Since Ancient times bathing has been a very public affair. The Romans built specific public baths for cleanliness and socialising. In the Middle Ages there were also public bath houses in many towns. It wasn't until the 19th century that middle class houses had their own bathrooms and now a bath is not just a necessary place where we get clean, but also somewhere we relax, unwind, read a book and get away from all the stresses of daily life.
It's this idea of treating your bathroom as an experience, of your bath as your own personal sanctuary, which is driving the trend for highly personal and unusual baths.
At the end of last year I loved watching Grand Designs because they featured all the houses listed for the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) house of the year 2015. There were so many beautiful homes and ingenious architecture shown, if you want to see the houses for yourself (and the winner), click here.
What caught my attention was one of the long-listed buildings, Grillagh Water House. It's a quirky house made from 4 shipping containers joined together at unexpected angles so the result is unconventional but still very homely. Inside the house it was just as creative, with the bathroom featuring a floating, hammock-style bath made from carbon fibre.
So if the idea of a white plastic bath tub is a bit predictable, here are some alternative materials and designs you could choose from:
Copper baths are increasingly desirable, although one could set you back at least £2,000. The good news is that they are highly durable and any scratches they may incur will 'heal' on their own accord.
The earliest types of bath were made from wood and now the latest ones are too. Soaking in wood can add luxury and a touch of the exotic to your bathroom. When combined with techniques learnt from boat building, modern wooden baths look good and stand the test of time.
Luxury home owners are currently kitting out their bathrooms with transparent bathtubs. Glass allows the maximum amount of light through and can make a small bathroom appear bigger. Although you may end up feeling a little exposed once in it... If you like the look but want something more intimate, glass can be coloured to fit with your bathroom's decorating scheme.
For £17,000 you could even buy a bath shaped like a high heeled shoe, straight from Italy.
Or if money and space are no object, use neutral shades and tiling to turn your bathroom into your own personal spa.
Whatever your bathroom size, whatever your bath is made from, the most important thing is that you enjoy it, whether it's lighting a few candles or taking in a glass of wine and a good book. Or perhaps the only addition you need is a flake.