Weekly Window Shop: Statement Towels

statement towels

I’ve been looking for something to jazz up my very plain bathroom, but something soft, steam-tolerant and relatively portable. A flash of colour, a punchy pattern, a sort of moveable visual feast, if you will. And what’s more soft, steam-tolerant and movable than a snazzy towel? If you get a good one (not that easy, we’ll come to that) then it’s basically a piece of portable artwork and – more to the point – portable artwork that you can dry yourself with. To coin a very wanky phrase indeed, one I fear I may have even invented, what I need in my bathroom is a selection of Statement Towels.

My bathroom is beige beyond belief; top to toe travertine (I think) with white sanitaryware and not a jot of colour or texture to be seen. I’m not moaning, because it’s absolutely luxurious and impeccably done (jolly good show, previous owners!), it’s just very, very beige.

I have nothing against marble and I have nothing against tiles, but there’s nothing less welcoming in the place where you bathe than the cold echo of your own pathetic sploshing. Drip drip drip goes the tap, as the steam settles on the cool walls and turns into condensation. It’s all so…beige. And my existing towels are – you’ve guessed it! – beige.

A bit of commitment-free fun is needed and so here are the towels that I have painstakingly shortlisted via around eighty hours of internet searching. For some reason, patterned towels – unusual and striking ones – are few and far between. I thought I’d be spoilt for choice – perhaps I could pick from a selection of gorgeous Liberty print towels (don’t exist) or there’d be some incredible Fornasetti-style fantastical bath linen with Lina Cavalieri’s face on (also not in existence) – but no. Slim pickings.

I hope that I’ve picked out a few of the best – bold patterns and quirky images that veer away from the usual “looped” and “plush with border” styles that inevitably get picked up every time you need new bath linen. So if you have a bland bathroom that’s in need of some fun then take a look – obviously I’ve picked these with my own space in mind, but there are different colourways available.

PIP STUDIO

PIP studio towel

PIP Studio’s Good Evening Towels – €19.95 for the bath towel here, various sizes and colours – are an absolute riot. I hadn’t heard of PIP before but when I found them on the Great Towel Hunt I realised that I was already familiar with their designs.

PIP studio towel

They have a retro-chintzy sort of vibe about them, but are a welcome alternative to the geometric patterns and Missoni-esque stripes that seem to dominate the towel offerings.


HARLEQUIN

best statement towel

This Demoiselle design is an absolute beauty, fits my “portable artwork” criteria very nicely, and I’m just in the final throes of deciding on which colour to go for. Large bath towels (70x130cm) are £32 and you can find them at Amara here* but there are hand towels and guest sizes too. I’m not sure I’d go for a set, to be honest – I think they would look cooler offset by a different pattern or a plain towel, but who am I to judge?


CHRISTY

christy cabana stripe beach towel

I cannot even tell you how long I’ve been searching for good quality striped towels in eye-searingly bright colours. The thick striped ones tend to be beach towels, which is fine by me, but still I couldn’t find any that looked swanky enough to hang in a relatively chic and grown-up bathroom. And today, when I popped online to finish this post, I found Christy’s Cabana Stripe beach towels with great colours (six to choose from) and a very decent level of plushness.

christy cabana stripe beach towel

You can find them online here – they’re £25 each. The pink and yellow would look brilliant together!


ZARA HOME

zara tassel trim towel

Moving away from print and colour and concentrating on texture; last week I went and bought a load of these tassel-trimmed towels from Zara Home. I just thought that they were rather novel and had a cool, bohemian sort of edge to them. Annoyingly, the tassel trim is only on one short end, which is rather stingy if you ask me, but still; if you’re into “styling your home” and have enough time to be arranging little tassels all over the place then you’ll love these.

The large sheets are £25.99 and the smaller (tiny) ones are £9.99 here.


FINE ART AMERICA

And now on to my piece de resistance; actual portable art, in that it’s actual art that’s printed onto actual towels. Fine Art America have hundreds of designs from abstract patterns to well-known masterpieces. Personally, unless you’re after a novelty look, I’d stay away from masterpieces like the Mona Lisa and Van Gough’s Sunflowers – they could look like the kind of thing you’d get in a tourist shop when you visit the Leaning Tower of Pisa – but there are some absolute gems that could look really striking.

