I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest. As much as I adore perusing endless photos of perfectly designed and staged spaces, it’s also a cruel reminder of the work that’s left to do in our home. My “Bathrooms We’re Drooling Over” board in particular delivers the stinging blow, reminding me that I haven’t taken a bath in our home in over four years. Yep, you read that right. Four. Long. Years.

Despite not actually starting the master bathroom renovation project four years ago, we slowly stopped using our 1980s monstrosity due to a faulty tub stop, leaking shower due to improper installation, and finicky toilet. It had come to serve as a large, ugly storage room, which doubles as a space to brush our teeth.

In the time since my last real bath, we’ve done so much while feeling as if we've achieved so little. In addition to actual progress we've researched, dreamed about, planned, and saved for the day that we could complete a transformation of the space into a room of my dreams. Heck, nearly ten years ago we started buying for this space when we saw a killer deal on eBay for a salvaged cast iron tub.

As we've mentioned previously, the tub has sat dormant in our subterranean nightmare, otherwise known as the basement, covered in mounds of junk, just waiting for its time to shine. If you look closely, you can catch a glimpse of his beautiful curvaceous sides at the bottom of the photo below.

Despite not being ready to relocate this several hundred pound hulking beast just yet, that doesn’t mean that I don’t often go downstairs to visit him (the tub, of course) and start to formulate my plan of attack. Heck, after the goose vs. telephone debate I pulled the trigger and purchased the hardware for my friend. I liken it plunking down the money for a gorgeous engagement ring only to keep it hidden away until the day I can profess my endless love (for the tub) and put a little bling on it for all to see.

But before he (yes, the tub) can come upstairs and show off his bling, there’s quite a bit of work to do. After all, he’s currently covered in dirt and grime, which can only be partially attributed to the time spent in our lair. His outer sides are painted in varying ghastly shades, including green and yellow. And I’m not talking about a beautiful butter yellow, like the clawfoot tub Sarah Richardson used in the renovation of her Canadian farm house.

We’re talking more post late night drinking binge bile yellow. Sexy.

And what about my clawfoot’s feet? Once caked in layers of paint, now painstakingly cleaned and stripped by my better half a number of years ago. He was so ambitious in those early days. He was sure the installation of the tub *had* to be right around the corner.

This honest and no holds barred assessment of the tub leads us to what we have today, but the question I wrestle with is what his new look will be in the future, especially the color of his sides and feet. There are a lot of choices out there, and I’ve been carefully considering our options for many years through extensive online research.

Photo Credit: Advanced Refinishing LLC

The following are the various options we've been considering:

White Sides, White Feet

Although one might argue that this is a boring choice, I don’t see how this can go out of style. A white bathroom is often viewed as a classic, and my hope is that this simple and traditional choice will never cause a future homeowner to contemplate my color selection. (Ahem, see note above about current green and yellow paint job.)

Photo Credit: Lonny

White Sides, Silver Feet

Alex is a fan of this look, although I’m on the fence about it. Silver feet are a popular choice no doubt, but they might be a bit too much for my taste. If we were to go this route we'd actually need to find somewhere that does metallic plating Alex refuses to accept the option of spray paint. We'd send the feet out to have them plated in polished nickel to match the rest of the hardware, but that might end up running about $400-$600 for the whole thing, far more than the $150 we paid for the tub. Not my favorite approach. 

Photo Credit: lushome.com

Black Sides, White Feet

Painting the sides of the tub in gloss black would definitely ground the room, but without the addition of black elsewhere in the space, i.e.the vanity or accents, the tub might stick out like a sore thumb. I really like this classic choice, but I’m not sold that this is the right choice for our bathroom.

Photo Credit: Salvage One

Crazy Colored Sides, Crazy Colored Feet

I could throw caution to the wind, and make a true statementin my choice. After all, it’s only paint we’re talking about here, not something more permanent and expensive to change out like tile.

