How to Fold Towels {2 Simple, Pretty Ways}

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Whether the towels are out on display or tucked away inside a cupboard, these two simple methods for folding towels will help you maximize your towels storage in a pretty way! Follow these simple steps for how to fold towels and I guarantee you’ll be looking for a way to display them if they aren’t already out!

This post was originally published on June 13, 2018 and has since been updated.

White towels folded nicely on a wood shelf.

Growing up, one of the chores we traded off doing as children was folding all the towels after they were washed in the laundry.

I still vividly remember my dad teaching me how to fold towels the “right way.”

He wasn’t necessarily concerned with the fact that they looked pretty, but wanted them folded this way so they would optimize the space in our towel cupboard.

And in the moment, I remember rolling my eyes and thinking this was the most ridiculous “skill” to be learning.

And now, years later, I’m teaching all of you how to fold bath towels! I love how things like this work out. ๐Ÿ˜‰

RELATED: HOW TO MAKE YOUR BED PERFECTLY

As a designer, I’ve found that folded towels are honestly one of my favorite ways to add style to your bathroom.

Every bathroom I’ve designed has some sort of open shelving on it with folded towels on display because they add softness to a bathroom.

In my guest bathroom, there are always 3-4 folded towels on the open shelves for guests:

Room makeover on a modern rustic farmhouse bathroom with blue shiplap and brick floor.

In our master bath, we actually store all of our towels (that we use daily) on the open shelves next to our shower:

reveal

Even my overnight guests get nicely rolled towels on their welcome trays!

Stocked welcome guest tray with bedroom, bathroom and kitchen essentials.

If you’ve ever walked into a hotel or spa and wished your towels looked as luxurious and inviting as theirs, then this post is going to rock your world!

Before you get started, make sure you have some quality white (or colored, if you prefer) towels. Here are my favorites from Bed Bath & Beyond, and they’re only $10 each!

Towel Folding FAQ

Before we get to the folds, let’s talk about which one you might want to try and why!

What is the proper way to fold a bath towel?

The proper way to fold a bath towel is dependent on a few things:

  1. Where do you plan to put it? Do you plan to store it in a cabinet, put it on display in some sort of open shelving, or lay it out for your guests?
  2. If you’re planning to store it, how much space do you have there? Do you need to maximize the storage or is there plenty?

Depending on your answer to these two questions, you’ll be able to effectively decide how to fold a bath towel for your space.

If you plan to put it in small storage, try the narrow third-fold method described below.

If you plan to put it on display where there’s plenty of room, try the basic third-fold method!

Or, if you plan to leave it out for a guest or want it to look like a high-end display, use the roll method described in this post.

Is it better to roll or fold towels?

I don’t believe it’s better to roll or fold towels – both methods are equally great at making your towels pretty while saving space.

I’ve personally have found that I prefer to fold towels because it’s quicker and can be done without a large surface to fold on.

That being said, I don’t think the roll method is any less effective or pretty, so if you prefer that way, I say do it!

How do you fold a towel for deep shelves?

Rather than folding your towels differently for deep shelves, consider stacking your towels with two stacks deep on the shelf like I did in this bathroom closet organization project!

How to Fold Towels for a Bathroom

For a printable copy of these instructions, scroll down.

Ok, let’s get to it!

I’m going to teach you two super simple ways to fold your towels that are both pretty and functional.

No matter where you’re storing your towels, one of these methods is bound to help give you a towel folding method that both looks nice and maximizes your storage.

THE THIRD-FOLD METHOD

The third-fold method (as I like to call it) is great for towels that will be stored on open shelves or in a linen closet.

Towels folded this way don’t take up much room and it can be easily modified to fit on smaller or more narrow shelves too.

The basic steps are as follows:

  • Fold into thirds long-ways
  • Fold in half twice
  • Put on display with open edge to the back

Now, for the more detailed steps with pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

STEP 1: FOLD IN THIRDS LONG-WAYS

The first step is to hold the towel in front of you by pinching two of the short side corners.

Next, fold one side in a third of the way (“hot-dog” style).

Then take the other side and fold it over a third as well.

STEP 2: FOLD IN HALF TWICE

After it’s folded in thirds, use one hand to scoop up the bottom end and grab it at the top with the other hand.

Lastly, fold it in half a second time.

STEP 3: PUT ON DISPLAY

When I put my pretty folded towels on display, I prefer to put the open side towards the back and the patterned, or finished part of the towel down.

FOLDING TOWELS FOR NARROW SHELVES

If the shelf you’re storing your towels on is narrower than your towels ends up being when folded in thirds, for Step 2 above, simply fold in half and then in thirds rather than half both times.

As shown below, my mom has some rather narrow shelves in her bathroom and we had to fold hers that way to make them fit on the shelves.

Narrow white floating shelves with bathroom storage in a tutorial for how to fold towels.

THE ROLL METHOD

Many people believe rolling linens makes them easier to store, so if you prefer to roll your towels then this method will be your go-to.

I learned how to roll towels so that I could put them on my guest trays without taking up too much of the tray. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Many hotels and spas use the roll method because it looks cleaner than the fold method discussed above.

The basic steps for how to roll towels for display are as follows:

  • Fold one corner over to the center
  • Fold in half long-ways
  • Turn over
  • Roll the towel long-ways, starting with the side that isn’t folded under
  • Tuck in the corner

And the details with pictures:

STEP 1: FOLD ONE CORNER OVER TO THE CENTER

Begin by folding one of your corners over so that the short end of the towel is aligned with the opposite long side.

STEP 2: FOLD IN HALF LONG-WAYS

Next, fold the towel in half the long way, being careful to keep your prior fold in place.

STEP 3: TURN OVER

After your towel is folded in half, turn the entire towel over.

STEP 4: ROLL TIGHTLY

Starting at the straight end, roll the towel up tightly.

STEP 5: TUCK IN THE END

Lastly, tuck the “pointed end” into the end of your roll to hold it tight.

You should end up with a nicely rolled towel with two seams that cross decoratively on the side of the roll.

Well, there you have it, two super simple ways to fold towels that are both pretty and easy to store!

If these folding methods are new to you, you are not alone!

While it sounds like a basic skill, folding towels in a way that is pretty and functional is definitely a learned method.

Just keep practicing and soon you won’t even have to think about it any more, you’ll just do it.

Here are the printable instructions I mentioned:

Yield: 1 Folded or Rolled Towel

How to Fold Towels

reveal

Get your towels stored effectively using these two simple folding methods!

Active Time: 1 minute
Total Time: 1 minute
Difficulty: Easy

Materials

Instructions

Third-Fold Method

  1. Fold into thirds long-ways
  2. Fold in half twice
  3. Put on display with open edge to the back

Roll Method

  1. Fold one corner over to the center
  2. Fold in half long-ways
  3. Turn over
  4. Roll the towel long-ways, starting with the side that isn't folded under
  5. Tuck in the corner

Notes

If your shelves are narrow, adjust Step 2 in the Third-Fold Method to fold it in half and then thirds rather than half both times.

For deep shelves, try doing two stacks deep on the shelf!

I hope these methods for how to fold a towel help you next time you go to decorate your bathroom or even just put away your clean towels!

Have a great day!

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2 thoughts on “How to Fold Towels {2 Simple, Pretty Ways}”

  1. How lovely! I found these instructions easy to follow and am so pleased with the final outcome! Thank you for sharing your skill!

    Reply
    • Yay! So glad they were helpful! If you share a picture of your folded towels on Instagram, be sure to tag me @joyfulderivatives so I can see! ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply

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