plants adorning the space.
Designer Nicholas Gurney created a custom hybrid shower/soaker bathtub that houses a built-in planter for the owner’s variety of plants to thrive, essentially creating the feeling of an indoor-outdoor bathing area surrounded by nature.
For more inspiring bathrooms, check out this compilation of Brilliant Bathrooms from some of our first-ever episodes.