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Did you know that this household staple can double as decor?

Most homeowners have a drawer stuffed with kitchen linens of different shapes, sizes, and designs. There's a good reason why: they come in handy to wipe spills, dry dishes and add a touch of sophistication to your table.

Okay, but exactly is a tea towel?

The dictionary defines a tea towel as "a cloth for drying dishes." Often made of linen or cloth, tea towels date back to England in the 18th century, when they were used to insulate teapots (hence the name). As the times changed, so have tea towels: By the 19th and 20th centuries, most tea towels were reportedly made with striped or checked cloth for a more decorative touch.

Unique Ways to Use Tea Towels

Napkin or Placemat

When setting the table, flatten each towel, use it as a napkin, or fold it in half and sew the edges for a gorgeous placemat.

Candle Holder

Take a boldly printed tea towel and fold it in half, then in half again, to equal the candle's height. Wrap the towel around the candle and secure it with a satin ribbon.

Bread Bundle

Cut a baguette in half and wrap it in a tea towel. Attach a jar of your favourite jam, and you have yourself the perfect hostess gift.

Pillow

It's so easy to turn a patterned tea towel into a customized pillow! To make yours simply: Fold the towel in half, keeping the crease at the top. Sew two of the towel's open sides shut at the edges, then stuff with batting. Sew the towel's remaining open side shut to finish.

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