How to Fold Decorative Towels

Having beautifully folded towels in your bathroom can make it feel so much more inviting and luxurious.

How to Fold Decorative Towels

Whether you’re looking to impress guests, add a spa-like touch to your home, or simply keep your towels neatly organized, learning some decorative towel folding techniques is a great idea.

Simple Trifold

The trifold is a classic folding technique that’s perfect for neatly storing towels or draping them over a towel rack or bar. Here’s a step-by-step guide to this straightforward fold:

  1. Lay the towel flat. Spread your towel out on a clean, flat surface like a bed or table. Make sure there are no wrinkles.
  2. Fold into thirds lengthwise. Take the left side of the towel and fold it inwards so the edge meets the middle of the towel. Do the same with the right side, folding it over the first fold.
  3. Fold in half. Fold the towel in half widthwise, bringing the two short ends together and lining up the edges.
  4. Drape over towel rack. Lift the folded towel and gently place it over your towel rack or bar. Adjust as needed so the edges hang evenly.

The trifold keeps towels neat and organized while being super simple to do. It’s perfect for daily use or when you have guests coming over.

Key Takeaway: The trifold technique involves just folding the towel into thirds lengthwise and then in half. It’s an easy way to neatly store or display towels.

Rolling Spa Fold

The rolled spa fold makes your bathroom feel like a luxury resort. It’s one of the most popular decorative folds for storing towels in baskets or displaying them on open shelves.

Follow these steps to master the spa roll:

  1. Lay the towel flat. Spread out your towel smoothly on a flat surface with no wrinkles.
  2. Fold down one corner. Take one of the corners and fold it diagonally into the center of the towel so it makes a triangle shape.
  3. Roll tightly. Begin rolling the towel away from the pointed corner, rolling it as tightly as possible.
  4. Tuck in pointed corner. When you get to the end, tuck the pointed corner piece into the roll to secure it.

The finished towel roll will be rounded at one end and come to a point at the other. It looks simple yet elegant when arranged in a bathroom.

Key Takeaway: The spa roll involves folding one corner into a triangle, then rolling the towel up tightly from the opposite end and tucking in the point.

Elevated Functional Fold

This technique yields a neatly stacked square towel fold. It’s great for maximizing storage space while also keeping towels presentable for guests. Follow these steps:

  1. Fold in half lengthwise. Lay the towel flat and fold it in half so the long edges meet.
  2. Fold into thirds. Take one side and fold it inwards to meet the center fold. Do the same with the other side. You’ll have a long folded strip.
  3. Fold into thirds again. Now fold the towel into thirds from the other direction, bringing the short edges inwards so they meet at the center.
  4. Create square. You’ll be left with a tidy square fold. The hidden seams give a smooth, luxurious look.

This technique does take a bit more time than a basic trifold but is perfect if you want neatly stacked towels. Arrange them on open shelves or in cabinets.

Key Takeaway: The elevated functional fold makes a square towel fold by folding in half lengthwise, then thirds both length and widthwise to conceal messy edges.

Fancy Pocket Fold

If you want to take your towel folding up a notch, try this pocket fold. It’s a bit more advanced but lets you add a decorative accent inside the pocket.

  1. Lay the towel flat. Position the towel so the long edge is facing you and the tag is hidden inside.
  2. Fold in one short side. Take the left short side and fold it inwards about 1/4 of the way.
  3. Flip over. Turn the towel over being careful not to disturb the fold.
  4. Fold into thirds. Fold the towel into thirds lengthwise to create a long strip.
  5. Create pocket. Loosely fold the pocket flaps together to secure the backside.
  6. Add washcloth. Fold a washcloth into pleats and place it inside the pocket.

The pocket fold takes some practice but looks amazing. Play around with different washcloths, ribbons, or other decor inside the pocket.

Key Takeaway: The fancy pocket fold involves folding one short end in, flipping over, folding into thirds, then securing a pocket to hold a decorative washcloth or accent.

Pleated Fan Fold

This is another advanced decorative folding technique that looks beautiful draped over a towel rack or bar. It takes some extra time but is worth it for the final look.

