It is becoming increasingly clear to me that the more time I spend at home, the more I want my bathroom to be an oasis. In my previous life, before working from home and before spending 99.9% of my life indoors, I would neglect my bathroom as if it were my ugly stepchild. But it so happens that a global pandemic changes both big and small things, and one of those small things for me is the urge to contemplate every inch of my apartment.
This week’s obsession is hanging bath towels. Storage is always top of mind for me (because I have so little of it) and that is especially true in my bathroom. Luckily I live with only one other human, so we require a few towels between the two of us. We aren’t hoarding towels over here, don’t worry. But as a fun weekend project, I decided to painstakingly think about towels and towel storage, and the first step of any project begins with looking back at old EHD projects for inspiration.
Fast forward to now. I’ve found my solution, but perhaps you are looking for yours – thus the reason for this post and (hopefully) the reason you are here. These are all the ways EHD hangs towels PLUS a new solution that we are very passionate about. Let’s begin.
Fold Them Over A Towel Bar
This seems to be the preferred and most classic towel hanging option. I know a lot of people are extremely passionate about hanging towels over a bar as it dries quicker this way. I get it. A damp towel is very depressing, but another pro of this hanging option is it allows you to mix and match colors or patterns. EHD famously loves a crisp white towel combo, but that doesn’t mean you can’t mix up your hand and bath towels to add some color or pattern.
If you are team towel bar ’til you die but you’re looking for a way to refresh your bathroom, consider replacing your old one with a new one, perhaps in a different color or style. Replacing outdated hardware is our favorite and most low lift hack so if you are in the market, here are some of our favorites:
1. 30″ Wall Mounted Towel Bar | 2. Latitude 18 ” Towel Bar |3. Delta Trinsic 18″ Wall Mounted Towel Bar | 4. Brooklyn 24″ Towel Bar | 5. Palais Towel Bar | 6. Trivia 18 ” Towel Bar | 7. Kohler Elate 24″ Towel Bar |8. West Slope 24″ Towel Bar | 9. Villa Collection Towel Bar
The EHD preferred styling technique is to fold both the bath and hand towels into thirds and layer them so the seams are invisible.
If folding a towel before hanging it up sounds like a LOT of work I hear you and I tend to agree, so let’s move on to some easier options.
The Towel Rack (Bring This Hotel Go-To Into Your Bathroom)
We don’t use this one a lot but man is it a smart and classic way to handle your towels. We really thought it was the perfect piece for the Silver Lake Hills’ master bathroom. The pro towel bar people get what they want, it’s a small space dream, AND you have built-in storage. If you are into it here are a few of our favorites…
1.Hotel Spa Towel Rack | 2. Mercer Train Rack | 3. Latitude II Minimalist Spa Mounting Towel Rack
Now for my personal favorite and newfound solution:
Hang Them On A Hook (And Take Up Less Wall Space)
I love the ease of the towel hook. To be honest, if there is any chance I can avoid folding something, I take it. I know those in humid climates despise the hook strategy because the towel takes more time to dry this way but I see two solutions for this. If you have the space, install both a bar and a hook! Emily has done this in quite a few bathrooms (like the Portland master bathroom you see above) and it really is the best of both worlds. The second option (what I personally do) is to hang your towel over the shower curtain rod so it is spread out, and then once it drys transfer it to the hook.
The towel hook is also a preferred option if you don’t have a lot of wall space and want to free up some space for art. For example…
Here in the mountain house guest bathroom, Emily installed a hook on a cabinet, so no wall space was sacrificed. Instead, there is ample room to hang art or any other wall decor. Also, cute storage cabinets are great ways to store extra towels.
Like I said, hooks are a really great option for smaller bathrooms because they do not take up precious wall space and are extremely convenient to install. All you need is a screw and screwdriver. If you do go this route, might I suggest taking notes from Emily Bowser’s bathroom (above) where she installed hooks directly next to the shower and sink, so a clean towel is always within arm’s reach. I stole this idea for my tiny bathroom and it is one of the better decisions I have made this year. There’s so much less water on my bathroom floor, where before it seemed like a puddle was present at any given time. In honor of safety first, I very am happy with this solution but it is worth noting that I also love the look of the hanging towel. It is effortless yet chic and a great way to display more stylish towels like this or this.
