16 Towel Storage Ideas for Small Bathrooms

When you renovate your bathroom, towel storage is typically one of the important factors you consider in your design. Although this may not be the most exciting aspect of designing and decorating your space, there are towel storage ideas that make all of your hand towels, washcloths, and bath towels look nice and keep them out of the way until you need them. For smaller bathrooms, towel storage can be an unwelcome puzzle that results in towels tossed over the shower rod, fallen on the floor, or stuffed into any small nook or cranny.

Without any hooks or built-in storage racks and minimal or no shelves, finding room to keep all of your items organized can be a nightmare. Luckily, there are always towel storage ideas and hacks available that can help you solve your small space puzzle. If you’re curious about the best DIY towel storage ideas, this is for you. We’ve picked out a host of options that work in bathrooms or spaces of all sizes, and you can see which ones will help you organize your bath towels and make your bathroom look neat and tidy below.

1. Tiered Ascending Baskets

This easy towel storage idea is perfect for those that aren’t very DIY-friendly. All you’ll need is some open space somewhere on your bathroom wall. Ideally, this will be somewhere close to your bath or shower so you can reach over and get a towel when you need it, but this isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker if you don’t have any space available. You’ll also need three square baskets. They could be decorative baskets from your local craft aisle, or they could be something you just liked the look of. The baskets should each be a different size because you’ll make them ascend down the wall.

Pick out a space for your towel storage baskets. Measure and mark where you plan to hang the baskets on the wall. You can attach the baskets to the walls by nailing through the bottom of the basket into the wall, and this will keep the top portion of the basket facing straight out into your bathroom. The biggest basket will go on the bottom, the mid-sized basket in the middle, and the smallest basket on the top. Put bath towels in the biggest basket, hand towels in the middle one, and washcloths in the top basket.

1 Tiered Wicker Basket
Small & Big Baskets by Pattie / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

2. Upcycle a Bicycle Basket

Upcycling old items into something new is a fun way to clear out clutter in your garage, basement, or home while giving it a functional purpose. For this towel storage idea, all you’ll need is an old bicycle basket, some paint, a few screws or nails, hammer or screw gun, and your towels. You’ll also need a big enough space on your wall to hang this basket, so be mindful when you choose the basket you’re going to use. Since it’s older, clean it up a bit before you bring it inside.

Get some spray paint that is specifically for metal. This will help seal the metal from the humidity and moisture in the bathroom. This will also stop the metal from leaving marks on your towels. Allow it to dry well after you coat it. Measure and mark on the wall where you’re going to hang your towel storage basket. Put screws or nails on your marks and hang your basket up. Make sure it’s secured to the wall. Roll your towels and place them neatly in your basket. Depending on the size of the basket, you should be able to get a few larger bath towels in here.

2 Bicycle Basket
Flower Basket Bike by Russ / CC BY-SA 2.0

3. Repurposed Wash Tub

Anyone going for a more whimsical look with their towel storage idea can use this one to get a charming, farmhouse-inspired decor that is both functional and cute. You will need to have or source an old metal wash tub, and it’s better if it’s an oval one over a round one. Oval ones can hold more shelves than round ones can, and this means that you can get more towels or items in it once you get it hung up. Get a 2×4 and measure and mark on the wood the inside dimensions of the wash tub. Cut them out to these dimensions. You should be able to get at least two shelves.

Next, paint your 2×4 shelving pieces and allow them to dry. This will help seal moisture out, and it’s important for your bathroom. Get four screws per shelf and position your shelves in the tub where you want them. Screw through the metal into the boards, with two screws on each side to anchor them in. You can use screws to attach your entire metal wash tub to the wall too. Just make sure you have studs in the way so they’re sturdy and it stays in place. Put your items on the shelves. You can typically fit small towels below the bottom shelf in the tub itself.

3 Metal Wash Tub
Trying out the metal wash tub by Bonner Springs Library / CC BY 2.0

4. Wicker Basket Hand Towel Storage

Space may be at a premium in your bathroom, especially if you have a larger stainless steel sink or a double vanity to contend with. It doesn’t leave a lot of space for hand towels or washcloths. So, what do you do with them? You don’t want to shove them in a drawer or stack them alongside the sink as this can quickly look and feel cluttered. This towel storage idea is very easy, but it does take up a small amount of space on your vanity by the sink. If you can live with it, all you’ll need is a nice wicker basket.

