DIY In A Day: Painting A Towel Rail

I’ve got to confess, I love a quick and easy DIY project and in terms of budget, ease and results, it doesn’t get much better than painting a towel rail. We had two chrome heated towel rails, one in each bathroom. After I painted the first one as part of my en-suite makeover, I loved it so much I decided to do the main bathroom one as well.

There are a few different approaches for painting a towel rail – of course the easiest one would be to take it off the wall and spray. Given that we don’t have the plumbing ability to do that, and the wall would likely cave in knowing this house if we even tried, for me painting a towel rail is best done in situ.

It IS possible to spray them but I’ll be completely honest – having bought some of the most insta-famous matt black spray paint, I tried to do a smaller item in the en-suite and it was a disaster. The spray from the paint went literally everywhere and it wasn’t a great finish at all, so I’ll not be using that again, or recommending it. It’s brushes all the way for me!

The paint I’ve chosen to use instead is the Fortress Black Satin Drainpipe and Gutter paint* – I know, I know, a random choice. Stick with me though. Back in spring 2019, I repainted our gutters with this paint, and in just a few months, that will have been 3 years ago. They look immaculate as the day I painted them despite all the elements thrown at them by different weather conditions so I’m thinking this could be a GREAT decision.

I decided there was nothing to lose with this project since at some point in the future both our main bathroom and en-suite will undergo full renovations. Hopefully what I’ve done and this guide will be good enough to last for around 2-3 years until we get around to those particular projects.

Without further ado, here is my guide on painting a towel rail – I hope you think it’s easy enough to give it a go!


-A good cleaner like sugar soap or Elbow Grease

-Johnstone’s Any Surface Primer (I use the white one)

-A small around one inch paint brush

-As I’m painting mine black, I’ve used the Fortress Black Satin Drainpipe and Gutter Paint*

-Optional: sandpaper, if your towel rail has any loose flaky coatings which will need to be sanded off


Step 1:

Start by cleaning the towel rail thoroughly, in between, all around including the fixtures and fittings. Remember, bathrooms get steamy and dusty very easily so may sure any dirt is gone, gone gone.

Step 2:

Once the towel rail is clean and dry, you can use your small brush to add one coat of the Johnstone’s Any Surface Primer. What this does is provide a great base for your paint to then stick to whereas if you try to add the paint directly to the towel rail, chances are it will smear all over the place.

Step 3:

The primer dries very quickly, so much so that by the time you’ve finished a coat, you can start straight on with the main paint. Don’t worry about getting to the back too much – no-one is ever going to see it, especially if like us most of the time your towel rail is covered b a big towel!

Tips at this point are trying not to overload the paintbrush, and try and paint all in one direction rather than drag the brush back and forth. This will help keep any evidence of brush strokes to a minimum, if at all

Step 4:

You will definitely need a second coat, and in terms of a third, that’s up to you – I did more a spot touch-up for my third coat rather than an overall one. If possible, leave your heating off for a couple of days just to give the paint time to cure but other than that, all done!

Now, I have no way of knowing how well this method of painting a towel rail will hold up. I can tell you that it’s fine so far with heating and both towel rails work and give off the same amount of heat as they did before.

I’ll definitely update this post and/or online with any developments over time but for now if you have any questions about painting a towel rail, leave a comment below 😊

*this product was part of a previous paid collaboration I worked on with B&Q. Should you purchase this product I will earn a small amount of commission. This does not affect your price paid*

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