Design + Decor

25 Toasty + Stylish Towel Warmers

So would someone please tell me why we are getting January weather, and it’s not even Thanksgiving? Brrrrrr. With the temperatures plummeting and snow already on the ground, all I’m thinking about is staying warm. So today, I thought it made sense to talk about one of my favorite ways to do just that: the towel warmer. Can you even think of anything more satisfying than stepping out of the shower or bath on a cold morning and wrapping up in a toasty warm towel? Me, either.

A staple in fancy hotels and high-end spas, heated towels are now an affordable creature comfort that we can all enjoy. And when the temperatures go crazy cold like they have been lately, their warm, soothing embrace is the utmost luxury.

The Backstory

Towel warmers, also called heated towel racks or rails, originated in 1855 when Franz San Galli, a Prussian-born Russian, invented the first radiator. Filled with boiling water, these radiators helped warm homes and were the predecessors of today’s modern central heating system. It was not uncommon for people at that time to use these radiators to warm and dry their clothing and towels, especially during the winter.

In the 1920s,  the cast iron water heated towel warmer was born and was commonly referred to as a “bath radiator.” Today’s towel warmers are essentially a modern and stylish take on these radiators.

Where We Are Today

Here are a few towel warmers, racks, rails…whatever you want to call them…that are warming my heart today. And if you know me, you know that I wouldn’t share just any towel warmers. They have to look as good as they work because you certainly don’t want to ruin  your beautiful bathroom with some clunky towel warmer that leaves you cold in the design department.

Enjoy! And stay warm.


Electric vs. Hydronic: What’s the Diff?

There are two basic types of towel warmers: electric and hydronic. Both heat from the inside out and are highly efficient. Many even have auto shut-off timers and thermostats.

So what are the differences between the two?

Electric towel warmers are self-contained units that operate separately from your heating system with an electric-powered low-watt element within the towel rail. Some use a “dry” element that heats wire installed in the tubes of the towel bars, while others use a “wet” element to heat oil or water inside the towel rail.

Hydronic towel warmers are connected to your hot water heater or radiant heating system. Like a radiator, the hot water runs through the towel bars, providing even and consistent warmth.




Beyond the Spa Comforts: What are the Benefits?

As if being warm in a snuggly towel wasn’t enough, towel warmers offer these benefits, too:

  • Keep towels fresher by reducing mildew
  • Act as a supplemental heater in your bathroom, reducing dampness that can cause mold
  • Gently dry delicate clothing and swimwear
  • Quickly dry wet outerwear, such as gloves, scarves and hats


What are the Mounting Styles?

Towel warmers are available in three mounting styles: wall-mounted, floor-mounted and freestanding. All three styles are available with the electric versions, but because they’re connected to plumbing, hydronic towel warmers must be mounted to the wall or floor.

Wall-mounted styles are the most space-conscious, and they often serve as a replacement for standard towel bars and shelves. Floor-mounted styles take up a bit more space but pair well with freestanding tubs. Freestanding styles are typically less expensive than wall- or floor-mounted styles but are not available in as many style options and always require a cord to plug into the wall, so they are not my favorite. That being said, they still keep your towels warm and can be moved from room to room. These are a good choice for renters or those not wanting to go to the expense of hardwiring.


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So what do you think? Are you warming up to the idea? I think a towel warmer is a luxurious addition to any bathroom, especially in colder climates. If you’re doing a remodel or building new, keep them in mind. Of course, you can always add one to the bathroom you have, too. And, as always, we’d love to help you create the bathroom of your dreams, complete with a towel warmer. Give us a call at 314.395.1114 or CLICK HERE to contact us.

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