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Install a Towel Bar

Add new sparkle to your bathroom with updated hardware to store your towels in style.

Install a towel bar

Tools & Materials

Product costs, availability and item numbers may vary online or by market.

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Know Before You Shop

  • You’ll likely need at least one pair of wall anchors, even if you manage to screw one of the brackets into a wall stud. We’ll show how to mount them both ways.
  • If you need a custom size towel bar to fit a specific space, buy the next larger size and cut the bar to fit using a hacksaw.
  • Even the best towel bar isn’t meant to be used as a grab bar.
Good to Know

If you need to cut the towel bar, use tape where you’ll make the cut to keep the saw from slipping as you start.

Use a Stud Finder to Choose Your Location

Choose a location for your towel bar.

Bath towels seem to get bigger all the time, so fold one of yours in half and measure its length to get the minimum height to mount your towel bar.

Hold the towel bar in position and use an electronic stud finder to check for wall studs. If you have the space, see if you can shift the bar holders slightly to align at least one bar holder with a stud. Then mark the center of just one bar holder.

Remove the mounting brackets from the bar holders and press one against the wall where you marked the mounting location. (You can rest it on a level to ensure it’s straight.) Use the two holes to mark the mounting screw locations. Watch our video: How Do I Find a Wall Stud?

Good to Know

Install the towel bar at a comfortable height for those who will use it. Make sure it keeps your largest towel off of the floor. Mounting heights of 30 inches for spaces used by children and 48 inches for those used by adults are common. You may want to match the towel bar height to the height of a vanity or sink top to extend horizontal visual lines. Mount the bar in a location where it can be reached easily and won't be mistaken for a grab bar.

Mount Your Towel Bar

Instructions

Step 1

Mount your towel bar.

Now you’ve got two options for attaching the mounting brackets. If there’s a stud behind your mark, drive two long pan-head screws (the ones that are flat on the underside and threaded along their length). If there’s no stud, you’ll need to drill and insert wall anchors.

Watch our videos:

 

Step 2

Measure the distance between the centers of the bar holders and mark that on painter’s tape on the edge of a level. Place one tape mark beneath the first bracket, center the level’s bubble, and place the other bracket on the wall above the other tape mark. Then pencil in the mounting hole locations.

Good to Know

If you don't have a 2-ft. or 3-ft. lever, you can tape a short torpedo level to the face or edge of a yardstick or some other straightedge.

Step 3

Chances are you’ll need to mount at least one bracket using wall anchors. At the mounting hole locations, first drill two holes sized for the wall anchors you’re using.

Good to Know

Drywall anchors may seem like a hassle, but so is having your new towel bar fall off the wall. Once you screw into drywall, you turn that little area around the screw into loose gypsum powder, and screws soon lose their grip.

Step 4

Insert the wall anchors into the holes according to the instructions. Then screw the second mounting bracket in place.

Step 5

Mount your towel bar.

Attach one of the bar holders to its bracket using the set screw and hex wrench provided. (Placing the screw on the underside helps hide it.) Slide the bar in place and mount the second bar holder. Test the installation by lightly pushing the bar up and down to make sure the bar holders catch on the brackets. Now you’re ready to hang up your towels.