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What is a Towel Shelf?

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  • Written By: Tricia Ellis-Christensen
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 28 November 2016
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A towel shelf is a small to large shelf installed in a bathroom. It can provide extra space to stack a few towels for use as needed, and for some people who lack linen closets, larger shelves can provide great storage for a variety of towels. Some shelves have more than one rack, and though most are affixed to bathroom walls, people can also purchase shelving units that are freestanding and fit above the usually empty space over a toilet.

It’s easy to find towel shelf types in many varieties. They are available at numerous Big Box stores like the Target® and Kmart®, and even more selection may be available at hardware and home improvement stores. Most shelves come with directions on how to install them, and usually have needed extra pieces like screws or mounting hardware. When the shelves do attach to the walls via screws, people may require an electric drill for proper and easiest installation.

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The diverse styles of towels shelves give people lots of choices. Many feature a towel bar below the shelf, which can be perfect for hanging towels in use. One towel shelf gaining in popularity has a warming element. When the shelf is plugged into the wall it warms the towels, which can be very desirable in a cold bathroom or simply whenever anyone steps out of the shower or bath. Care must be taken as to where these are installed in bathrooms so that the electrical cord doesn’t come near a water source.

There is great variance in price on towel shelves. Simple units may still exceed $100 US Dollars (USD) if they are of specific brands or designs. It certainly isn’t necessary to pay anywhere near this price for a shelf. It’s possible to get inexpensive ones that are less than $20 USD. Materials in shelves can differ too — some are simple wood but more often the shelves have some metal components and a few are coated with plastic.

People may wonder where to hang towel shelves, and this really depends on individual need. When a towel shelf has an accompanying bar, it should hang within reach of the tub or shower so that people can get a towel quickly as they exit the tub. If a towel bar is already available in the bathroom, the shelf can be hung wherever it would seem most appropriate. Hanging shelves over or near vanities and over toilets is common practice.

It isn’t always necessary to use a towel shelf in a bathroom. People with adequate shelving elsewhere don’t necessarily need one. Also, these shelves can be used in other parts of the home. Some people install such shelving in kitchens when they need access to dishtowels or simply have greater shelving needs than are provided by cabinets.

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