This basket may or may not have a liner in it, it’s all up to what you like the look of. Get your hand towels and washcloths ready. Roll or fold the hand towels and stick them in one end of the wicker basket up to the middle. The other half of the basket is for your washcloths. You can roll them and stack them, or you can fold them flat to try and get more into the basket. Take out a new one whenever you need it. You can wipe off the outside of the basket if it gets dirty.

4 Wicker Hand Towel Basket
Berry’s Creek Gifts by Kayak for the Warriors / CC BY-NC 2.0

5. Ladder Towel Holder

If you don’t mind your towels hanging above your toilet, you can use this fun and unique towel storage idea to get a few bigger bath towels off the floor and neatly hung up. You will need to have an older ladder lying around you can use, preferably wood. You’ll also need to mount the ladder to the wall, so consider which mounts would work best. To start, take your wooden ladder and sand it down if you notice rough edges or peeling paint. Stain or paint the ladder and allow it to dry. This will make it look better and protect the wood from the humidity and moisture in the bathroom at the same time.

The bottom feet on the ladder will rest on the back of the toilet. So, set it up and measure where you’ll want to put your top mounts. The ladder shouldn’t be straight up and down. Instead, it should be at a slight angle, leaning back toward the wall. Attach the ladder to the wall. You can hang towels on each rung. Depending on the size of the towels and how many rungs you have, this could easily hold between 2 and 10 towels of different sizes.

5 Ladder Towel Rack
Ladder Towel Rack by Vegan Feast Catering / CC BY 2.0

6. Wine Rack Towel Holder

Anyone who has ever seen a wine rack knows that it has rounded openings for bottles of wine to sit in. You know what else will fit perfectly into these spaces? Towels. You can get pretty wine racks in all sizes online or in speciality stores. Look around and think about how much space you have for this towel storage idea. This will give you an idea if you can have a freestanding unit that can hold 12 to 15 towels, or one that sits on your counter or attaches to your wall and holds 4 to 6 towels.

When you decide on how large of a wine rack you can have in your space, look for a metal version over a wooden one. Metal can last longer and withstand wear and tear decently well without showing spots or nicks. Put your wine rack in your chosen place and load it up with towels to complete this towel storage idea. It’s best if you roll the towels so they can slide right into the spaces reserved for wine bottles. If you’re using slots for smaller hand towels or washcloths, try to fit several into a single space.

6 Wine Rack
Wine Rack by Duane Storey / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

7. Over the Door Holder

For this towel storage idea, you’ll have to find one of those old-school shoe holders that fit over the door and drape back down the side. They come in several material options that range from plastic to fabric. You can decide which one works best for you. See if it comes with a mounting system for your door or if you have to create something yourself. Ideally, you’ll put the holder in one place and fix it so it doesn’t move a lot and cause wear and tear to your door or chip the paint.

Once you get your holder, attach it to the door. A lot of them come with a simple hook design that goes right over the top of your door to secure it in place. Each slot in the shoe holder can fit smaller towels, washcloths, or even extra bathroom items like soap or shampoo without bulging out too much. Decide what items are going to go in which pockets and load it up. If you’re feeling creative, you can easily label each pocket on this towel storage idea so you know where everything is at a glance.

7 Door Holder
Towel Holder by Chris / CC BY-NC 2.0

8. Wooden Knobs

Maybe you want to keep a more modern bathroom design, and you really don’t have the space for shelving units anywhere on your walls. If this is the case, it makes towel storage a little more difficult because it’s not like you have a large cabinet you can fill and shut the doors. Instead, you have to get creative with how you store your items to ensure that they don’t interrupt the flow of the room or take up a lot of additional space. This is what this very simple design does.

