Kitchens & Baths

How to Fold Towels When Staging a Bathroom

towel folding to stage a bathroom

You might have not given much thought to how to fold a towel when you stage a bathroom.  There is one proper way to fold towels and folding technique when you are selling your home.

When folding towels for home staging, it is helpful to remember how towels are arranged in a linen store or display case you might have visited.   If you recall, towels are arranged by color and folded the exact same way for every color and size and placed on shelves by color. This homogeneous arrangement folding method  is called merchandising, and it is what you need to do too.

Borrow Towel Fold Tricks from Retailers

Merchandising is how retailers make the products they have for sale look as appealing as possible while stressing the qualities of each item. Some retailers use folding machines to systematize the folding process so no matter who is doing the folding, the towels all look the same way.  Our folding method maximizes the appeal of the folded towel and is different than most retailers that folded in half widthwise which leaves the edges showing.

You are selling your bathroom space and fixtures, nothing more.  You are merchandising your bathroom with select items that will help it look more appealing and define the function of the room and its size.  Using all the same color and the same size that are new and fresh will get you one step closer to staging perfection.

We have staged more bathrooms than we can count.  We cringe when we see home sellers putting effort into their own diy decor  with ribbons, dried flowers and other unnecessary accoutrements.  This is a distracting practice and we'd love to nip it in the bud right here. Decorations like these just gather dust. They don't say 'fresh and clean'.

Staging Purpose

A towel in a staged bathroom has only two functions.  The first is to visually tell buyers "this is a bathroom and this is where you hang the towels so they are convenient".

The second function of bathroom towels is to add softness to a space that is full of hard surfaces.  Soft or fabric surfaces will also absorb sound because an empty bathroom tends to echo.


We cannot stress enough that the bathroom towels should be white or off white when staging your home for sale. You are not selling the towels.  A bathroom doesn't need a pop of color (we are so "over" that phrase).  It needs to be unbelievably clean and functional.  You don't want people fawning over your towels. You want them looking at the space in the bathroom and the condition of the fixtures and how clean everything is.

White is clean. It reinforces the cleanliness of the room.  No one has to guess if the towels are clean.  They can see that clearly.

Buy a new set of two large white towels that are fluffy and and only use them for staging.  One hand towel on the bathroom counter is enough.  You don't need washcloths or any other sized towels in the bath.  If you have multiple bathroom towel bars, then you'll need two towels for each one.

Steps: Folding the Towel

Here is the method and the steps we use to fold bath sized towels to maximize their merchandising impact for your bathroom.


Step 1.  Set Up

Spread your towel on a flat surface such as a countertop or bed.

Step 2. Start to Fold into Thirds

Fold one third of the towel lengthwise over itself towards the middle.  Make sure each corner lines up perfectly with the edge of the towel and that each side of the towel is even and straight.

Step 3. Making it Look Good

Fold the remaining third of the towel over the third you previously folded. Now you have a towel that is arranged in thirds lengthwise with the bottom edges and each side perfectly aligned.

Step 4.  Fold in Half Top To Bottom

Your towel is now folded in thirds lengthwise. In this step, you fold from top to bottom so that the folded towel is half as long as it was.

a.  To hang in halves, just feed the towel over the towel bar and line up the bottom edges.

towel hung properly on towel bar for stagingb.  To hang in quarters for a plumper look, towel fold the top down to bottom.  Then, pull the soft edge under the towel bar and flip over the top of the towel bar so that you only see the fold from the front.  All the selvage edges and corners of the towel are hidden either in the back or are hidden inside.  Neat. Plump. Success.

Folding Hand Towels

We just don't use the fingertip size when we are staging a bathroom.  Fingertips don't do anything but clutter the space because they are too small to really do much with or create enough softness in the room to be worth the effort. Don't get us started on the fringe: fringe needs to be combed to look pristine and again, not worth the time or effort to make a fingertip look good.  They may fit in the palm of your hands, but they are a staging nuisance.

Copy the same folding method step from above for the hand towel you will place on the bathroom counter.   You will just lay the towel folded in half, not in folding quarters as you would a bath towel as described as an option above. Simple. Straightforward. Not distracting.

You can keep the folded hand towel flat or, if you are feeling creative, you can emply a rolling method.   To do this, just start rolling from the short end until you've got a nicely compact cylinder. Stand the rolled towel up on the countertop.

You've probably noticed that hotels are doing more and more towel rolling lately instead of the classic hotel folding.

Folding Towels For Staging a Bathroom Linen Closet

towels folded correctly for linen closetStorage in a bathroom is usually limited unless you have a linen closet inside your bath.  This is a great opportunity to show how much usable storage space you have in your bathroom.  Staging a bathroom linen closet can greatly add to the appeal of a bathroom.  No one wants to see an overstuffed closet with personal items.  But if you make you linen closet look just like a retail display, they not only won't find objections, but they will be able to see how much space there is inside the closet to store your towels and other necessities.

You fold these towel exactly the same way you did to hang on a towel bar following the instructions above.  The towels shown above are folded into quarters to look plumper.

Home linen closets are no different than other space you stage for selling your home.  You want to highlight the space, not what's in the closet.  Make the space neat with a fluffy stack and make it look boring, and you will get potential buyers to concentrate on the storage possibilities for the linen closet, not your stuff.

A Bit About TV Staging Shows

You're probably saying to yourself, 'but so-and-so' decorates their towels when they stage a bathroom'.  Yes, we've seen those episodes, too.

Selling vs. Entertainment

The difference is that TV shows are for entertainment.  The house has already been sold before they film the episode so you are not seeing exactly what buyers saw.  Cute little knickknacks and themes and crazy colors are to entertain you, they are not to sell the home.

A secondary purpose of including way too much stuff is that they have advertisers who pay to place those products in the home so they can be photographed and viewed over and over with each rerun.  Product placement is big business in TV and movie media.  And it's no different in staging television shows.  That's another reason why so many homes profiled on television look overdecorated.  Producers are selling their editorial content, not just commercials.

That's it.  Not exactly rocket science.  But once you know how to fold towels properly, you will just do it that way going forward by habit. And your next house will have the most neatly organized linen closet you've ever owned.  It's addicting.