A freestanding bath can be a beautiful addition to your home, forming a striking centrepiece for a bathroom or even a bedroom, and will certainly provide a talking point for visitors.
A second hand roll top bath, bought from a reclamation yard and professionally re-enamelled, gives an old item a new lease on life and establishes in your home a striking feature that really looks as though it has a story to tell. Alternatively, buy a modern but traditionally styled bath and choose from a range of styles, either single or double ended, flat roll top or raised end slipper bath, and from a wide array of fitted or floor standing taps and shower attachments, and many types of feet.
If your tastes are contemporary, modern freestanding baths are available in many shapes and sizes: egg shaped, rectangular, boat shaped... the list goes on. Using modern materials and design techniques, they're able to diverge from the traditional shape and do something a little bit different. Taps can be wall mounted for a minimalist look.
Finally, if you're short of space, a 'back-to-wall' style can give you the look of a freestanding bath but with a straight edge which fits up against the wall, saving you vital inches. Alternatively, a corner style will make still better use of space by fitting up neatly against two walls. As a shower can be more easily fitted over these styles than over a true freestanding bath, you will not need to add a separate shower enclosure if you lack the space to do so.
Modern freestanding baths tend to be manufactured from the resoundingly popular stone resin, which is strong and durable but also warm to the touch. Second hand baths can still be found in traditional cast iron, although it is not often used in manufacturing new baths; some manufacturers also make beautiful but more expensive models from materials such as bamboo or copper.
Remember that with most designs some, if not all, of your pipework will be on display. Pipes can be laid beneath a wooden floor and emerge in the middle of the room to supply a centrally positioned bath; if your floor is concrete, however, you may need to be more imaginative - positioning the bath toward the corner of the room, for example, on a raised plinth under which your pipes can run from the wall.
Most freestanding baths are not pre-drilled for tap holes: chrome standpipes and pillar taps combine to create floor standing taps, and with the addition of a chrome trap and waste, your bath will be both beautiful and functional.
Finally, though, a note of caution: don't be carried away by finding your bathroom is large enough to accommodate the bath you've always dreamed of, then be let down when you can't get it through a narrow front door. Check your access route, and scale down your dream a little if necessary, to make sure it can become a reality.