How to Install a Towel Bar for Proper Bathroom Organization

Adding a towel bar to your bathroom is an easy way to improve organization and free up precious space. Properly installed towel rack provides a handy spot to neatly arrange and store towels, while giving your bathroom a clean look.

Installation process is very simple. With a few basic tools, and by following the simple instructions below, you’ll have a towel bar installed in no time.

Safety Disclaimer

Putting up a towel bar is usually easy, but doing it wrong could hurt you or damage things. Always be careful when using power tools and drilling into walls. If you have to do something complicated, like wiring or plumbing, it’s a good idea to ask a professional to do it for you so you don’t get hurt.

Necessary Tools and Materials

Before starting any installation, it’s important to gather all the required tools and materials. Having these essential items available will ensure that the project runs smoothly from beginning to end:


  • Level – Allows accurate marking of mounting bracket locations to ensure the towel rack is straight.
  • Stud finder – Helps locate wall studs for secure mounting bracket attachment.
  • Drill – Used to drill holes for brackets as well as create pilot holes for screws.
  • Screwdriver – Necessary for driving screws to attach brackets and towel bar.


  • Towel bar – Available in a range of sizes, shapes, and finishes to match your décor. Consider expected towel use to determine adequate length.
  • Mounting brackets – Included with towel bar or purchased separately depending on bar type. Allow secure wall mounting.
  • Screws – Provided with towel bar or brackets. Must be suitable for mounting surface material. Wall anchors might also be needed for drywall or tile.

Locating the Ideal Position

With the necessary tools ready, it’s time to decide where to put the towel bar. The best place depends on few things, like:

1. Available Wall Space

Think about where people move around in the bathroom and where the windows or mirrors are located. Find spots with enough space to fully install a towel bar and use it for hanging towels.

2. Mounting Surface

Towel bars are most secure when screwed into the wood studs inside your wall. Finding these wood studs is an important first step.

Here is the easiest way to find them:

  • Use a stud finder tool. Slowly slide the tool across the wall, pushing lightly. The tool will beep or light up when it senses a wood stud inside the wall.
  • Mark both edges of the stud with a pencil. The stud will be between your marks. Keep sliding the tool across the wall to find all the hidden studs in that area.
  • You can also look for small dents or lines in the wall surface. These often show where stud edges are. Knock gently too. Stud areas sound solid and dull. Empty spots in the wall sound hollow.
  • Measure 16 inches over from any stud you find to the next possible stud. Most walls have studs this far apart.

Once you mark the stud locations, you’ll know the best places to drill holes for the brackets. Attaching to studs gives towel bars the most strength and stability.

3. Bar Height and Length

The standard height for a towel rack is about 48 inches from the floor. This height is comfortable to reach and high enough to prevent towels from touching the floor. For the length of the towel rack, allow at least 24 inches of space for each towel that you expect to hang.

4. Bathroom Usage

Will guests need to use the towel bar? If so, place it near the sink in a convenient spot, just beyond the reach of the swinging doors. For family use only, towel bars mounted on the side walls near bathtubs are a good choice.

Man measuring the distance between the mounting brackets for the towel bar.

Step-by-Step Process

Follow these easy steps:

Step 1: Mark Bracket Placement

Use a level to mark where you will attach the towel rack brackets. Make sure the marks are perfectly straight and match the length of the bar.

Step 2: Drill Holes

Drill holes at all the marks. If drilling into wood studs, make holes a little smaller than the screws. For drywall, use wall anchors that fit the screws.

Step 3: Mount Brackets

Hold the metal brackets over the holes and attach them with the screws provided. Tighten screws gradually to pull brackets flat to the wall.

Step 4: Attach Bar

Carefully line up the towel rack ends with the bracket screws sticking out. Once aligned, use a screwdriver to tighten the bar securely.

Step 5: Confirm Stability

Firmly grasp the bar with both hands and push down moderately. The bar should feel completely sturdy without any looseness.

Now that you’ve completed the final step, your bar is ready to use! All that’s left to do is hang your favorite towels on it and enjoy your handiwork.

Benefits of Proper Installation

  • Towels hang straight instead of piling up messily. This makes things look cleaner.
  • You can reach a towel easily when you get out of the shower or wash your hands.
  • Hanging towels gets them off the floor and counters. This gives you more space for other things.
  • The towels look neat and tidy when hung evenly.
  • Many towel bar styles let you customize for your bathroom’s look and space.
  • Bars are very sturdy for holding multiple towels. They last many years without coming loose.

Choose the Best Towel Bar for Your Bathroom

Think about how you’ll use it to pick the right one:

  • Length: Consider how many might use it at once and if for drying bath towels or smaller hand towels. Allow 24 inches per towel. Standard lengths are 18, 24, 30, and 36 inches.
  • Mounting Style: Basic models have removable end caps to mount onto protruding wall screws. More advanced spring-loaded pop-out brackets provide easier installation.
  • Material Type: Common options include stainless steel, chrome, brass, nickel, ceramic, bamboo and enameled steel. Choose to match faucets and handles or overall décor scheme.
  • Extendable Arms: Some bars have side arms that fold out for more drying space.
  • Towel Racks: Certain bars add shelves above to neatly display fancy towels or bathroom linens.

With many choices available, choose features to best fit your bathroom and how you’ll use the towels.

Man standing back to admire his work, with the newly installed towel bar in the background.

Additional Tips and Troubleshooting

  • Finding Studs – Slowly move an electronic stud finder across the wall. Mark edges to pinpoint. Check center with a thin nail before drilling.
  • Heavy Towels – For big fluffy towels, use special anchors rated to handle extra weight in drywall.
  • Tile Walls – Drilling tile needs special masonry drill bits and anchors. Use painter’s tape over drill spots to prevent tile damage.
  • Loose Bar – If the bar wobbles, try tightening all screws further first. Shimming uneven brackets can also help. If still loose, remounting brackets may be needed.


Installing a towel bar can be a quick and easy way to enhance the functionality and style of your bathroom. With the help of this simple guide, you can confidently install this item, even if you lack prior experience with DIY projects.


Let’s address some common questions.

How do you install a towel bar without drilling?

Installing a towel bar without drilling is challenging, but there are adhesive mounting options available. Look for high-quality adhesive towel bar holders designed for bathroom surfaces. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully for a secure mounting solution.

Do towel bars need to be installed in studs?

Installing into studs behind the wall provides strongest support. For heavy use, large families, or thick, fluffy towels, using studs is best. Wall anchors can be used in drywall between studs for lighter duty.

Where do you install towel bars?

Choose installation locations based on your bathroom layout and needs. For guest use, install near the sink, just beyond the swinging door’s reach. For family use, consider side wall installations near bathtubs.

How do you attach a towel bar to the wall without screws?

While screws are the strongest way to attach a towel bar, you can also use adhesive tape or glue. Make sure the adhesive is made for use in bathrooms, carefully follow the instructions, and let it dry completely. Keep in mind that adhesive methods may not be as durable as screw-mounted installations.

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