A bathroom featuring an alcove tub with dark grey tile.

Alcove Bathtub

Originally contributed by • last updated 2/24/2021

Steve Buissinne

If you’re in the market for a new bathtub, you’re quickly going to realize that there are a few different options available, including the always desirable freestanding clawfoot tub. But for most people, alcove bathtubs are pretty much the standard when it comes to style and function in part because the majority of modern bathrooms are designed with the alcove tub in mind.


The term alcove bathtub typically refers to a type of rectangular tub shell that is exposed bare on three sides, with the remaining visible side closed off by a tub wall. These tubs are designed to have three sides enclosed by the walls in your bathroom, with the remaining side being left open for accessibility. The open side is commonly covered or enclosed with a curtain or door to prevent water from splashing or spilling out onto the floor or other surf. Alcove bathtubs come in a variety of sizes and shapes, with options for jets and shower capabilities. They can also come in a wide variety of materials, including fiberglass, acrylic, and cast iron. Additionally, they are available in a wide range of prices to meet a variety of project budgets.

What Are The Advantages Of An Alcove Bathtub

Whether you’re renovating your current bathroom or your building a new one, picking the right tub can be a difficult decision because, after all, you’re probably going to see and use it every single day. If you’re in the market for a new tub, you may want to consider an alcove bathtub, as they typically have a couple of big advantages when it comes to function and design. But there’s also one important downside:

  • Many modern bathrooms are designed to fit an alcove tub using some form of three wall combination, creating a natural alcove either on one side or at the far end of the bathroom. This design helps maximize space and allows for bathtub and shower combinations.
  • However, because many bathrooms are designed with alcove bathtubs in mind, it’s hard to install a freestanding bathtub in its place due to space. Unless there is sufficient room, alcove tubs will remain a prominent design option.