1.Triva Wall Mounted Robe Hook | 2. Massey Double Hook | 3. Trinsic Wall Mounted Robe Hook | 4.Latitude 2 Wall Mounted Single Robe Hook | 5. Townsend Wall Mounted Double Robe Hook | 6. West Slope Knurled Hook
Store Them In A Cute Large Basket
This one is a great storage solution for small bathrooms, especially ones lacking a ton of wall space. You can either roll your towels and store them vertically, or fold them and stack on top of one another. Obviously, you’d also want a hook or towel rack to hang towels to dry, but a basket is a good option for a guest bathroom or a bathroom that multiple family members share (because there’s nothing worse than realizing a clean towel is nowhere to be found).
1.Black Braided Basket| 2. Large Curved Basket | 3. Wire Bin | 4. Large Banana Delilah Tote Basket | 5. Tyler Square Basket With Rope Handle Low | 6. Decorative Coiled Rope Basket | 7. Gold Storage Basket | 8. Round Woven Basket | 9. Seagrass Basket with Leather Handle
Now for the EHD favorite…
Drape Them Over A Ladder
Yep, ladders aren’t just for climbing and hanging blankets. We LOVE them in a bathroom as shown above and below. They are like the really cool, younger cousin of the towel bar. They instantly modernize a room and create vertical storage options which is always a win. Plus, if you have a smaller bathroom, they are not as visually bulky as a storage cabinet would be, thus opening up the space.
As you can see here in everyone’s favorite bathroom, the ladder doubles as decor and storage. That’s form AND function, my friends. The ladder draws the eye up and fills up empty wall space plus holds towels for post-bath coziness. The one you see there is from Katy Skelton and is unfortunately sold out, but here are some others we love:
1.Metal Wall Mounted Towel Rack | 2. Hub Ladder | 3. 2 Piece Blanket Ladder | 4. Natural Maple Decorative Ladder |5. Wall Blanket Ladder | 6. Tower 18″ Wide Decorative Ladder
Now you have your towel hanging solution, why not get some new towels that aren’t just classic white?? You and your bathroom deserve it. (And if you prefer a bath sheet over a bath towel as Emily does, check out #8 and #9).
1.Kassatex Antico Towel Collection | 2. Tuli Black Trim Towel | 3. MicroCotton Spa Bath Towel | 4. Sculpted Dot Towel | 5. Hydrocotton Quick-Drying Bath Towel | 6. Wanderer Towel Collection Set | 7. Fouta Stripe Towels | 8. Spa Bath Sheet| 9.Ribbed Blush Bath Sheet | 10. Textured Stripe Towels Blue | 11. Super-Plush Bath Towels | 12. Core Stripe Hand Towel
So now I want to know, what is your preferred towel hanging strategy? And does anyone have a towel warmer and if so, is it worth it??? All of us at EHD are very curious so let’s chat. xx
Opener Image Credit: Photo by Tessa Neustadt |From: Our Classics Modern Bathroom Reveal
My partner put a towel warmer in his last house and let’s just say I will not be surprised when one magically appears in our master bath. Not “if”, “when”.
A towel warmer is definitely on my wish list!
“infamously” ….Infamous means that you’re well known for some bad quality or deed, that you have a bad reputation. It always has a negative connotation. Loving white towels is probably not an infamous quality. This is not the first time you guys have referred to your appreciation of a thing as infamous… Misuse of that word makes me cringe hardcore. I say this in effort to be helpful. <3 you guys!