Photo Credit: Design Sponge

We could get really crazy and do more than a solid color. Perhaps painting the feet like a tiger or eagle claw, or even painting the toenails. 

Photo Credit: Sacremento's Hometown Tourist's Blog

I've even seen some people do multicolor stencils on their tub. Not sure I have the courage to try this look in our home, but it's a cool idea for the right space.

Photo Credit: Kammy's Korner

Gray Sides, Gray or White Feet

I’m nearly 100% certain that my floor tile of choice will be a 1” Carrara marble hexagon tile with dark gray grout, and the upper walls will be painted in a mid-tone gray. I’m toying with the idea of using a soft gray paint on the tub sides, and painting the feet white. The gray sides will be a more interesting choice, but it might be too much gray in the room. Hmm. Jury’s still out on this one.

Photo Credit: Country Living

Thought I’m probably favoring the plain Jane white on white option at this point, only time will tell. Perhaps once I see the new space in the flesh, the answer will be that much clearer. But until that day, I’ll lay in my dirt-encrusted clawfoot tub, in the dingy light of my Hoarders-esque basement, and dream of the day I can float in my clean tub like a beached whale, enveloped by hot water and lavender scented bubbles, with a celebrity magazine in my hand, a glass of wine at my ready, and the smooth sounds of Dave Matthews Band or +Live+ filling the space. As you can probably tell, I haven’t given much thought to this scenario at all.

What's your vote on the color scheme? Should we play it safe? Perhaps be more daring? Even drop some serious coin on this project? Maybe there’s an option I haven’t considered? I’d love to get your two cents on the matter.

Comments 43


4/10/2013 at 11:59 AM
we bought a new cast iron bathtub when we remodeled our bathroom and tossed ideas back and forth about colors too. We ended up doing white with white feet which gave us both a lot of room to do brilliant blue on the walls of our small bathroom.

I love it. It always looks clean and fresh, goes with the age of the house (1902) and if I really, really want, I can paint the sides later.

(Best baths ever too - it had been a very long time since I had a bath! now I look forward to it!)
Best baths ever? I can't tell you how glad I am to hear that. I've worried that I've been building up the experience in my head, and that I'll only be disappointed by a cast iron bath.

If you don't mind me asking Enya, how long is your tub, and how tall are you?
4/11/2013 at 8:40 AM
We ended up with a 68" double ended claw foot tub, cast iron, imperial feet. I'm 5'5" and my feet don't touch the other end when I'm sitting upright. The *only* issue I've had, and it's a small issue overall, is that ours could be wider (Ok, so I'm a bit wide, but still) which we only noticed when showering (sloped sides made the first few weeks a bit dangerous until we put a mat in it).

The boyfriend is 6'something and he had no problem bathing in it either. We used www.signaturehardware.com for ours, but we purchased new because with all our remodeling I was just not up for refurbishing a tub :)

I also have a picture from sitting in the bathtub after it was delivered to our garage so your picture cracked me up. Glad to know I'm not the only slightly bath crazy person around!
4/10/2013 at 12:14 PM
White on white or white feet on a soft grey tub would be my top choices!

But really, can Sarah Richardson ever do anything wrong?
I bow down to just about everything Sarah Richardson does. The fish scale Carrara backslash? Red mudroom closet doors? Good grief, I could go on for days.
4/10/2013 at 12:19 PM
I'd go white on white or white on gold (i.e. gold feet).
Thanks Janice! If you like gold feet, you should check out the link below to Brick City Love. Carrie's clawfoot has the most beautiful gold feet. :-)
I was going to vote for white on white… but then the painted toes? Claws? Toe claws? Are too awesome to pass up… I vote white on white with glitter toe polish.

We did a marble hex (2”, light grout) in a bath, and all the fixtures are white… love it. But picking up the grey tone in the marble either as a tub or wall paint would also be so pretty!
Toe claws, hah. Love it. If I want to keep on trend, should I paint the "ring toe" in a different shade?

