Thick, thirsty bath towels take up a lot of room in the linen closet, so I’ve found a bunch of ways to store towels right where they are used, in the bathroom.
As with sheets, I like to choose a towel color for each bathroom so that they are easy to put away after laundering. I love white towels, but with our well water they do not stay white very long and become a depressed and dingy version of themselves, so I opt for color. As for quantity, I think four of each—bath, hand and wash cloth towels are plenty for any bathroom, maybe double for bath towels if you have teenagers taking a lot of showers.
The most obvious storage is to load your towel racks with towels for current use. Then, if you have a cabinet under the bathroom sink and can make some room, line the floor of the cabinet with drawer liner and stack towels there. Even if there is not enough room for bath towels, you can usually find one drawer or cabinet in the vanity to hold extra hand towels and wash cloths. Pedestal sink owners–oh ye with little storage–read on.
For bath towels, you can squeeze a lot more into a space by rolling them like they do in health spas. If you have some floor space, roll the bath towels and stick them into a large basket. Here you can get creative and work with your décor. Try a milk crate, a vintage magazine rack, a fireplace log tote, an Indonesian rice carrier, etc.
If you don’t have floor space, look into an inexpensive over-the-toilet shelving unit such as those available at Bed, Bath & Beyond or Pottery Barn. Roll the towels and stack them on the shelves. Measure to be sure the shelf is deep enough to hold the towels but not so deep that you hit your head when getting up from the toilet! The best idea is to take a towel with you and shop for shelves; don’t try to do it online if possible. Pottery Barn has a terrific ladder-style unit that includes baskets for folded towels and other bathroom necessities. The benefit of these units, especially for renters, is that you don’t have to drill holes in the wall.
For an Asian-inspired minimalist bathroom I’ve used an old ladder propped against a wall with towels draped over every rung (except the lower two, so the towels don’t touch the floor).
If you don’t mind drilling holes, there are some wonderful folded towel storage options from Crate & Barrel. There is nothing like coming out of a hot shower and grabbing a fresh rolled towel, so make it within easy reach of the open side of the shower door. The other options—we’ve all been there—is the naked and dripping wet tip toe to the linen closet or the standing in the shower yelling for a towel. Not so spa-like!