Also I'm definitely a towel hook girl. So much less work to keep looking good than a towel bar (I also hate folding) and not a lot of humidity to keep towels from drying out here in sunny Cali. 🙂
Good point, Kah! I was trying to be little cheeky and sarcastic as if it were a bad thing to go for the all white combos haha but thank you! Love that you are a towel hook girl like me 🙂
Agreed. A lot of people give white towels a boring or bad rep, but they really are the best. I’m infamously known for choosing the safe clean white towels and sheets too. 🙂
I see! I guess choosing something timelessly classic will never translate to “infamous” to me. 😂
Yes, the towel warmer is worth it. When we renovated our ‘new to us’ house and the walls were open we had them install a towel warmer next to our show in the master bath. Do some research because all the lovely one’s with an English manor house look that were within our price range didn’t have good reviews (which made me sad as a person who is generally form over function). The heating bars were generally too far apart for a couple that uses 4 different LARGE towels between us. I went with something that had a more modern look (boo!) but that came with a lot of heating bars and we love it! Full disclosure – we are in Chicago, where it is cold in the winter and humid in the summer and your towel never fully dries. What I love isn’t even really the amount of heat on the towel, but that it is not wet and clammy. Our towel warmer came with a timer, so if we hadn’t had the worst electrician (a man that arrived at our job site sulky and angry and just became sulkier over time. No idea why and our general contractor… Read more »
THESE BASKETS. THESE LADDERS!
I live in Vermont and have a towel warmer in each of our upstairs bathrooms. It is heaven on a cold winter night, to step out of the tub and into a warm towel, but the real reason I have them is to dry out our towels before they get mildew-y. If I was building a new bathroom, I’d install the kind hooked up to the plumbing, like in England, but our’s are mounted on the wall over an electric outlet, discreetly plugged in. Just switch it on as you get into the tub and switch it off an hour or so after you hang up your towel. Can’t recommend highly enough for cold/damp climates.
I just want to note that, in my experience, a hook dries your towel better than wadding a towel and stuffing it around a towel bar. If you will not spread out your towel to hang (either by spreading across the whole bar or folding the towel), get a hook. 🙂 Properly hanging on a towel bar is the best, of course, but a hook is not all bad!
Agreed! I have hooks on the back of the bathroom door – towels don’t dry if you fold them and if you don’t fold them you can’t fit enough on the rail!
I’m also team plain white towel – the last for ages, you can’t get a bleach stain on them and if they do start to grey there are so many different products/options to get them white again. Personally I just pop a scoop of napisan in with each wash to keep them white and bright!
People wad up their towels on the bar? Curious. I guess I would just buy another towel bar if I needed more room
We just use S-hooks on our shower curtain rail – super tiny bathroom hack!
Yep, my bathroom is too small for pretty much anything, and I live in an apartment with no central air and no fan in the bathroom (don’t ask me why) so I just keep two towels on hooks in the bedroom. They dry faster that way because I actually have a window and a fan in there, and I feel like it’s more hygienic than leaving them in the bathroom where everything is pretty much within 18″ of a toilet. It might seem inconvenient to keep them in a different room but I get dressed in the bedroom after a shower so it’s easy to just hang it up there next to my closet.
I also keep my toothbrush in a closet outside the bathroom and just grab it on my way in, for the same hygiene reasons.
3M Command makes a large adhesive mount hook with a brushed nickel finish that’s sturdy enough to hold up even big bath sheets and not bad looking. I installed some ~ 9 years ago on the back of the door because I didn’t want to drill holes and they’re still holding up just fine.
We bought the hooks mentioned above. They certainly hold the weight of a wet towel; however, the hook is not far enough off the wall to give clearance between the damp towel and the wall. We began to see mildew after a while of using it. We took them down and looking for a hook that gives more clearance away from the wall.
Love the reminder of the Portland bathroom! I had almost forgotten how clean and beautiful it can be to have polished nickel or even chrome finishes as the entire world seems to now be dying for brass. EHD helped me get into brass years ago and now, it doesn’t feel as special. Nickel and chrome are so classic! I love black finishes too, but those can sometimes feel lifeless.
Team Hook here. I don’t understand the folks that say their towels dry faster folded – it’s the exact opposite! Two wet layers = longer drying time.
The towel bar separates the layers and air can flow in between.
This is true. We have had an opportunity to test this recently. Originally we had two towel bars on one wall, one at kid height and one at adult height. This worked well in our small bathroom. The children were able to learn to consistently hang their towels over the bar.
