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How to Create a Bathtub Nook

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How to Create a Bathtub Nook

We’ve been working on our bathroom renovation for a few months now. I decided that for the clawfoot tub, I’d like to add an alcove and really make that part of the room look special. I thought I’d share how to create a bathtub nook in case you like this look and would like to recreate it too.

Inspiration

To start off, I want to show some inspiration for the bathtub nook and explain why I’d like it in the space-

A bathtub nook is actually a simple way to create a little spot for the tub. In this image it’s just a wood beam on the sides and top with corbels in the corner to add a little decoration and soften the edges.

In this image, the alcove was created with drywall work and an arched opening. Not as simple, but so beautiful. Also notice, the bathtub nook is a great tool for separating where tile goes to the ceiling for by the tub and an area that’ll work with wallpaper in the rest of the room.

I also really like the look of drapes or double shower curtains for decoration for the nook. Of course they also work to soften the space and add privacy. It’s a great place to add some color and/or pattern too.

Essentially, a bath nook is a nice way to frame out an area for the tub and differentiate it from the rest of the room. It adds a layer of coziness and feels very European. 

When coming up with this idea back in January, I sketched out my plans. Then I’ll show my vision becoming reality and how anyone can get this look too.

how to create a bathtub nook

Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview on what I did. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:

 

If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. It’d mean so much if you’d watch the video! I’m trying to get better at my video skills so I can grow my YouTube channel. If you have a few minutes to watch this and/or subscribe, I’d so appreciate it.

SUPPLIES


step 1- beams

Before beginning, the back section of the bathroom where the bathtub nook is going was just cement board with a window in the middle.

For the ceiling, we are doing a yellow shiplap. I’m not a fan of drywall ceilings and in a small room, these go up so fast!

Let’s transform this back area into something special!

To differentiate the walls of the bathroom from the bathtub nook, we bought redwood since it is the smoothest wood we could find at the hardware store.

Start by installing some beams. We don’t have a ton of space so on the sides, we’re simply installing a 2×4 on each side. 

To install, attach the 2×4’s with screws to the wall.

For across the top of the ceiling, we’re using a 4×4 Beam. Combined with the 2×4’s, this makes a little arch area for the bathtub nook. Since our ceiling is on an angle, we had to cut a corner on a 12 degree angle with a table saw so it’ll lay parallel to the wall.

Then, it was attached with screws to the ceiling.

step 2- tile

The great thing about the beams it is creates a stopping point for the tile. For the outside of the bathtub nook, the tile will go up to a chair rail height. For inside the alcoved area, the tile will go to the ceiling. Which is more appropriate for a bathing area.

Next, tile the walls to the ceiling within the bathtub nook. The three walls took us three days of work. Then we used grout to finish the tiles. I”m using the same color as the mosaic floor– sand.

It’s really exciting to see the walls done for the bathtub after seeing construction mess or cement tile for months now! I’m anxious to have a deep soaking tub again to enjoy!

step 3- corbels

And now, the corbels can be nailed in place! This immediately takes the wood from the first step and elevates it 1 million times! The wood corbels bridge the two pieces of wood together in such a pretty way. It took maybe 5 minutes to install and was so satisfying!

step 4- paint

Next up, paint the wood elements. Note- I’m using redwood for the beams. I painted first without priming and while grouting the tile, the paint just wiped off.  So, seeing my mistake we removed the paint.

It’s best to use primer before painting wood with latex paint. Redwood needs an oil based primer before painting.

For the paint, I’m using the color Sweet as Honey. It’s the same color I did on the shiplap ceiling. By painting the beams the same color as the ceiling, this will lead the eye up to the ceiling and highlight this feature I’m adding.

I also ended up not liking the yellow trim on the window, so I painted that back to white. I like the yellow on the bathtub alcove because it brings your eyes up to the ceiling. But on the window trim, I felt like it highlights the window which isn’t really a focal point.

step 5- drapes

A key look with a bathtub nook is having drapes hanging on either side. For this, install a drapery rod on the inside of the beam that goes across the ceiling. 

Next, hang the drapes from the drapery rod. The drapes I’m using are these Pottery Barn Evelyn Bow curtains. I actually found these on Facebook Marketplace a few months ago and have been storing them waiting for this project. This saved me a ton of money! I paid $65 for the curtain rod and set of two drapes. Just the drape set sell for $300!

We’re also adding a fun touch by using vintage pink tassel tiebacks. These I found at an antique shop. To hold them in place, we’re using these tieback hooks. That way, the tiebacks can be easily taken off the hook so the drape can be closed during bathing. And when it’s open, it looks really nice!

step 6- chandelier

And finally, hang the Chandelier. This isn’t necessary, but I thought it’d look really nice to center the light in the room and on the bathtub nook. We originally only had one light over the sink. Now that we have sconces there, I thought it made more sense for the chandelier to be outside of the tub area.

step 7- claw foot tub

Thank you to Vintage Tub & Bath for gifting the tub and faucet for this makeover

Once everything is in place, the tub can be added. It’s so exciting to have it in place! Especially since it’s been sitting in my driveway for weeks- lol.

I was going to keep my original tub that was in here, but after seeing it outside, I noticed all the rust and chips and other issues. I have big plans for that tub- it’ll still get used and loved. So stay tuned for that.

The original reason I looked into a new tub is because the faucet on my old one was really corroded. By changing tubs, I was able to center the faucet under the window which adds to a symmetrical focal point. 

Ready for the reveal?!

after

Here it is- my bathtub nook!

Isn’t it such a dramatic look in the back of the bathroom?!

I put a brass swan planter on a plant stand in the back. My mom gifted them to me! Should I add another on the other side of the tub? I have two. My husband says they’re too high- what do you think?

For the bathtub, I was able to choose a color to have it custom painted. Isn’t that such a fun feature?! The finish is perfectly smooth and the brass claw foot feet and absolutely stunning.

It’s really fun to see the room come together! The mosaic floor with the bathtub nook is so pretty to me!

I do wish the chandelier and the bows from the drapes didn’t hit at the same height. But I can’t make the chandelier any lower or people will hit their head on it and the drapes can only be at that heigh. What can you do?!

I’d also like to hear your thoughts on the yellow trim. I think it’s fun and poppy. It was between yellow and white. I want to add some unexpected touches in here and the trim and chandelier make it feel much more interesting to me.

price breakdown

What I spent $316

Gifted items $3775

Total- $4091

And there you have it! How to create a bathtub nook, the steps and costs. What do you think of the transformation of this area of my bathroom? Is this something you’d try? I love the look- it feels very regal and fancy. I cannot wait to take my first bath (the plumbing isn’t quite 100% hooked up). Please let me know your thoughts and any questions in the comments below.

P.s. I thought I’d show a shot from night time. The lights are on a dimmer and it’s so cozy in here at night! I love it!

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