Many paper towel dispensers are attached to a wall using mounting brackets and screws. In some restrooms, particularly in schools or other institutional settings, this is the only option, as walls are made of brick. In drywalled restrooms, another dispenser option would be recessed dispensers, which are fitted into the wall for a sleek, uniform look. Recessed dispensers are held in place from the inside, where screws attach to the drywall. Whereas wall-mounted dispensers may protrude as much as 10 inches from the wall — some recessed dispensers are flush with the wall, while others protrude slightly.

Recessed dispenser and wastebasket combinations are also popular in facilities where floor space is at a premium. These units are flush with the wall and dispense folded towels above a small waste receptacle.