Lest you assume by their towel hanging abilities that they are exceptionally well behaved, I will share the sad conclusion of our towel bar situation.
My son attempted to climb the wall by means of the towel bars. They are intended to hold towels and not 8 year olds. In climbing, he ripped the adult height one out of the wall. This bent the fasteners that attached it to the wall and we were not able to reattach the bar. So we stuck up a couple of hooks that we had already, intending to deal with replacing the bar but never really feeling sufficiently motivated, you know?
Anyhow, the towels on the hooks are always damp. The towel over the bar dries out nicely between showers. Towel bars win, at least in our humid climate.
Hooks are so much more practical. Quick and easy and especially good for the kids bathroom. I mounted hooks on a piece of driftwood for my kids bathroom and it’s awesome if I say so myself.
If I lived in a colder climate, I would have to have a towel warmer! The hotels in Ireland and London did and that was wonderful!!!
In AZ, towels dry pretty quickly.
We have bars and hooks in different bathrooms and love both!
I would love your advice on a related topic – what to do with a used towel when you have a shared bathroom! We have a beach house that has one bathroom for three bedrooms. It doesn’t work for us to store used towels (aka saving it for the next day/shower) in the bathroom (there limited space and it is hard to track the owner of each towel!). I was thinking of putting towel hooks on the backside of the bedroom doors – any alternative ideas you might have for having them in the bedrooms?
Monogram the towels by room (or owner, if a family member.) Hang three double hooks (if there are two persons per room.)
We did hooks on the doors in bedrooms for this purpose. A simple coat rack would work in the bedroom, too.
We have three kids sharing one small bathroom so hooks were the only thing that would work. My mother (who travels to Greece every year) suggested trying Turkish towels because they dry so much faster and she wasn’t wrong. I love them so much I wound up switching to them throughout the house (even the kitchen) and I really love that my towels no longer smell like mildew in the summer.
Yes, I was thinking the same thing! If you’re really concerned about your towels not drying properly, your towels are probably too thick. The super plush ones are comfy but take forever to dry. Turkish towels are a great option and look cute, too!
Wait…. you mean that it’s not standard to have a radiator in bathrooms in the US? Oh the horror! You guys have no idea what you are missing. Warm (dry) towels!
Isn’t it funny how everyone has different ideas of what is “normal”? I go to Europe and think “why the heck don’t people use shower curtains, it’s a slopping mess every time I shower”, or to Asia and think “where are the screens on the windows, surely they have bugs” as well as “gosh I wish we had on-demand hot water back home”!
Ick on hanging towels over a toilet. I always close the lid when flushing after seeing a graphic on how that flush just aerosols up and around the room. Same reason I keep my toothbrush in a cupboard. Not keen on guests flushing with open lids on my towels.
Yes! I came to look at the comments to see if it’s just me who is disgusted at that one. I also don’t see why you’d have clean folded towels that you aren’t immediately using in your bathroom to get a bit damp every time someone has a shower. Maybe that works better in a hot, dry climate. Or are these towels in use but someone is waiting for them to dry every day and then folding them (because they have too much time on their hands)?
Same! It’s the only spot in my bathroom where I could put a towel hook or bar, but NOPE NOPE NOPE. So gross.
Hi, I get the tone of this article is conversational and cheeky but the use of “…I would neglect my bathroom as if it were my ugly stepchild” at the top was jarring.
In the interest of trying to come with solutions and not just problems, I thought I’d try to think of something else that could go there that was similar in tone but gives stepchildren a break, so, for your consideration:
“…I neglected my bathroom like I’ll neglect my sourdough starter when I’m allowed to go outside again.”
I’m guilty of installing the classic towel bar, but that was before I discovered I really am a hook person. It’s so much simpler to just throw a towel on the hook rather than try to fold it perfectly and drape it ever so slightly on the bar. Thanks for the round up!
I know it’s kind of a design taboo to have an over-the-toilet storage unit, but y’know what.. I have a tiny bathroom and that was the only solution that worked! I’m guessing beyond the “hotel rack” shown above, it’s still an EHD no-no?
