A partially freestanding bathtub offers the elegance of a freestanding tub with the functionality of an alcove tub. This versatile bathtub style combines the best of both worlds, providing a sleek and stylish look while still allowing for installation against walls on three sides.

Choosing the right bathtub for your bathroom remodel or new construction project is an important decision that requires careful consideration of your needs, preferences, and space. Here are 8 compelling reasons to choose a partially freestanding bathtub for your home:

1. The Stylish and Modern Look

Partially freestanding tubs have a sophisticated, contemporary style that can add drama and visual interest to your bathroom. The exposed exterior sides create a furniture-like look, showcasing the tub as a stunning centerpiece rather than just a utilitarian fixture.

If you want your bathroom to feel like a relaxing spa retreat, a partially freestanding tub contributes sleek, modern lines and an aura of luxury. The tub becomes a focal point of the room’s décor with its unique silhouette. Its elegance can enhance the ambiance you want to achieve.

2. Practical Space Savings

Unlike a fully freestanding tub, a partially freestanding style doesn’t require as much open floor space in the bathroom. It can be positioned against the wall on three sides, leaving only the front or one side exposed.

This allows you to gain the aesthetic benefits of a freestanding tub while still fitting it comfortably in a bathroom of modest dimensions. The tub may even align with the layout of your existing plumbing. Ultimately, you can enjoy a trendy stand-alone look without compromising needed functional space.

3. Greater Installation Flexibility

The three-walled installation design gives you added flexibility in where and how the tub can be situated in your layout. You can choose to install it in a corner, alcove, or along one wall, taking advantage of the surrounding walls for support.

There’s no need to create extensive new plumbing and framing to accommodate a freestanding tub out in the open. The partial design enables you to incorporate the tub you want into your existing bathroom infrastructure much more easily.

4. Accessible Soaking Depth

Partially freestanding tubs are available in a range of designs and depths to choose from. Many models offer depths of 14 inches or more, allowing for a comfortable soaking experience while still being accessible.

The exterior ledge surrounding the tub also provides a convenient place to sit while entering and exiting. The combination of good depth and easy access makes for an ideal relaxing soak for bathers of all ages and mobilities.

5. Range of Sizes to Fit Your Space

In contrast to bulky built-in tubs, partially freestanding models come in a wide selection of sizes. You can find compact versions to fit small bathrooms along with more spacious options offering generous bathing capacity.

Short on length or width? Choose a petite tub. Have ample dimensions to work with? Opt for a larger model. With this versatility, it’s easier to coordinate a partially freestanding tub with the footprint of your existing space.

6. Variety of Materials

Today’s models are crafted from diverse materials with unique properties. Ceramic partially freestanding tubs have a warm, organic feel. Acrylic versions provide a lighter, more affordable option. You can even find tubs made from exotic woods, stone resin, or stainless steel.

With this spectrum of materials, you can match your tub to the overall scheme and textures of your bathroom. The visual consistency helps the tub feel like an integrated design element rather than a standalone fixture.

7. Customizable With Surrounds and Skirts

To further harmonize your tub with the bathroom’s aesthetics, many models accept optional surrounds and skirts. The tub surround creates a smooth, finished look on the three enclosed sides. An exterior skirt conceals plumbing and exposes only the tub’s feet underneath.

With the right surround and skirt choices, you can achieve a seamless, built-in appearance or highlight the tub as a sculptural form. This customization potential allows you to realize your individual style vision.

8. Lower Cost Than Full Freestanding

Partially freestanding tubs represent a middle ground between basic built-in tubs and extravagant clawfoot or standalone options. The exposed sides still provide a high-end look suited to spa-like sanctuaries. Yet the partially freestanding style remains one of the more budget-friendly choices in contemporary bathtubs.

You can indulge your affinity for stand-alone tubs while avoiding the hefty price tags of full freestanding models. The cost savings mean you may have budget left over for other special finishes and appointments in your bathroom.

Frequently Asked Questions About Partially Freestanding Tubs

Many homeowners have questions about what partially freestanding tubs are, their pros and cons, costs, installation needs, and more. Here are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions:

What exactly is a partially freestanding tub?

A partially freestanding tub is one that stands alone on only one side, usually the front. The other sides are enclosed by walls, like an alcove tub. This allows a partially freestanding tub to have the aesthetic of a freestanding style while fitting into a smaller space.

How is a partially freestanding tub different than a freestanding tub?

Fully freestanding tubs do not connect to any walls – they stand completely independent. Partially freestanding tubs have one open side but install against walls on the other sides. Freestanding tubs require much more open floor space.

What design styles work well with partially freestanding tubs?

The exposed sleek lines of partially freestanding tubs pair best with contemporary, modern, urban, and spa-inspired bathrooms. Their minimalist forms can also work with industrial styles. They generally don’t suit traditional decor.

Do I need a large bathroom for a partially freestanding tub?

No, partially freestanding tubs are designed specifically to fit smaller bathrooms that could not accommodate a true freestanding tub. Just make sure to measure carefully during planning.

How much space do I need around the tub?

Most codes require at least 21-24 inches of clearance on the open side for safe entry and exit. At least 12 inches should surround the other sides of the tub.

Can I install a partially freestanding tub in a corner?

Yes, a corner installation is common and can maximize floor space. Just be sure to account for elbow room when measuring.

How complicated is the installation?

Partially freestanding tubs install very similarly to alcove tubs by attaching to wall studs and hooking up drain and plumbing connections. The open side requires some decorative skirting. Overall, installation is straight forward.

What kind of drain does a partially freestanding tub require?

Most models use a standard bathtub drain and trap system that are attached through the floor. Some tubs have an integrated slotted overflow drain as well.

Does installation cost more than a regular tub?

Installation prices are similar, but a partially freestanding tub will cost more than a basic alcove tub. You may need to factor in some added framing or plumbing work too.

What are the best materials for these tubs?

The most common options are ceramic, acrylic, stone resin, stainless steel and wood. Each material has pros and cons. Acrylic and stone resin tend to be most budget-friendly.

How expensive are partially freestanding tubs?

Prices range widely, but you can expect to pay $1,500 – $5,000+ for a quality partially freestanding tub, depending on size, features and materials. More lavish designer models run upwards of $10,000.


Partially freestanding tubs deliver form and function, blending the aesthetics of a standalone tub with the install flexibility of a built-in model. With their contemporary style, customizable sizing, accessible bathing depth, and easier installation, partially freestanding tubs create an elegant focal point in today’s on-trend bathrooms.

Taking the time to understand your bathroom space needs, design style, and budget will help you select the ideal partially freestanding tub option to enhance your bathing experience. With the right choice, you can enjoy maximum relaxation along with stunning modern style.

8 Reasons to Choose a Partially Freestanding Bathtub