Bathtubs are the one comfort creature that’s a little tough to leave behind when downsizing. Nothing beats a good soak after a long day at work, plus it’s almost a necessity when living with children or pets.
So, how do you fit a small bathtub inside a tiny house? There are different ways to incorporate a tub in tiny homes. The simplest way to do this is to simply install a mini tub underneath the shower. In situations where space is a huge factor, you can disguise your tub as something else or explore alternative locations.
Read on to learn about the best type of bathtub to put in your tiny house, as well as some tips on where to find your very own.
How Big Is a Tiny House Bathroom?
Bathrooms in tiny homes don’t really have a definite space limitation. It depends on how you want to distribute the space you have for your tiny house. For instance, Kristen and Siya decided to dedicate about 13% of their 200 square foot renovated Airstream for a 15 square foot bathroom with nothing but the essentials. Other homeowners can decide to be as generous as they want to be: The Kestrel, a standard-sized 24x8 feet tiny house on wheels, features a luxurious bathroom and a sizable soaking tub with an awesome view.
When it comes to designing tiny bathrooms, the question of whether or not it’s possible to fit in tubs come up more often than you think - and we totally get it. Just because you’re going tiny doesn’t mean you have to downgrade the simple but fine things in life.
The search for the best tiny bathtub may be a difficult one, but if you continue forward and press on, we guarantee you’ll find one with the right features and dimensions - even if it means you’ll have to create one from scratch.
What is the smallest bathtub available?
The standard dimensions for a porcelain bathtub are about 5 to 6 feet long (60 to 72 inches) and 2.5 to 3 feet wide (30 to 35 inches). The good news is that you can get smaller tubs fit for tiny homes, either by purchasing the smallest porcelain tubs possible, or having a special tub made just for you.
The smallest size tubs available on the market start at 30 gallons. Tiny bathtubs typically measure 4 to 5 feet long (55 inches long) and 2 to 3 feet wide (30 to 35 inches).
Small Bath Sizes: The Search for the Perfect Tiny Tub
Smallest Freestanding Bathtubs: Also known as pedestal tubs, freestanding tubs are great because you’re not limited in terms of placement. When done right, it could lend the illusion of a bigger space in tiny homes. Compared to the common alcove bathtub, the freestanding tub is made to “float” anywhere in your tiny bathroom, giving you more design flexibility.
|Width||2.25 ft (27 in)|
|Length||4 to 5 ft (~55 in)|
|Water depth||1.25 ft (15 in)|
TINY HOUSE TIP: Corner bathtubs may be a classic bathroom-spa tub, but it’s one of the least space-friendly types out there. The design is built to take up unnecessary space, one that you can’t afford if you live in a smaller house. If you’re absolutely in love with the idea of a spa-like soak, you can just get a freestanding tub and orient it in an angle near a wall to make it look like you have a gorgeous corner tub.
Smallest Alcove Bathtubs: Possibly the most common kind of bathtub you’ll see in houses. Alcove bathtubs aren’t so much a style but a method of installation; they are enclosed by three walls, making them perfect for a shower and soak combination. The design usually calls for a smaller footprint, which is perfect for tiny homes. Keep in mind that you’ll have to take up an entire wall space to make your alcove bathroom dreams come true.
|Width||2.5 to 3 ft (~36 in)|
|Length||3.75 ft (45 in)|
|Water depth||1.16 ft (14 in)|
Smallest Drop In Bathtubs: Other types of bathtubs have “skirts” or finished sides that allow for easy, no-fuss installation. Drop-in bathtubs require you to build a space around the tub. In a tiny house, this could be a good thing and a bad thing: the additional build will no doubt add to your final tiny house weight, especially if you’re using heavy materials like tiles or marble; the flexibility of a drop-in tub means you have more room for design and customization.
|Width||2.5 to 3 ft (~36 in)|
|Length||3.75 ft (45 in)|
|Water depth||1.16 ft (14 in)|
Things To Consider
Adding a bathtub in your tiny house isn’t as easy as fitting a full-sized appliance into your kitchen. Here are some things you should consider before installing one in your tiny house:
- Weight: Weight is the most obvious issue when it comes to bathtubs. An empty cast iron tub can easily add another 350 to 500 pounds to your tiny house weight. The smallest size tub available starts at 30 gallons. Water usually weighs an extra 8 pounds (3 kilos) per gallon.
- Material: Alternatives to the traditional cast iron tub are ideal if you want to save on space. Luckily, there are many materials you can choose from without sacrificing that classic tub look. Bathtubs made from fiberglass are low cost and lightweight, weighing only 70 to 80 pounds for a standard 60 gallon tub. Other materials like enameled steel and acrylic are also great alternatives.
The downside to these materials is that they don’t last as long as cast iron tubs. They tend to chip, break, or crack easily with constant use, and will likely wear faster if you’re driving your tiny house over rough terrain.
On the other hand, you can explore customized stainless steel tubs. They may be an unconventional material option, but they tend to be lighter and more durable than other tub materials.
