Guest Towel Etiquette is Keeping Me Up At Night
What are the best towels for a guest bathroom? Should I always put hand towels out?
It sounds like you are requesting my opinion on two different towel needs. I’ll just write a small Towel Handbook for you:
Chapter One: The Guest Bathroom
The best towels for a guest bathroom are ones that match and that can dry one’s body after a bath or shower, keep the floor dry and non-slippery upon exiting the bath or shower, wash one’s face, and dry one’s face and hands. So the field’s pretty wide open on this. You just need a matching set of: bath towel, hand towel, two wash cloths, and a bath mat.
Chapter Two: The Powder Room:
I’m very traditional in this area of the home. Hand towels are a necessary gesture in the powder room, aka the guest bathroom. If someone also bathes in or uses the sink frequently in this same bathroom, there is nothing grosser or more terrifying to a guest than having to dry one’s hands on some visibly-used terry cloth mystery towel. I’ve resorted to employing an impractical wad of toilet paper to avoid using a random all-purpose personal-looking towel that’s been hanging there for God knows how long and used by God knows who. It’s something you have to feel out- then again, a guest shouldn’t be put in the position of feeling this out.
Keep some neatly folded cloth towels, either cotton or linen, on the side of the sink, in a basket on the back of the toilet, or on a small shelf. A group or small stack of them will advertise “clean, use me.”
I’m not a huge fan of fancy paper guest towels anymore, except for big holiday parties, or maybe if you got them as a gift- sure why not use them. Otherwise, some non-mysterious simple white cotton or linen, thin towels are nice. Ones which look clean when they are, and don’t cause a panic that the only thing available is someone’s toothpaste towel they forgot to replace. Honestly, paper towels would be better.
And that is not only the shortest Towel Handbook, but perhaps the first.
Aubrey Thorne is an interior designer, feng shui consultant, and astrologer in Los Angeles. She works with clients all over, both in-person and online. Feel free to contact Aubrey to ask a question or to schedule a consultation.