As winter starts to creep in, our towels are drying on a foldable drying rack, in front of the gas heater, in a multipurpose room (called a “vestibule” on the nearly 100 year old plans), because our bathroom is tiny and doesn’t get much airflow unless we left the extraction fan on all the time. They stay there overnight and in the morning, one of us folds them into halves and then thirds takes them into the bathroom and plops them onto the stool next to the bathtub, where they stay until the next shower, repeat the process. Is this bothersome? Hell yeah! Would I love a heated towel rack? Hell yeah! Do we have the space for anything other than back of the door hanging? Hell no! So, for the foreseeable future, this is what we do. BTW: Even in sunny Australia, many people have heated towel racks. Not so much for the warm towels (only in winter), but for easily drying towels. Even people who dry washing outside – YES, THIS WHAT PEOPLE IN WARM CLIMATES EVERYWHERE SHOULD DO …. HELLO MOTHER EARTH?!?! If it were only up to me, our towels would be hung outside on the… Read more »
I have bars and love them, but I’m in a humid climate so bars are the best choice in order for the towel to dry properly. Even my hand towel is hung on a bar, instead of one of those hand towel rings. Because I don’t fold it in half, like I would have to do to fit it in a ring, the towel dries so much better! I do have a small bathroom, and am considering installing hooks for guest towels.
If you’re folding a towel and hanging on a bar (like we do) it doesn’t dry any faster than a hook.
When we moved into our newly built house, the builder had not installed any towel bars yet so I looked at the hook option – I think EHD had a post on the towel hook and if it was controversial, so I was interested. Ultimately, I ended up with a towel bar because I think the towels look better neatly folded and hung up. To deal with dampness, I throw the towels in the dryer while I blowdry my hair and they are nice and dry to hang up when I am ready to leave for work. Keeps them smelling fresh and looking fluffy!
Well now I know why you are sheltering in place at the mountain house- look at that bathroom!! I want to live in there!! Magnolia has a black metal ladder too! I don’t like having a hook, because the wall behind it has gotten mold… yuck. I’m considering one of those hotel looking ones bc we don’t have any storage or floor space in our bathroom.
Love this. You HAVE to check out Weezie towels. Highly rec! They are unbelievablyyyy soft and absorbent. Cute, too. Best towels I’ve come across.
I painted an old coat stand and put nice hooks on it. It just stands in the corner and holds multiple towels for my family of 5. Teenagers actually put their towels on it and drying is similar to when I had a bar – which only fit 2 towels and kids never used.
Are you people using towel rods putting only one towel on there so it can dry? Or are you saying that you fold them in half or thirds and then putting them on the bar? I can see the towel drying fast if it’s flat and not folded on the bar, but it seems like hanging on a hook would give it more space to dry than if it’s folded on a rack. I am all for the hooks since it’s fast and easy and I never have a problem with it drying (and it’s pretty humid here in Georgia).
Towel warmer going into new house ! Can’t wait just moved to a cold climate
Yes towel warmer! Putting into new house in new cold mtn climate !!
I have opted for a free standing towel bar – no holes in my new tile. Bonus – I can pick a towel bar that is wide enough not to have to fold towels and it will also accommodate my bath mat. The trickiest part was finding one that was tall enough for my parachute waffle towels. My favorite is from Pottery Barn but it was out of stock so I opted for a black towel bar from Crate and Barrel. Both were quite pricey.
It’s funny to me that two days after this post, I’m rereading it because we were fixing the basement bathroom tile. The installer demoed on Friday and is coming back Monday to install. So with the toilet out and vanity, what a perfect time to repaint.
So here’s my problem – the towel rod was over the toilet next to the bathtub and very off center so I removed it. But the other side of the toilet has the toilet paper holder and my friend said not to put the rod over it bc the towel would drip onto it while drying. I want the area over the toilet to have art.
So is the solution to put a hook on the far wall next to the toilet but not above the toilet paper holder – but is it weird to have a bath towel hanging by a toilet? Or just put a hook on the back of the door and call it a day?