The Oct. 20 announcement by Jacuzzi that it has created its own version of freestanding tub accelerates one of this year's biggest trends: Homeowners increasingly desire to remodel their bathrooms by adding walk-in showers and freestanding tubs. Here's the evidence.

Photo courtesy of Jacuzzi

1. Even Jacuzzi Has Freestanding Options
Jacuzzi, the brand that one would think would be hurt by the trend toward freestanding tubs, aims to stay in the game. On Oct. 20, for instance, the company announced the launch of the Elara freestanding bathtub. Building on an existing line, the freestanding version of Elara "will continue to delight customers with a deep soak, while the bold exterior design meets modern simplicity," Jacuzzi's news release declared. The bathtub runs 68 x 36 x 24 inches, enclosing its necessary machinery under a "wide deck surround [that] conveniently accommodates must-have bath accessories, books and refreshments." This is the 11th freestanding tub that Jacuzzi now offers, five of which have been introduced so far this year.

Source: American Institute of Architects survey
Source: American Institute of Architects survey

2. Architects are Getting Requests
A survey this spring by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) found architects were reporting strong interest in walk-in showers, possibly because of a parallel increase in interest for universal design features. Note also the jump in architects saying they are getting requests for showers that don't come with a tub. AIA's surveys gauge interest by taking the percentage of respondents reporting increasing interest and subtracting from that number the percentage of architects who see they're seeing decreasing interest.

Source: Houzz
Source: Houzz

3. Interest in Bathtubs by the Young Is Drying Up
Earlier this year, we reported the results of a Houzz survey of more than 7,500 Houzz users that showed declining interest in putting a bathtub in the master bath. But we didn't report then how much that preference varied by age. In essence, the youngest people surveyed are at least 20 percentage points less likely to want a bathtub as do the oldest group.

Open bathroom in rustic villa
Photo courtesy MTI Baths Open bathroom in rustic villa

4. Options Are Available Upscale ...
In July, MTI Baths introduced the freestanding Laney 2 design. It comes standard as a soaking tub or may be ordered as an air bath. It also offers Chromatherapy (giving the water custom colors), stereo sound speakers, and a heating system that warms the interior shell of the tub. And don't forget the bath pillow!

Photo courtesy American Standard

5. ... And at Popular Prices, Too
The press release for the Cadet freestanding bathtub from American Standard, introduced this summer, breaks ranks from the typical announcement by declaring a suggested retail price: $1,750, including hand spray and drain. "Offering the comfort of a luxurious, freestanding soaking tub without the price tag, the Cadet tub is a perfect option for new homes or for a bathroom remodeling update. The Cadet freestanding bathtub measures 66 x by 32 x by 23 [inches], providing a roomy bathing space while maintaining exterior dimensions that are compact enough to allow the tub to comfortably fit in the average bathroom," the company states.

Photo courtesy MTI Baths

6. You Can't Do This With the Usual Tub

Back at MTI Baths, the company now offers as many as 200 different color options for its Melinda line.