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You can save about $2,000 on a new tub that'll make a gorgeous focal point for your master bath if you forgo the jets, says Long Beach, California, kitchen and bathroom designer Dana Jones. "A few years ago, everyone had to have a whirlpool, but now people realize that a simple soaking tub is preferable, because it's so much easier to keep sanitized." (Even if you don't use them, jets must be routinely flushed with bleach to keep them clean.) The same 6-foot drop-in soaker tub from Kohler, for instance, costs $1,285 without jets, compared with $3,226 for the whirlpool model. Features to look for are a slanted back for reclining and an overflow valve at least 16 inches above the tub floor so the water will cover your knees. Both are hallmarks of the original soaker: the claw-foot tub. Pick up a vintage one, reglazed and ready to install, for $1,200 or less at a salvage yard near you.
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