  1. Fold towel in half. Fold your bath towel in half lengthwise so the long sides meet.
  2. Create pleats. Pinch the towel at the two upper corners and bring them inwards to the center to create pleats. Repeat this down the towel.
  3. Fan out washcloth. Separately, fold a washcloth into narrow pleats in alternating directions to create a fan shape.
  4. Insert washcloth. Carefully insert the fan folded washcloth in between the pleats of the towel about halfway down.
  5. Drape over rack. Lift the towel and place it over your towel rack. Adjust the pleats and fan washcloth as needed.

The pleated towel with a contrasting washcloth fan makes a real statement in any bathroom. Use colored washcloths for extra pop.

Key Takeaway: The pleated fan fold involves creating narrow pleats in a towel and inserting a fan folded washcloth to create a decorative look.

Roll Fold for Storage

If you’re short on storage space, this rolled technique helps towels take up less room while avoiding creases:

  1. Fold in half lengthwise. Lay towel flat and fold it in half so the long sides meet. Avoid pressing down on fold.
  2. Fold in half widthwise. Fold towel in half again but this time bringing the short ends together.
  3. Repeat widthwise fold. Fold towel in half widthwise one more time to create a long folded rectangle.
  4. Roll up. Gently roll up the folded towel from one short end to the other.
  5. Store rolled towels. Stand the rolled towels upright in your cabinet or slide them horizontally onto shelves.

This folding method keeps towels neat and wrinkle-free while maximizing storage space. It’s quick and easy – perfect when you’re short on time!

Key Takeaway: The roll fold technique involves gently folding the towel in half both length and widthwise, then rolling it up loosely to avoid creases while saving space.

Wear-Reducing Fold

Constant folding and hanging of towels can lead to wear and thinning of the fabric over time. This technique minimizes that:

  1. Fold in half lengthwise. Lay the towel out flat and fold it in half lengthwise. Avoid pressing down hard on the fold.
  2. Fold in half widthwise. Fold the towel in half again but this time widthwise, bringing the short ends together.
  3. Repeat widthwise fold. Fold the towel in the same widthwise direction one more time.
  4. Hang over rack. Drape the folded towel over your towel rack or bar. The gentle folds help preserve the towel’s thickness and absorbency.

While not the most decorative fold, this method helps extend the life of your towels by avoiding harsh creases from continuous folding in the same spots.

Key Takeaway: Folding towels lengthwise, then loosely widthwise before hanging helps reduce wear and tear from repetitive folding along creases.


What are the best towels to use for decorative folding?

Look for good quality, absorbent towels made from materials like cotton and microfiber. Opt for thicker towels that will hold their shape when folded. Standard bath towels around 27″ x 52″ are a good size to work with.

How do I keep folded towels looking nice?

Refolding towels every couple of uses prevents permanent creases from forming and distributes wear evenly. Also wash towels regularly to keep them fresh and lint-free for a neat appearance.

What can I use to decorate fancy folded towels?

Washcloths, hand towels, and bath mats in coordinating or contrasting colors make great decorative accents. You can also use embellishments like ribbons, fabric flowers, or essential oil filled ornaments.

How do I properly store folded towels?

Folded towels can be stood upright, stacked, or rolled in cabinets and drawers. Use open weave baskets or wire racks to allow airflow and prevent mustiness. Or neatly arrange folded towels on shelves.

How do hotels and spas get towels folded so neatly?

Hotels have large commercial laundry machines that produce very wrinkle-free towels to start with. Staff are also trained on efficiently folding towels using seam hiding techniques for crisp, clean folds.


Learning a few key towel folding techniques like the classic trifold or fancy pleated folds can instantly make your bathroom feel more inviting.

Neatly folded towels create a sense of luxury, help keep your space organized, and make a great impression on guests.

Emma Kellam
Emma Kellam

I'm Emma, and I run Towels Edition, a website for fellow home goods enthusiasts who, like me, are passionate about textiles. After working in high-end retail, I was amazed by how little most people (myself included!) know about all the towel options out there.

I research and write all the content myself. Whether it's specialized towels like bar mops, Turkish cotton production methods, or comparing hair towel absorbency, I cover it. My goal is to share my knowledge and enthusiasm to help others.

Running Towels Edition allows me to constantly expand my own expertise too. I love learning about innovations in bamboo fabric or ideal bath towels. It's so rewarding to receive emails thanking me for recommendations that improved my readers' routines.

I want Towels Edition to be the ultimate online towel resource, making this overlooked necessity far more fascinating. My aim is to open people's eyes to how specialty towels can thoroughly enhance hygiene, cleaning, recreation and self-care.