To create this simple towel storage idea, you’ll need a few wooden knobs and screws. You can purchase these wooden knobs online for a few dollars. These knobs are where you’ll hang your towels, so map out on your wall where they’re in reach of the bathtub or shower while still being enough out of the way that you don’t have issues moving around. Attach the knobs to the wall. You shouldn’t have to paint or stain them as this should already be done for you. Hang one towel per knob. Not only is this a nice way to store larger towels, but it’ll dry them between uses too.

8 Towel Knobs
Cleaver Stone Towel Rack in Hotel Skuggi Bathroom, Reykjavik by Lynn Friedman / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

9. Over-The-Shower Towel Rack

What does your shower caddy look like? Many people have a caddy that hangs over the shower head. This is nice, but it doesn’t do anything for your shower storage needs. Did you know that there are shower caddies that double as towel hooks on the other side? Instead of hanging it over the shower head, you’ll hang it over the door of the shower. So, you will need to have glass enclosed shower doors for this to work. If you don’t, there won’t be a neat way to hang it that is sturdy while keeping it out of your way.

Get your shower caddy and hang it over the door on the side of the shower. Load up the interior with all of your soap, shampoo, washcloths, razors, or whatever you like. On the other side of the shower caddy, you should see one or two hooks. These are where you’ll hang your towels(s). As a bonus, this towel storage idea keeps your towels very close to you when you need them, but it’s out of the shower enough to allow them to dry out between uses.

9 Shower Towel Rack
Heated Towel Rack by Gary Lerude / CC BY-ND 2.0

10. Treehouse Ladder Hanger

Remember when you were a kid and you had a treehouse or tree swing? There was a fun rope and wood ladder that led up to them. This towel storage design works well if you already have a slightly rustic design going in your bathroom. It can look out of place in more contemporary or modern design aesthetics. However, it’s also hidden behind the door for the most part, so you could get away with it if you wanted something simple and easy to use. You can make this rope and wooden ladder, or you can buy it.

If you choose to make this towel storage idea, you’ll need two rope pieces cut to the same length. Find a few thicker sticks or wood pieces and drill a hole through each end. You’ll thread the rope through these holes. Knot the rope directly before each hole to hold the step in place. Repeat this process for however many steps you want. At the end, tie both pieces of the rope together and screw a hook into your door to hang it. You can thread a towel or two over each step, depending on how large the towels are.

10 Handing Ladder
Rope Ladder by Andrew Malone / CC BY 2.0

11. Suspended Shelves

For this floating towel storage idea, you’ll need two lengths of rope, three or four thicker pieces of wood to serve as your shelves, a hook, drill, saw, sandpaper, sander, and paint. To start, decide how much space you have for your floating shelves. This will give you an idea on how long you need to cut your boards. Measure, mark and cut your boards to the same lengths to match your desired space. Get out your drill and drill one hole in the center of each end of the board. This is where you’ll thread the rope.

Sand down any rough edges and apply a coat of paint or stain to each board. Allow it to dry completely. Get your rope and knot one end. Run it through the hole in the first board. Do the same thing with the second length of rope. Decide where you want the second shelf to be and knot the rope. Slide the second board onto the rope pieces until it hits the knot on each side. Repeat the process with the third board. You’re now ready to attach the hook to the ceiling or wall. Once it’s ready, tie both rope pieces together and hang them up. Load up your shelves with your towels.

11 Suspended Shelves
Hanging Rope shelves www.apairandasparediy.com by Geneva Vanderzeil / CC BY 2.0

12. Door-Mounted Towel Bars

When you add a bathroom onto your home, it’s easy to forget to leave space for your towel bars. This can be a problem later when you’re looking for towel storage solutions and you realize that you really didn’t leave any wall space for your towel bars and you don’t have any cabinet space set aside for your towels and washcloths. However, this idea makes use of the dead space behind your door that a lot of people seem to forget about. It won’t work terribly well if your door is in an awkward position, but it’s narrow enough to work with most doors.

First, you have to buy or build your towel bars. Most home improvement stores have them available. Get two or three of them. Mark out on your door where you’re going to hang them. They should cascade down in a straight light with a few feet between each bar. Attach them to your door and hang your towels. You can leave less room between them if you’re going to use them for smaller towels. If you’re going to use them for larger towel storage, you want to space them out more so they hang nicely.

