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How to Choose the Right Bathroom Towel Color

If you're on the fence when deciding between white and colored, don't lose sleep over the issue. We have some helpful tips for weighing the options and choosing the best color for your space. Taking time to analyze your preferences and the existing design elements in your bathroom helps you choose between white and colored towels, so you can get back to that relaxing bubble bath.

Pros and Cons of White Bath Towels

Crisp white towels are often associated with spas or upscale hotels. Many people fall on the white towel side of the towel color controversy for the simplicity. White towels offer a classic look with plenty of benefits, but they also have a few potential drawbacks to consider.

When considering white bath towels, ponder these benefits:

  • Versatility: White works in any bathroom setting, no matter what your current décor looks like. It's the classic neutral option that you can pair up with bold colors, other neutrals and anything in between.
  • Cost savings: Due to the versatility, investing in quality white bath towels can save you money. You can change your bathroom décor as many times as you want, and your white towels will always work. This eliminates the need to purchase new towels that go with your new décor.
  • Classic look: Color fads change frequently, but white always remains in style. You don't have to worry about your white towels looking outdated because of the color, since it's a timeless option.
  • Ease of cleaning: Because white towels aren't susceptible to fading, you can bleach them as needed to remove stains and maintain that crisp white color. When you stock all of your bathrooms with white towels, you can do one large towel load without sorting them out by different colors. Different colors of towels require separate loads to prevent bleeding and color changes.
  • Restocking your bathrooms: If you have different colors of towels to coordinate with different bathrooms in your home, it takes a lot more work to sort and put away those towels. The sets often get separated in the wash, requiring more time to find a complete set when you go to restock your bathrooms. When you choose white for all bathrooms, you can easily create towel sets without trying to find the matching colors.
  • Cleanliness: White towels carry a connotation with cleanliness. They're fresh, clean and crisp — exactly what you want when you reach for a towel to dry yourself. Many people like this clean look in the bathroom.
  • Matching new towels: Eventually, you may need to replenish your towel supply to replace damaged or worn-out towels, or you may decide you need more towels after your initial order. When you go with white towels, it's easy to buy extra towels that have the same crisp, white color. Matching other colors when you need additional towels is often more challenging. Even if you purchase the same brand of towels, the dye colors may vary just enough to notice the difference.

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With all of the perks of white towels, there are some drawbacks to consider, including:

  • Stains: White towels show every little stain very prominently. One major source of staining on bath towels is makeup. When you don't fully wash your face, some remaining makeup may transfer to the towel as you dry your face. If you don't treat the stain before it sets, you might never get it out. Using the towels carefully, and addressing stains immediately, can help preserve the integrity of the towels.
  • Yellowing: Another issue that sometimes happens with white towels is yellowing. This makes the towels look old and unclean. Properly cleaning your white towels can help them maintain their pristine white color.
  • Boring: While some people see white as a refreshing color, while others see it as plain and boring. You might get sick of seeing the same white towels in every single bathroom in your home. When choosing towels, decide if white is exciting enough for you.

Pros and Cons of Colored Bath Towels

Colored towels come with their own set of pros and cons. They can liven up your bathroom space and help carry your bathroom's theme. You can find towels in a rainbow of colors, from pale pastels to bold, rich colors. Before you commit to a set of colored towels, consider what they bring to the table, as well as their possible drawbacks.

Some benefits of colored bath towels include:

  • Pop of color: Colored towels offer an inexpensive way to brighten your bathroom with a little color. It's much easier to hang colored towels than to completely repaint your bathroom.
  • New look: The ease of buying new towels makes colored towels a quick way to give your bathroom a new look. When you're sick of the current towel color, buy something new to create a new vibe in the bathroom. It's much faster than redecorating your whole room.
  • Less obvious staining: If you happen to get a little stain on your colored towels, the spot may not stand out as much as it would on white towels, especially if you choose a darker towel color. Always treat the stain as soon as you notice it, no matter the color of the towel.
  • Coordinated look: You likely have an overall design theme or color scheme in each bathroom. Choosing colored towels allows you to coordinate with and enhance that scheme. The towel color can also help set the mood in the bathroom.

Before you stock up on colored towels, consider these potential problems:

  • Fading: Like any colored fabric, colored towels are susceptible to fading over time. This makes them look old and raggedy, even if they still work fine. Splashes of bleach and certain chemicals found in personal care items can cause spots of faded color, giving the towels a patchy look. If you're concerned about fading, choose a lighter color that won't show the fading as much.
  • Laundry considerations: You can't use regular bleach on colored towels, so removing stains can be more of a challenge. The dye on darker towels often bleeds during the first few washing cycles, which can cause damage to other items. You also need to sort out the towels by color when you have some lighter pieces. When the laundry is done, you have to sort the towels by color to keep them organized to go back into the linen closet.
  • Outdated look: You may love those chartreuse towels now, but will you love them in a year, five years or 10 years? Your color preferences often change, which may cause you to eventually dislike your towels, especially if you choose a trendy color. If you remodel your bathroom, the new design scheme may not coordinate with your existing towels, which means an added cost to replace them.

