Extravagant freestanding baths are now appearing in a range of beautiful pastel finishes. Fancy clawfoot tubs are emerging in popular metal tones such as rose gold and copper. A quirky way to add a splash of colour? Or a garish bathroom design mistake? Is this a fad or are they here to stay? Victorian Plumbing investigates.

The brief history of coloured baths


We humans seem to have always been aware of the benefits of having a good soak. The Romans were renowned for their magnificent public baths. A truly ancient tub was recently found in Crete. You’d be forgiven for assuming that bathtubs have been around for as long as we have. However, the modern tub is in fact a relatively recent innovation, only working its way into homes within the last two hundred years.

After a few incarnations that toyed with using materials such as wood and cast iron, we quickly settled on steel tubs coated in white porcelain. This white coating made dirt and grime easy to spot, while its glossy non-porous texture made it easy to keep clean. Since the 1970s we’ve moved on to using fiberglass and acrylic. These ingenious modern materials retained the qualities of porcelain while cutting manufacturing costs. Yet throughout decades of innovation, one aspect has remained the same: the colour white.

White baths, basins, and toilets have always dominated the world’s bathrooms. That’s not to say that coloured bathroom suites have always been absent. Manufacturers introduced coloured baths in the 1930s in a futile attempt to rejuvenate sales following the Wall Street Crash. In the 1950s, gaudy pink and mint green coloured bathroom suites were all the rage. The coloured bathrooms of the 1970s opted for strange, washed-out beige and olive tones; giving off the unfortunate impression of smoke stained walls. For obvious reasons, none of these fads have stood the test of time. So, what’s different about this new wave of coloured baths making their way into our bathrooms?

What makes these modern coloured baths special?


Something changed. Coloured baths of the past were intended to be part of an overarching colour scheme. The tubs we’re seeing now are designed either as statement pieces or subtle tubs that serve to add a pleasant touch of contrast. They offer a simple way to compliment or accentuate your bathroom, without need for complete renovation. Picked correctly, a coloured bath can effortlessly heighten the overall elegance of a new bathroom. With this in mind, we’ve selected a handful of our favourites for you to consider:


Something subtle

Struggling to boost a tired, bright bathroom? The Duke Grey 1695 Double Ended Roll Top Bath could be the answer. A beautiful traditional tub in its own right, the Duke’s stunning matt grey finish will work brilliantly among white tiles.

The Duke Grey 1695 Double Ended Roll Top Bath | Victorian Plumbing
The Duke Grey 1695 Double Ended Roll Top Bath | Victorian Plumbing

Lighter bathrooms can often feel a bit clinical. Introducing a darker tone will take the edge off that sterile vibe and add some much needed contrast. Consider combining the tub with this Trafalgar Grey Sink & Toilet Package to create a charming coloured bathroom suite.

The Trafalgar Grey Sink Vanity Unit + Toilet Package | Victorian Plumbing
The Trafalgar Grey Sink Vanity Unit + Toilet Package | Victorian Plumbing

The bathtub itself is of exceptional quality and could easily feature as a centrepiece. Couple it with some eye-catching chrome tapware and you’re on to a winner!


A true scene-stealer

Similar to rose gold before it, copper is the on trend metal tone of 2019. The Heritage Hylton Freestanding Acrylic Bath uses this hue to great effect and would work wonders to warm up a darker bathroom. An audacious copper freestanding bath, firmly in the category of ‘statement piece’. This one will comfortably steal the thunder of anything else in its immediate vicinity, intensifying the overall look of any bathroom in the process.

The Heritage Hylton Freestanding Acrylic Bath | Victorian Plumbing
The Heritage Hylton Freestanding Acrylic Bath | Victorian Plumbing

While its price tag isn’t for the faint of heart, the Hylton could help make that dream coloured bath a reality. The tub also comes equipped with a lifetime guarantee against manufacturing defects. This should go some way to ensure that dream never becomes a nightmare!


An energetic, refreshing tub

A classic tub with a modern twist. Perfect for those early starters, the Earl Blue 1750 Roll Top Slipper Bath is the coloured bathtub of choice for those in need of an energising bathroom. An extremely versatile tub, its on-trend teal finish looks at home in both light and dark bathrooms. Its retro styling (complete with ball & claw feet) is amplified by a fashionable curve, allowing it to comfortably suit both contemporary and traditional bathroom decor.

The stunning Earl Blue 1750 Roll Top Slipper Bath | Victorian Plumbing
The Earl Blue 1750 Roll Top Slipper Bath | Victorian Plumbing

Fiberglass coated acrylic ensures it’ll stand the test of time, while the feet are made of a similarly robust aluminium. These are cleverly adjustable, keeping your bathtub level even if your flooring is uneven. An ideal coloured tub for those concerned about flexibility, and one that will keep a bathroom fresh for years to come.

Are coloured baths here to stay?


While we’ve flirted with the idea of coloured bathroom suites in the past, this new wave of coloured baths has us ready to commit. In the past year we’ve seen other long standing bathroom trends come under scrutiny. Indomitable chrome taps and shower mixers have started to lose a bit of ground to modern matt black finishes. Clear glass shower screens are falling to elaborate black framed equivalents. We’ve long awaited a competitor to take on the common white tub. These new coloured baths look more than up to the task; offering the easiest way to overhaul your bathroom look without needing to redecorate.

Inspired by our guide to coloured baths? Check out a variety of colourful freestanding tubs here.