Your bathroom is stunning. I've been stalking your bathroom posts lately, and have been drooling over the custom medicine chest.
4/10/2013 at 12:48 PM
The choice will feel right when you come upon it.

Personally, I went with Raccoon Fur (BM) on the tub (a dark navy/charcoal color)& antique gold on the feet - brickcitylove.com/2012/06/05/the-2nd-floor-bathroom - and I still LOVE it.
I <3 your bathroom majorly, Carrie. Beautiful!
4/10/2013 at 1:05 PM
Oh wow, I can see why you're having a hard time making a decision! I am really drawn to the tub you just pinned: pinterest.com/pin/275352964689656794/ so I vote charcoal gray or black sides with silver feet! Would you consider leaving the feet as they are? I think the stripped/worn look is awesome, but if you can't do that I would personally splurge on the plating since you got such a good deal on the tub. The whole thing (tub+plating) would still be less $ than buying a whole new tub! Good luck making a decision :)
I know, isn't that tub (and bathroom) gorgeous!? That wallpaper was so amazing I could eat it. :-)

Leaving the feet the natural metal is a really interesting idea that we hadn't talked about yet. Thanks for the great idea, Meredith!
4/10/2013 at 1:13 PM
I think Sarah Richardson hit it out of the park with the colored tub & white feet. Something like a duck egg blue would be amazing in what sounds like an otherwise quite neutral space.(Plus it is just paint, you can always re-paint it in the future.)
Ooohh, duck egg blue would be gorgeous! I was thinking of a mostly gray and white palette, with pops of turquoise, depending on the fabric for the curtains. I'm so excited to pick out the finishes!! :-)
4/10/2013 at 1:41 PM
I would go white with metal feet if I were you - or maybe something neutral like the grey with metal feet. It doesn't seem like the rest of your house warrants a crazy colored tub. Plus I love the petina on the feet you already have (assuming Alex got the paint off of the 4th one). Good luck! It's going to look great!
Thanks, Nikki! I think the harlequin pattern in the downstairs hallway is as crazy as we should get, and this space needs to be a calming sanctuary. Metal feet could be really pretty, and yes, Alex was able to strip all four. Hmmm....
4/10/2013 at 1:47 PM
For me, doing white on the exterior would depend on the condition and color of the interior - unless you are refinishing the interior it is probably not a bright white.

I would be inclined to do gray or black on the exterior to maximize color options for the rest of the room. I like a somewhat aged metallic look for the feet - maybe silver leaf over black paint (with a matte clear coat) rather than metallic spray paint. Or I like Meredith's idea of leaving the feet stripped.
That's a really great point about the "white" of the inside of the tub. I hadn't thought of that yet. Thanks, Cheryl! I'll definitely have to do a little color comparison if I'm serious about the white.
4/10/2013 at 2:18 PM
I just spent too much time reading this, and looking at all the other people's suggestions, and their blogs, and so on and so on.

My conclusion? Gray sides; white feet. Clean, crisp... in keeping with your bedroom, opulent, and a lot of wiggle room with wall and tile color. I cannot wait to see what you pick.
Thanks for your vote, Grabs! Speaking of bathroom renovations, I hope you're enjoying your new master bath!
4/10/2013 at 2:46 PM
I'm in the white or grey sides, white feet camp.
Cool! Thanks for your vote, Jan!
4/10/2013 at 3:37 PM
Thanks Bull! Since you helped carry the beast to its lair, it's only fair that you have a weighted vote. If we paint it white-white, will you help us carry it upstairs??
4/10/2013 at 4:05 PM
Why do you have to make a decision right now? The installation of the tub will be pretty much the last thing in the remodeled bathroom ... do all of the things that you KNOW you want to do in there and let the actual room tell you what to do with the tub.
Good plan of attack Connie. Thank you! I don't necessarily feel like I have to make a decision right now...I'm just planning and dreaming for the day I get to break out my brush. :-)
4/10/2013 at 4:55 PM
How timely! I'm in midst of a master bath reno and our cast iron clawfoot tub is being delivered Friday by the refinishers. I, too, went through this exact color dilemma, and in the end decided to have them do the outside/feet in matte black. I'm on the fence about the black feet but I'm holding out judgment til I actually see it.