I have no idea re quality – the site says “brushed micro fiber with a 100% cotton back” but to be quite honest, that could either feel like the world’s mankiest duster or a luxurious spa towel. Who knows? Maybe I’ll order one and find out!

printed fine art towels

I rather like the tropical island florals, above, and the William Morris prints, but I think I’d have to see them in the flesh, so to speak. Anyway, a nice idea, if indeed the quality is up to scratch. You can find all of the designs online here – bath sheets are around £26 each.


Add your own suggestions in the comments, if you have any – I’ve become towel obsessed in the past couple of weeks so I’m intrigued to see if anyone else has used bath linen to change the look of the room!

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19 Comments

  1. May 18, 2019 / 3:59 pm

    I haven’t read this article yet, although I can already say I loved the pictures so much I sent a link to my sister who loved them too. Just came here to say thank you for talking about the importance of pro-choice on your instagram stories. The world is going backwards on this, let’s look at what’s been happening in Spain for example. An unwanted child is unlikely to turn out happy. Some famous criminals/serial killers are the results of unwanted pregnancies , some were hated by their own mum and guess what the result is?

  2. Josephine
    May 18, 2019 / 3:18 pm

    I would go for a solid color..dark blue or even black towel to give balance to the beige color, along with a small vase with a green twig in it and a scented candle. Perhaps the handsoap bottle in orange or red to bring in some edge. Look up feng shui and try to get all the elements into the room, i did this last time we moved and it makes it soooo much easier to figure out why a room doesn’t feel ”ok”.
    Love your blog, hi from Sweden :)

  3. Poorani
    May 18, 2019 / 12:35 am

    I got obsessed with prints so much that I wore printed shirts, pants, scarves and carried printed bags and it took me while to see that I seemed like a buffoon. I have dialed it back to just one printed item in my outfit. Mostly.

  4. Betsy Ross
    May 16, 2019 / 3:17 pm

    I am quite loving my beige right now. Beige is everywhere in my home Found I’m too lazy to decorate as of late but did add fuschia flowers to bathAnd the towel research you did is astonishing. I like the dragonflies, of course, more of a beige. So if I were a painter, they would name this as my “beige “ period. Perhaps my mood is refective of that and, perhaps change is coming as I am fascinated by the Orioles at my feeder. Chubby lumps of orange black, white, even tangerine ❤️

    • May 16, 2019 / 5:40 pm

      I like that you’ve named it your beige period! I actually love beige, but coupled with the hard tiles it just feels dullsville. Maybe it’s actually the tiles, full stop!! x

  5. May 16, 2019 / 10:15 am

    I did exactly the same search last year and was surprised at how few options there were! Got some great ones from La Redoute in the end.

  6. Emma
    May 16, 2019 / 9:44 am

    not quite a bathroom towel, but I’ve always loved the Totême beach towels- especially in the burgundy, yellow and orange! so chic and luxe (with a price tag to match)

  7. Rachael
    May 16, 2019 / 9:44 am

    Those PIP Good Evening towels are superb! Missoni bath towels are nice too, if you like a more modern look.

    • May 16, 2019 / 10:43 am

      Yes, I have some Missoni but the colours are quite reddish and I’ve had them for so long that the sight of them makes me slightly nauseous. Haha. I can never justify buying a set of those again – they were hellish expensive! x

  8. Elena Yeates
    May 16, 2019 / 8:38 am

    Hi Ruth, love the Edit. I am also a lucky owner of a beige bathroom :) I am never brave enough to experiment with towels, all mine are beige :) The fluffiness is the most important factor, I found Christy and The White Company are the best, I should have a look at Christy’s colors selection.
    Have you looked at Designer Guild? Their linens and throws are amazing. They also have towels in bright colors and some art ones :)

    • May 16, 2019 / 10:43 am

      Ooooh!!!! So many great ideas here in the comments – thank you! x

  9. Trimperley
    May 15, 2019 / 8:47 pm

    I love them all but wouldn’t dare buy one as I have the ability to turn the fluffiest towel into corrogated cardboard in a handful of washes. Has anyone tried a towel reviver concoction and found it successful?

    • Claire N
      May 16, 2019 / 1:57 am

      Don’t use fabric conditioner, use Bounce in the dryer instead and your towels should be soft and bouncy. Also biological detergents can be harsh on fabrics, try using non-biological detergents like Fairy.

    • Elena Yeates
      May 16, 2019 / 8:32 am

      Hi, the only solution i found to help ‘corrugated’ towels is a dryer, one wash and dry and they are as new.

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