How to keep a bathroom warm in winter – to stay toasty even after hot showers

These six steps make any bathroom cozy for a more bearable winter morning routine

Beige bathroom with wooden accents and checkerboard tiles
(Image credit: Julie Soefer)

Nothing is worse than getting out of a warm shower into a freezing cold room and trying to get dressed while feeling the chill. 

But with tiled floors and walls and a lack of soft furnishings, bathrooms are usually the most susceptible to dips in temperature – so how do you keep a bathroom warm in winter? 

From adding heating to using the best bath towels, this is how contractors and heating experts ensure every bathroom stays cozy. 

How to keep a bathroom warm in winter

Whether you have heating in your bathroom or are trying to keep a bathroom warm without heating in winter, there are some simple ways to make a bathroom cozy that won't break the bank.

1. Use a heated towel rack

Grey panel radiator by Bathroom Deal

(Image credit: Bathroom Deal)

The most obvious way to warm up a bathroom is to add some sort of heating. The easiest way to do this is a heated towel rack – doubling as both a radiator and a way to ensure our towels are warm and fluffy after bathing, says Luis Carmona, designer and owner of Verde ID. 

You can double this up by combining a heated towel rack with warming light bulbs too, he adds: ‘Both items are relatively easy to install and add a touch of luxury in the space. If you typically take hot showers, but get cold when you step out, consider installing the warming light bulb right above the bath mat.’

Luis Carmona
Luis Carmona

Luis Carmona is the owner and lead designer at VERDE Interior Design. With almost two decades of experience in the creative space (interior design, advertising, and marketing), Carmona gets to blend his many passions into one design studio, offering services to commercial and residential clients in both Houston and Dallas.

2. Consider installing under-floor heating

Traditional bathroom with vintage furniture, chevron floor tiles, armchair and floral curtains

(Image credit: Sarah Vanrenen)

Whether or not you need underfloor heating in a bathroom is down to personal preference, but it certainly helps to keep a bathroom warm in winter, assures Will Ehrman, project manager at Hatchet Design Build. Of all the bathroom heating options, it is the trickiest to install unless you are already in the process of a bathroom renovation, but it is worth the extra cost, he suggests: 

‘Consider installing a radiant heat mat beneath the tile for added warmth and comfort, especially for your feet; note, however, that this can only be done when installing new tile.’

3. Install a steam shower

Shower light

(Image credit: Keuco)

Steam showers are not just a luxury reserved for wet room bathrooms – they make great additions if you want a spa bathroom that will keep you warm as you dry off and wrap up, continues Will Ehrman, project manager. They are perfect for a bit of added comfort and relaxation, he says.  

4. Use a heated exhaust fan

Neutral bathroom with stone floor tiles, mauve vanity uni, paneling and brass hardware

(Image credit: Interior by IW Studio, Margaret Austin)

Exhaust fans are a must in bathrooms to help prevent mold, but they can easily let in cold drafts, making your bathroom feel like an ice box. To counter this, either draft-proof your bathroom by covering the fan when you are not showering or consider swapping your existing fan for a heated variety, suggests Samantha Pratt, interior designer and wonder of Samantha Ashley Designs. 

Samantha recommends a heated exhaust fan, like this from Amazon, for a warmer, more comfortable space that doesn't sacrifice functionality. 

Samantha Pratt
Samantha Pratt

Samantha is an experienced interior designer with a history of working in textiles and ceramics industry, having started her career in set design for theatre. She started her design company nearly four years ago, with a goal of carrying the skills she had learned in the past to her own business and developing her style. 

5. Use fluffy towels and thick mats

Brown bath mat

(Image credit: Target)

When buying new towels, it is essential to opt for the highest-quality, fluffiest sets you can afford if you want to be warm and cozy in a winter bathroom, says Artem Kropovinsky, interior designer and founder of Arsight. 

Given that it is difficult to add soft furnishings into a bathroom for fear of mold and mildew, your towels and bathmats need to play the role of both practical post-shower and functional for warming up the space.

If you have a large bathroom, consider adding a bathroom rug away from the toilet or shower to help warm up the floor. Opt for a machine-washable rug, such as this washable shag rug from Wayfair, to make it easier to clean and a little less susceptible to mold.  

Artem Kropovinsky headshot
Artem Kropovinsky

Based in New York, Artem Kropovinsky, founder of Arsight, has a decade of extensive and considerable global design experience. Prioritizing minimalism, sustainability, and authenticity, Artem, alongside his team of professionals, works on projects in the US and worldwide.

6. Insulate windows

Neutral bathroom with a curved freestanding bath, a large window and a Moroccan metal pendant lamp

(Image credit: Interior by Emily Finch, photograph Alanna Hale)

As with any room in the house, most heat is lost through glass, meaning insulating windows are a must if you want to stay toasty. 

If you can, Will Ehrman, project manager, recommends ‘opting for high-efficiency windows with double or triple-pane glass, and consider argon-filled options for even greater efficiency; these will significantly reduce heat loss and air leaks.’

If you are not up for a renovation, using simple insulating window film can do the job in a pinch. 

Window Insulating Film | View at Amazon

Window Insulating Film | View at Amazon
This insulating film can be applied to the inside of your windows to add a second or third layer of insulation against cold air without damaging your home.

FAQs

Why is my bathroom so cold in winter?

Bathrooms can get cold in winter due to the lack of soft furnishings to warm it up. Usually made of hard floors, tiles, and glass, these spaces lose heat more easily than a space with curtains, throws, and rugs, for instance. They are also more susceptible to drafts from windows and extractor fans as they require constant airflow to avoid mold.

Can a towel warmer heat up a whole bathroom?

A good-quality towel warmer can easily heat a bathroom if the space is not too large. If using a towel warmer as heating, check the heating capacity of your rail against the square footage of your bathroom before installation to ensure it is powerful enough to heat even the furthest corner of your space without the need for additional heaters.


A big part of keeping bathrooms warm in winter is making them look warmer visually. Adding in warm color schemes, rugs, fluffy towels, warm-toned bathroom lighting, and materials such as wood can go a long way toward tricking the mind that the room is warmer than it is. 

If you can, consider adding bathroom-suitable curtains or window treatments for a little extra insulation and privacy. 

Chiana Dickson
Writer

Chiana has been at Homes & Gardens for a year, having started her journey in interior journalism as part of the graduate program. She spends most of her time producing content for the Solved section of the website, helping readers get the most out of their homes through clever decluttering, cleaning, and tidying tips – many of which she tests and reviews herself in her home in Lancaster to ensure they will consistently deliver for her readers and dabbles in the latest design trends. She also has a first-class degree in Literature from Lancaster University.