Style and Storage Tips for a Freestanding Tub

With their elegant, old-world charm and aura of relaxation, freestanding tubs are coveted bathroom elements that never go out of style.

They don’t exactly provide as much storage, however, as their built-in counterparts. And when you’re trying to keep your bathroom uncluttered but still accessible, having the right storage and accessories is an absolute must.

Here’s how to accessorize your freestanding tub with curtains, caddies, shelving and more.

Shower Curtains

Finding a shower curtain for a freestanding tub can be challenging because they come in so many shapes and sizes. Kimberly Bartosch at Love to Know says that since the curtain must be extra wide and extra long to fit around the circumference of the tub, it can be hard to find the right size curtain in ordinary stores. If there’s a window behind a freestanding tub, however, there are more options for adding creative designs.

Dina Holland of Honey + Fitz explains that adding curtain panels to the window behind your tub can seriously amp up the spa-like factor. Since a freestanding tub is usually the focal point of a room, curtain panels help further draw your eye towards the tub for a more dramatic effect.

Sometimes, you can’t find the exact curtain rod or curtain you’re looking for. When a specific size or style is required, Amanda Brown of Spruce Upholstery offers tips for making a DIY shower curtain. Brown explains how to create a curtain that goes all the way around a freestanding tub using fabric, grommets and other basic materials. Home decor site Tidbits also created a DIY shower curtain using regular window curtains made from a sheer white fabric. This is one step easier than creating a curtain from scratch, but it doesn’t offer as much customization.

When choosing shower curtains for a clawfoot tub, fabrics and materials are an important consideration. Tyler Wells Lynch says that the best curtains have the same features as regular shower curtains: they’re machine washable, reinforced with metal grommets and made from durable fabrics.

Bath Caddies and Storage

According to Fine Homebuilding, storage is an important but often overlooked aspect of freestanding tubs. They say that soap, shampoo, towels and other toiletries should always be within arm’s reach from the tub. When a tub is freestanding, though, there’s less wall space for storage and staying organized can become a greater challenge. One way to keep toiletries accessible from the tub is to buy a bath caddy made for a freestanding tub. These caddies fit over the tub to hold toiletries, plants, candles and whatever other items one likes to have accessible in the bath.

If a customer is searching for a particular kind of caddy for their tub, Build Something suggests creating one out of wood. This wood caddy tutorial shows how to build one that fits over the edge of the tub and is painted with a varnish that seals and protects the caddy from water damage. If adding a varnish doesn’t seem appealing but a customer still wants wood for the bath caddy, teak is an excellent option. Christine Lu of Apartment Therapy explains that teak is naturally water resistant, meaning that it won’t corrode or break down after being used in the bath.

An additional wood storage idea is to create a ladder shelf. MakeSpace says that a wood ladder can be made from salvaged wood found at a lumber yard. Ladder shelves are extremely versatile and work well when baskets or hooks are added. They also look classy without added shelving and they can keep towels accessible in a way that doesn’t appear busy.

Hanging Storage

Since a freestanding tub can be placed in numerous places in the bathroom, there might not always be a free wall nearby. But when there is wall space alongside a freestanding tub, hanging storage is a smart option for adding more storage that doesn’t look messy and cluttered. Better Living writes that attaching a shower organizer on the wall can keep toiletries nearby when needed.

To keep towels easily accessible from the bathtub, Idea Stand suggests using coat hooks instead of towel rods. Just one or two coat hooks on a wall near the freestanding tub creates an easy storage solution without taking up space or looking cluttered. Coat hooks that are part of a wall shelf can provide additional room for toiletries or decor.

Built-in Shelving

Wall shelves can keep toiletries tucked away when not in use. Rather than adding floating shelves or those that take up space, built in shelves can keep a space looking large, open and inviting. Daniel Jensen of NYC Interior Design says that built in shelves should ideally be painted the same color as the wall. This helps the shelves blend in for seamless integration.

To add a built-in shelf to a bathroom with tile walls, June Bhongjan offers a DIY tutorial specifically for a recessed shower shelf. Homeowners already remodeling a bathroom or installing a new freestanding tub will find this a convenient addition to a bathroom update. It requires the same materials and supplies that are already on hand during a remodel, and it eliminates the need for purchasing extra caddies or shelves.

Wall Shelving

Another idea for adding storage to a bathroom is to install a picture ledge shelf. Lauren Smith of House Beautiful says that these narrow shelves can fit under any mirror and hold handy items that are used every day. This is a helpful solution for those that are trying to add storage but still conserve space in a smaller bathroom. To further keep these kinds of shelves organized, consider topping them with small storage containers.

Apartment Therapy editor Adrienne Breaux says boxes and baskets also work well on open shelves, and these can be labeled to add a touch of customization and organization to your bathroom. This kind of shelf would also work well installed on a wall near a tub to hold small toiletry bottles or hand towels.

Images by: kryzhov/©123RF Stock Photo, ASasch, Bruno Glätsch