DIY Towel Rack with a Shelf

When I was planning our guest bathroom makeover, I knew I had to get rid of the boring builder grade towel bar that hung on the wall. There was nothing wrong with it, but I just wanted a prettier place to hang towels. So, I went to my scrap wood pile and found a few pieces that I could put together to make my own!

If you’re looking for a quick and easy way to spruce up your bathroom, then this DIY towel rack with a shelf is the perfect project!

main-picI really didn’t have a plan of what I wanted to do, but I knew I wanted something simple and with a shelf. I had a bunch of 1×3’s and 1×4’s laying around, so I cut one 1×4 and three 1×3’s to be 16 inches long. I sanded the edges down so they were smooth, and gently sanded over the top of each board, too.

WoodMy 1×4 was going to be my shelf, so I used some wood glue and glued my 1×3’s together and used clamps to hold them in place while they dried.



clamping-woodOnce dry, I sanded down any extra dried glue, and painted the 1×3’s and the 1×4 with white paint. I realized as I was putting it together that since my shelf would be shallow, I’d need something to hold pictures or knick-knacks on without them falling off. I ended up using a 1/4inch balsa wood stick, and cut it to 16 inches as well. This would act as a “ledge” to keep things from falling off. I also painted it white to match the rest of the wood.

painted-woodAfter the paint dried, my hubby helped me put the shelf all together. Using a few long nails, we nailed down the 1×4 to the top of the 1×3’s.


ShelfWe used more wood glue to attach the balsa wood stick to the edge of the shelf, and clamped it while it dried.

clampingAfter the glue dried, my hubby drilled on some hardware. We used these gorgeous ball end two prong oil rubbed bronze hooks from D. Lawless hardware. Not only are they beautiful and perfect for hanging towels, but each hook is only $1.97 right now on sale!! They’re a steal!

Attaching-hooksMy hubby really wanted to make sure this was sturdy and stayed put on the wall, so he opted to use a couple of long wood screws to attach the whole shelf to the wall. Worked perfectly, and I just painted over the screw heads with white paint to help it blend in!

hangingAnd that’s it! Soooo much better than the boring towel bar. This has so much more character, and how it acts as a little shelf, too!

Shelf-front-viewI just love the finished product with decor on the shelf and towels hung and ready for guests.



side-viewI love that the shelf is shallow, but deep enough to hold a little faux succulent and some art!

hooks-closeupSeriously, these hooks are just so pretty! I love how they contrast with the white.

How do you prefer to hang your towels in your bathroom?

Have a fabulous week!

(I link up at these fun parties!)

34 thoughts on “DIY Towel Rack with a Shelf

    1. Thank you, Kelli! I really wanted some extra shelving in our tiny bathroom, and this turned out to be the perfect amount for our space! Thanks for stopping by, hope you’re having a great week!

    1. Thank you, Neil! I agree, I like that this rack you can easily throw your towel up on and it’ll dry just perfectly, too! Thanks for stopping by! ๐Ÿ™‚

  1. This is just what I was looking to do!! I am wondering. Did your husband need to find the studs in the wall first before screwing in the shelf? Did he pre-drill the holes in the wood to keep it from splitting?
    Other tips??

    1. Hi Teija! Yes, my husband did find the studs in the wall first to make sure it was securely fastened on the wall. I don’t believe he pre-drilled holes, but that’s not a bad idea once if figure out where you want it to go! Other than that, it was pretty easy to hang. Let me know if you need any more help! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Hilary! I could definitely do that, though it’d have to wait a couple of months – we are expecting our second child any day now! ๐Ÿ™‚ If you’d still like one in a month or two please send me an email to dwellinginhappiness(at) and I’d be happy to make you one! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I have hooks in my bathroom just like that, but no shelf. I want the shelf too! I’m definitely going to pin this and see if my husband will help me out with it! I have to know though, where did you get that shower curtain?!

    1. Hi Christina! Yes, I love having the hooks AND the shelf in the bathroom too! You guys could easily make this in a weekend. ๐Ÿ™‚ I got that shower curtain at Target! I haven’t seen it there in awhile, but I have seen some very similar ones on their website! ๐Ÿ™‚

  3. Love how the space turned out and color choices are great! Wondering if you bought the “clean” sign or did you make it? I can see finding colored paper for frames and using stencils–my lettering skills aren’t that great!

  4. Do you happen to know what color gray you used for your wall color we have that same curtain and are painting our walls gray as well but gray is so hard. This one looks great!!

    1. Thank you Julie! Yes, we used Dreamscape Gray from Behr. I will warn you though, while it looks gray in the photos, unfortunately the lighting in the bathroom made it almost seem lavender in person. It might depend on the lighting! I still love the color though. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I love this, I’m in the middle of making it and love it so far! So easy, too! As far as the screws for your hooks, did they go through the other side of the wood? The hooks I got, the screws are too long… not sure what to do, suggestions?

    1. Hi Sara! Yes, unfortunately that did happen and I had forgotten about that until you commented this!! Ours didn’t come through TOO much, and since we were screwing it on the wall we didn’t mind too much. But, what you can do is get a really thin piece of balsa wood at the craft store and just wood glue it on the back. I’d hammer it on the screws a bit too so it’s flat. Hope that helps! Send me a picture when you’re all done making it!! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Hi Michelle! I got the shower curtain at Target, but unf. I don’t think they carry it anymore! I believe I saw one similar at Bed Bath and Beyond, though! ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Hi Amanda! I love what you’ve done with your bathroom- it’s beautiful! If you are able to, can you build the shelf and hooks for me? How much would it cost?

  7. This is a great idea for towels I was looking for something like that to create a display for my Turkish towels. I have a quick question what type of white color is that? Is it oil base?

    1. Hi Lena! Thanks for your comment! You know, I actually don’t remember what white I used or if it was oil based! I don’t think it was though, I think it was just a regular indoor paint in a satin or gloss sheen I believe.

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