HGTV's Hilary Farr Explains The Pros And Cons Of Installing A Sunken Bathtub

On her HGTV show "Tough Love With Hilary Farr," Farr comes across a home with some rather interesting design choices. Some of the issues she has to address are an awkward countertop height, three coffee makers, and exposed trash cans in the kitchen. For the sunken tub in the bathroom floor, she understands the appeal but ultimately decides to swap it out for a more efficient shower solution.

A sunken bathtub is a feature that's typically built right into the ground in a bathroom. They save space, which is great if you have a small bathroom, and can create a luxurious experience when done right. "If your headroom isn't that good, you get a sense of luxury because you're going down into the bath, and the ceiling is that much higher," says Farr (via Instagram). Since they take up in-ground space, sunken tubs work well in bathrooms that have limited vertical space because you won't feel cramped in them. The other side of this pro, however, is that the bathroom should have sufficient horizontal space so you can stretch out comfortably.

Sunken bathtubs have some good features but are dated

Another pro of installing a sunken bathtub is that it will be easier to clean since you don't have the added element of the outside part of the tub. You can also use it just for your feet and don't have to worry about making a mess when you fill it to the brim. These conveniences don't match up to the other types, though, and sunken tubs have become dated and less common than other types like alcove and freestanding tubs. "It was just a thing. It was a thing in the '80s, the '90s, the '60s. It just isn't anymore," Farr concludes in the Instagram post.

The downsides of sunken bathtubs concern their applicability in the modern home setting. They are permanent, inflexible fixtures that aren't easy to install or redesign, and they pose various safety risks to those using them. Farr ends up replacing the tub with a double shower, which is a much better way to use the space since the family always has guests.