Current Bathroom Décor

Before deciding on a new towel color, spend some time in your bathroom to soak in the existing décor. Your towel color should work with the current colors and design scheme, so they fit in instead of standing out as mismatched. Taking that time in your bathroom can help you pick out the elements you want to enhance with your towel color.

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Consider the current colors in your bathroom first. Will one of your current accent colors work as your towel color? Pulling an accent color from tiles, your shower curtain or decorations in your bathroom can highlight that color, making it more noticeable in those locations. You also know the color works, since it's already in your bathroom.

If you currently have a mostly-white bathroom, carrying that color to your towels continues that monochromatic look. This creates a bathroom that looks bright, fresh and modern.

Avoid colors that compete with existing design elements. It's okay for the towel color to stand out, but you don't want it to seem like it's conflicting with other colors or pieces in the bathroom. This creates a disjointed look.

The overall theme or style of the bathroom can also influence color. If you have a spa-like design scheme, bright yellow towels look out of place and interrupt the flow of the room design. Choose colors that fit into the overall design scheme to create a cohesive look.

Size of Bathroom

The size of your bathroom can also play a role in your towel color selection. Just like wall color affects the way the room feels, towel color can also have an influence. Dark, heavy towels darken the overall appearance of the room, making it feel smaller. Lighter colors on your towels brighten the space instead, and help make it feel airy, light and more open.

If you have a small bathroom, consider white or a light color that coordinates with your décor. If you have an oversized bathroom that feels too large, darker colors can give the space a more intimate, cozy feeling.

Feeling the Color Conveys

Color has a powerful impact on feelings. The colors you choose for accents and furnishings in a room can influence the overall feeling of that space. Towel color is no exception! It can help create or enhance a particular feeling you want in your bathroom.

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Explore the following feelings your towel colors may convey:

  • Zen, spa-like: White towels often convey an upscale, spa-like feeling in your bathroom.
  • Calm: Light shades of blue and green can create a calming feeling in your bathroom. Opt for these colors if you want your bathroom to feel like a relaxing retreat.
  • Energetic: If you prefer to feel energized when you walk into the bathroom each morning, choose a bright, bold color, such as orange or red.
  • Cozy: Rich chocolate brown creates a cozy, safe feeling.
  • Dramatic: If you prefer a bit of drama in your bathroom, go for a rich color, such as purple or black. Both colors are used in design to add a dramatic pop.
  • Welcoming, sunny: If you want to create a cheerful, welcoming vibe in your bathroom, consider adding yellow towels, a color known to create an uplifting feeling.

Purpose of the Towels

Towels serve an obvious functional purpose, but thinking about the decorative purpose of the towels can help you decide on a color. When figuring out what role you want the towels to play in your bathroom, consider these questions:

  • Do you want the towels to stand out as a design element? A color that complements the overall design coordinates with the look while standing out.
  • Do you want the towels to blend in, serving primarily a functional purpose? A neutral color or one that blends in with the bathroom's wall color is less likely to stand out.
  • Will you use the towels in decorative displays, such as rolled in a basket? What colors might look best in those decorative displays?
  • Do you want one color for all your bathrooms, or do you plan to buy different colors for each bathroom?
  • How will you use the towels? If you plan to use them for removing makeup, consider white towels you can easily bleach, or darker towels that hide the stains.
  • Are you ready for a change? Considering your feelings about your current towel color can help you determine if you need a change.

Tips for Choosing Towels

You've weighed the pros and cons and considered the other factors that go into choosing towels, but you're still not sure what to do. Here are some additional tips on how to choose a towel color for a bathroom:

Try different towel colors throughout the year.

  • Mix and match: You don't have to choose a single color for your bathroom. Buy towels in two different colors that work well together and with your décor. This adds visual interest and satisfies your desire for two different colors.
  • Rotate options: Another way to add variety to your towel color selection is to choose different colors of towels for different times of the year. You might choose brighter colors for the spring and summer, for example, while taking a more neutral approach in winter.
  • Test out towels: It can be challenging to pick a color that looks good with your existing décor. If you're up in the air on the color, buy a single set of the color you're considering. Place the set in the bathroom, against various design elements to see how it looks. Observe the towels in different light situations, such as under natural light during the day and under the artificial lights at night. If you like the look, purchase additional quantities of the towels to meet your needs. If you decide it doesn't quite work, go back through your color options and try again.
  • Follow your gut: There really is no right or wrong answer when it comes to choosing a towel color. Go with what speaks to you. If you love the hotel-look of white towels, outfit all of your bathrooms in white. If you find the neutral too boring, add fun color into your bathroom with your towel choice. Ultimately, you have to live with your towel color, so pick the one that makes you happy.

No matter what your final towel color selection is, buying a fresh set of towels in your chosen color gives your bathroom a quick update. Check out our selection of bath towels in a range of colors, from spa-like white to bold, vivid colors.

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