12 Door Mounted Towel Racks
aluminum towel rack by Aiko, Thomas & Juliette+Isaac / CC BY 2.0

13. Large Wicker Basket

Wall space may be at a premium in your bathroom, but most people have at least a little floor space off to the side that they can dedicate to towel storage. If so, this is the idea you want to consider. You’ll need to get a larger wicker basket to complete it, and it’s a good idea for the basket to have some form of material inside it so your towels have a protective layer between them and the floor. Additionally, you might want to adhere the basket to the floor to prevent it from accidentally falling over as you use it.

Decide where you want your basket to go and set it up. Roll your towels into tight rolls and stack them upright in the basket. You should be able to get several larger bath towels into this basket. Ideally, you’ll put it somewhere that you can reach from your shower or bathtub. Pull out a towel each time you need it. If you want to add a cute touch, get a chalkboard tag with a little twine and make a bath towel sign for the basket so no one mistakes it for a clothes hamper.

13 Large Wicker Baskets
Axlings Linne (Linen shop) by Vilseskogen / CC BY-NC 2.0

14. Crate Shelving Unit

Maybe you have a tall, narrow space in your bathroom that you’re not sure what to do with. If so, you can fill it with towel storage spaces very quickly and easily. If you can’t get ahold of wooden crates, you can repurpose a wooden pallet too. However, a lot of big box stores will have wooden fruit crates that they’re happy to get rid of and give you if you ask for them. Measure the area to make sure that your crates will fit snugly. Wash the crates and consider applying a coat of paint or stain to them to help prevent warping.

Stack the crates. If the space is wide enough, you can stack them longwase on their side with the open portion facing out. If it’s not, you can stack them with the narrow ends forming the top and bottoms of the shelves and the open portion facing out. You may want to nail these crates together to make them more stable, and consider nailing the whole thing to the wall. Once they’re in place, you can quickly and easily stack towels, shampoo, body wash, and other bathroom items in the shelf spaces.

14 Wooden Crates
Wooden Crate Drawers by Hernán Piñera / CC BY-SA 2.0

15. Double up the Shower Curtain Rods

Anyone who has a shower curtain in their bathroom has room for this simple towel storage idea, and you don’t even have to be handy to do it. You can buy a double shower curtain rod, or you can get an additional tension rod that fits the space where your shower curtain hangs. All you’ll have to do is position it a few inches below your shower curtain and two or three inches in front of it out into the room. This will give you an extra bar that the shower curtain shields from the water when you turn it on.

When you get the rod in place, you can easily loop a few towels over it to store them. This towel storage idea is nice because towels will hang in front of the shower curtain out in the room. They can dry between uses to prevent molding, and they’re generally out of your way as you use the bathroom. It works well for different-sized towels too because it’s several feet off the floor.

15 Shower Curtain
New Shower Curtain by Lynda Giddens / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

16. Repurpose the Vanity

Yes, everyone likes the neat look you get with a traditional bathroom vanity with drawers and closed doors. They allow you to hide a lot of smaller bathroom items without worrying about it looking cluttered. But, you’re missing a great opportunity for towel storage for your smaller towels. As a bonus, they can actually hide the vanity’s storage space too so you’re not completely losing it if you choose to use this idea to convert your vanity to give you more storage space.

The first thing you do is take off the doors. This will leave you with an open space. Get a few tension rods and put them up in this open space, staggering them down the doorway. Hang smaller hand towels or washcloths on each bar. You should be able to get several here to help reduce clutter around your bathroom. You could even stack larger bath towels at the bottom and pile on a few hand towels and washcloths on the top for a fuller look that hides more.

16 Repurposed Vanity

porcelain ceramic bathroom vessel by PickComfort / CC BY 2.0

Bottom Line

These 16 towel storage ideas will allow you to quickly and easily transform your bathroom from a cluttered mess to an organized haven. We highlighted something for every bathroom size, and you can easily incorporate more than one design element to give your towels more spaces to hang until you need them. So, take a look, get inspired, and find the perfect towel storage idea for your bathroom space today.
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