By the way, love your blog!
Thanks Tracy! And please let us know how your tub turns out. Who did you use for your refinishing?
4/11/2013 at 12:07 PM
I used a small, local company called Unique Touch Reglazing in Shelby NC. They are delivering tomorrow and just sent me a pic of the painted tub with black outsides and feet. A pic is up on Instagram if you'd like to take a look. I'm creativehomebody!
laura h
4/10/2013 at 5:38 PM
I am facing a similar dilemna. I am leaning towards white-white or grey-white. I love the crazy colors I see in Pinterest pins and magazines, but not sure it blends with the rest of my house.

Now get busy so I have more inspiration! I too have been eyeing Carrera hex tile, and I have a salvaged sink like the one in the black tub photo that I heisted from a curb and pushed in a wheelbarrow two blocks in high heels and a dress (I was afraid the trash truck would come if I went home to change). Can't wait to see your results!
High heels and a dress? That is the most amazing "dumpster dive" scenario ever!! :-) Good luck with your bathroom. I'll race you to the finish line?
4/10/2013 at 11:08 PM
White/white...but I frequently chicken out on the outrageous and end up with the condervative. Unfortunately, your pics reminded me I want to replace my door levers with egg shaped knobs (for lack of a better term). Off to shop!
I <3 egg shaped knobs. Happy shopping!
4/11/2013 at 11:01 AM
Even before I saw it, I was thinking that a very light grey with white or silver feet would look the nicest (and matches best, overall, with your "drool-worthy" bathroom pins).

White on white could work, but I do think it's a bit too "safe" and boring. If you go that route, I'd suggest a low-gloss white on the sides, and gloss white feet (to give it a bit of texture).

I'm really not a fan of the black (too much), or the crazy colour/pattern since they will eventually look too trendy. It's my opinion (and I think overall you tend to be on the same page) that permanent fixtures should be neutral/plain, and walls or accessories should be bright/fun (if desired).

I went with a simple white tub/toilet, and light beige walls, and if I want something fun, I can do a bright shower curtain and towels, since the beige/white will get along with almost everything.

Also, regarding silver spray paints, some have gotten better. There is a spray-on mirror-finish chrome paint used by automotive guys. It might be worth checking out if you're thinking of going in that direction. Check out how they spray this black plastic Darth Vader helmet to look like a mirror-finished chrome:
You had Alex at Darth Vader. :-)

I'm totally with you. I've learned that neutral colors for permanent fixtures is the way to go! (Says the woman who ripped out a gray toilet and matching gray pedestal sink.)
4/11/2013 at 11:05 AM
White/white would be my choice :)
Thanks, Tamara. White/white is at the top of my list!
4/11/2013 at 1:19 PM
I AM SO JEALOUS OF YOUR TUB. Even though it isnt functional yet - I know it will be amazing. I am on the hunt for one to hang on to until we are ready to tackle the nightmare bathroom we have here.

That said - I am all for the all white look. I am not against the others (well..maybe the painted toenails...) but I like the classic look of all white.
Thanks, Bekah! I'm so excited to make this guy functional. It was too good a deal to pass up at the time, and I can't wait for the day we can start to rehab it!
4/11/2013 at 3:11 PM
Do you ever wonder what you could do the Sarah Richardson's "budget?" I love the grey sides, so peaceful
I would love to have her budget, no doubt (and even 1/2 of her talent too)! :-)
11/18/2016 at 2:27 AM

Hello Wendy,
Very nice collection of Clawfoot tub. My wife and I always used https://www.rensup.com/ for buying any kitchen, bathroom and bedroom stuff. They have large varieties of good for all taste types.

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