How to Hang Bathroom Towels So They Always Look Nice

Gray and white striped towels folded neatly and hanging in bathroom rack

The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Hand towels are not just a practical must-have item for your bathroom or powder room, they’re a great way to add a decorative touch and a splash of color and pattern. 

What Is a Hand Towel?

As the name suggests, a hand towel is used to dry your hands and usually hangs directly next to the sink for easy access after you’ve washed your hands. A hand towel is generally 15”x25” to 18”x30” in size and besides being a practical accessory, it also adds a nice decorative touch to a bathroom or powder room.

There are numerous ways to hang them — from a simple wall hook to stylish towel bars and rings that come in various shapes, sizes and materials. Keep your bathroom neat and your hand towels always on hand with the following folding and hanging methods.

Use a Wall-Mounted Towel Ring

A towel ring is a good choice for a small bathroom or powder room as it doesn't take up much space. If you have a double vanity and space permits, hang a towel ring on each side.

  1. Place Towel Front Down and Fold

    Place the hand towel on a flat surface with the decorative side face down and flatten it out to remove any wrinkles. Fold the towel vertically into thirds so it looks like a skinny rectangle.

    Gray and white striped towel laid flat and folded vertically into thirds

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Loop Through the Ring

    Take the folded hand towel and loop it through the towel ring with the decorative side facing up and the seam side down. Loop it through the towel ring halfway, so that half of the towel hangs on the front side and the other half on the back.

    White and gray striped towel folded into thirds and looped between ring

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Hang It On a Towel Bar

Towel bars come with a single or double rod, in various lengths and sometimes have a shelf on top to store extra towels. You can use the above folding and hanging method for the towel bar as well, or use the following.

  1. Lay Towel Front Down

    Lay the hand towel down on a flat surface with the decorative side facing down. Smooth it out to remove any creases and wrinkles.

    Gray towel laid front side down with wrinkles smoothed out

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Fold in Thirds Lengthwise and in Half

    Fold it in thirds vertically, so you have a long skinny rectangle. Then, fold the towel in half.

    Gray towel folded in half vertically

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  3. Drape Over Bar

    To hang it on the towel bar, take the folded towel and drape it over the bar with about a third of the folded towel hanging on the back of the bar and the rest, with the decorative side showing, hanging on the front.

    Light gray towel folded and draped over bathroom towel rack

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Use a Towel Hook

A towel hook will take up the least amount of space out of all the towel hanging options, so if you're working with a tiny powder room, this is the way to go. There are single and double towel hooks if you need to hang more than one towel, but for a single towel hook, here's how to hang a hand towel so it looks nice.

  1. Lay Towel Front Down

    Take your hand towel and place it on a flat surface with the decorative side facing up. Smooth it out to remove any creases.

    White and gray striped towel laid flat on marble surface

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

  2. Pinch and Drape

    Using your fingers, pinch the middle of the top long side of the hand towel and drape the towel over the hook. Straighten out the hanging towel, pulling down the ends to flatten it out and create symmetrical hanging folds.

    White and gray striped towel pinched in center to drape over hook

    The Spruce / Meg MacDonald

Double Up On the Towels

For a more formal look or in your guest bathroom, double up on towels for a dressier feel. Either layer a hand towel over a bath towel or a wash cloth over a hand towel for a plush, layered effect. Use a coordinating towel set for an elegant, put-together look or pair towels with contrasting colors and patterns together for a fun look.

For a Towel Ring

Fold the hand towel using one of the methods described above and loop it through the towel ring. Take a wash cloth and fold it in the same way you did the hand towel, then loop it through the ring and layer it over the hand towel. This would look particularly nice with a monogrammed or decorative wash cloth.

For a Towel Bar

For a towel bar, you have two options. If you have one or two bath towels draped over the towel bar, you can hang your folded hand towel over each of the bath towels, with the decorative side or end of the hand towel displayed in the front. If it's a smaller towel bar that's being used for hand towels only, hang your folded hand towels on it, then layer wash cloths folded in the same way over the hand towels.


For something a little more unique, consider using a towel ladder to hang your hand towels as well as your bath towels. It's a great way to use vertical space, add a rustic touch and create storage without having to drill holes in the wall.