- Placement: Adding a tub to your tiny bathroom means you have to think through the weight distribution and the plumbing. Using a flatbed trailer means you’ll have to sacrifice some vertical space to ensure the pipes don’t drag while you travel. Putting your tub near the trailer tongue might be a good idea if you’re worried about weight distribution, but this means you’ll have to sacrifice this space entirely.
Again, installing a tub in your tiny house isn’t as easy as fitting a full-sized appliance into your kitchen. You’ll also have to consider the integrity of your flooring material, ventilation, and insulation to ensure that the tub doesn’t sacrifice the rest of the tiny house’s structure.
Shopping For Tiny Bathtubs: Where to Get Them
The search for the perfect tub for your small space isn’t as easy as hopping online and finding the best deal. Unlike appliance shopping, you would want to see the tub for yourself and see its precise measurements before bringing the item home with you. This is especially true if you are looking for tubs smaller than 5 foot.
As always, Amazon can help you source some standard-sized tub. We found a good five feet American Standard tub that only weighs 161 pounds. For something smaller, you might have to do a bit of legwork.
Craigslist and Facebook are great options for secondhand tubs. The tubs might not always look spa-ready, but it’s your best shot at finding ones that fit your budget considering smaller tubs cost anywhere from $1,000 to 3,000, just like this beautiful oak tub.
Doubt us? Oriana from Off Beat Home finally found a 4 foot bathtub by going on Craigslist. It was caked in silicone and some grime, so deal came around at $40 for the tub. She recommends going on visiting the following during your tub hunt:
- Habitat for Humanity
- Home Depot
- Upcycle shops
Soaking tubs, which are smaller in length but deeper, are becoming the go-to option for tiny house tubs. If you don’t mind splurging on a customized tub, you can visit specialty companies like Zen Bath Works.
You always have the option to go DIY. Build your own japanese soaking tub using leftover lumber from your tiny house build.
Tiny House Bathtub Ideas
Still don’t think you can fit a bathtub inside a tiny house? Below are some examples of how homeowners fit either a mini or standard-sized tub in their own tiny house. Remember: there’s no one way to install a tub. We picked out some obvious installation choices, as well as some more creative ones to give you ideas on how to incorporate the tub of your dreams in your very own tiny home.
1) Secret Underground Tub
This 68 square foot rentable tiny house in St. Louis proves you don’t have to have a big space to fit in a bathtub. The bathroom floor measures about 8 feet long and 3 inches wide. The wooden floor hides an inconspicuous bathtub right below, serving as a shower drain when not in use.
What’s great about this design is that the tub is already in the bathroom. Other designs we have seen hide the bathtub in areas like the living room and bedroom. While these solutions are creative, they can make for pretty messy clean-ups.
2) Loft Bathtub
In some situations, you’ll have no option but to place the tub in full view. The “Snails Away” tiny house on wheels fits a lot in a very small package. Aside from the owner’s very own recording studio (with fully soundproof walls), this tiny but mighty tiny house on wheels also features a full-sized tub.
The six feet soaking tub is placed on the loft right above the living space. We recommend going for the lightest tub material (just like the builder did) to make sure your mid-afternoon soak doesn’t collapse and turn into a plumbing problem.
3) Shower/Tub Combination
Another simple way to add a bathtub to your tiny house is to install a small one right underneath the shower. This 30 foot trailer tiny house built by Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses features a mini clawfoot tub that is only 44 inches long by 24 inches wide (3.67 feet x 2 feet). Granted it’s not the comfiest of tubs, but it will be a great addition for homeowners who are keen to fit a small soaking tub, no matter what.
If you’re a little shorter or have kids, this tub will work like magic. But as the builder recommends, it’s better to invest in something a little longer so you have more room to stretch out.
4) Tub Furniture
This tub installation proves the tub doesn’t even have to be inside your tiny house in the first place. This soaking tub is placed on the tiny house rooftop and is concealed by a six-person table foldout in the day. The wooden latches fold neatly to the side, revealing a full-sized tub.
It’s a pretty cool execution, but one that you might have to rethink if you’re very particular about your privacy. On the upside, you have a great view of the outdoors.
5) Elevated Tub
The Monocle by Wind River Tiny Homes is one of our favorite designs. This home features plenty of open space, tons of beautiful wood touches, and a luxurious bathroom you never thought you’d see on a tiny house on wheels.
One of its key features is this lavish soaking tub that’s place right by the trailer tongue. It’s an excellent move on the part of the builders because the extra weight of the tub is situated at the part of the trailer where it can support the most weight. The tub is built a little above the ground so there’s plenty of room for the aisle-sized bathroom and separate shower.
Small Bathroom, Big Living
Your little bathroom doesn’t have to feel like an afterthought. Just because you’re going tiny doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the things that make your place feel like home.
We hope you can draw inspiration from the examples we shared and feel more confident in building the bathroom of your dreams!
Hey, there! We're Ivan and Manuela from Croatia, and we're crazy about tiny houses. We don't own one (yet).
This website is a result of our passion to share all the knowledge, photos, tips and tricks that we were able to learn while studying everything possible about the tiny house movement.