How to Choose Beautiful Artwork for the Bathroom

When choosing art for a home, people tend to leave the bathroom out. But who says beautiful art should be restricted to bedrooms, dens, halls and living rooms? Prints, quotes, posters and photographs all have a place in the bathroom, breathing life into one of the most frequented rooms in a house.

Here’s how to choose art that refreshes and enlivens a bathroom of any size.

Finding the Right Bathroom Art

There are a few reasons why people avoid putting art in their bathroom. One of the main reasons is that people are unsure of how the bathroom’s moisture might ruin the integrity of a piece. Carrier and Co Interiors says that since moisture can do damage to artwork and matting, it’s best to avoid glass-framed works. Sticking to inexpensive pieces is also a smart idea when decorating the bathroom. This way, you can still spruce up your space without having to worry about damage.

Whether completely redoing a bathroom or just looking to switch things up, new art can enhance a bathroom’s mood or add contrast to a current theme. Canvas Press writes that homeowners don’t always have to hang art that adheres to a traditional bathroom theme. For example, homeowners can opt for forest images and greenery instead of beach scenes, or photos from a vacation rather than a piece of stock art.

Artwork in the bathroom also provides an opportunity to discover new approaches to traditional themes. Kristin Appenbrink of Brit and Co says that black and white imagery is a great place to start with this. She shows how vintage beach photographs allude to a nautical theme while avoiding the shells, sand and baby blue color that often accompany this aesthetic.

For a kids bathroom, art that displays words and messages is a fun and lighthearted option. Writer and designer Tonya Lee suggests graphic design posters that depict general hygiene tips. Instructions about brushing and flossing are displayed in bright colors that enliven the room; plus the reminders are great for instilling healthy habits in children.

luxury bathroom with granite countertops and flooring

Sizing Considerations

Tara Mastroeni says that size is one of the most important things to consider when choosing art for the bathroom. Artwork that’s too small can get dwarfed by surrounding elements, like a mirror or shelving, and artwork that’s too big can create an imbalance.

The best way to achieve the right size is to take measurements of the walls and have dimensions ready when shopping for frames and art. When decorating a master bath with more wall space than the average bathroom, Chairish recommends opting for a larger piece. “A width of at least 30” (and even much larger) is advised for maximum impact and to create a major focal point.” In addition to creating a focal point, a large piece can also make the room feel larger.

Although gallery walls are a popular interior design trend, design expert Shayanna Blaze says this approach may not work in smaller bathrooms. Walls decorated with multiple pieces of small to medium sized art can make an already small room feel more cramped and cluttered.

Subject Matter

It’s easy to find a piece of artwork that’s pleasing to look at. But does it match the bathroom it’s going to live in?

To make sure a new piece of art sends a cohesive message, Deborah Lloyd, Kate Spade chief creative officer, says it should fit into the bathroom’s narrative. In other words, art should enhance the story that your bathroom is already telling. Wall decor reflects a homeowner’s personality, style, and interests: From typography and graphic design to band posters and pressed leaves, HabitatUK says that bathroom walls are an opportunity to express one’s personality. Starting with personal interests makes it easier to choose bathroom decor choices that remain enjoyable for years to come.  

Next, think about the art’s intended effect. Faulkner House Interior Redesign says that art can increase a room’s sense of space, and that landscapes in particular help add depth and dimension. Another way to increase a perceived sense of space is to incorporate images that evoke physical space and movement. Jaymee Srp says that paintings that of wide open vistas are especially helpful in bathrooms where there isn’t a window.

Fine art can also work well in bathrooms. Since bathrooms are a personal and relaxing space, figure drawings work wonders for adding movement and personality. Sarah Gibson of Room for Tuesday opts for a colorful abstract figure drawing, which adds color and vibrancy to a room while also balancing soft green and blue colors.

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Colors and Hues

When it comes to color, art comes in an infinite amount of options. To find art that compliments a bathroom, Heather of Setting for Four says to choose hues that repeat the wall color. So, if a wall is painted in a gray blue color, choose art that incorporates that shade to tie things together. This theory is also true when a bathroom is being designed to evoke a certain feeling or mood. For example, a green bathroom with wooden elements may be opting for a spa-like feel, according to Apartment Guide. In this bathroom, you might adhere to the colors and themes by including an image of a serene forest with a river running through.

As long as the art incorporates one of the colors found in the bathroom, it’ll feel cohesive. To make a bathroom feel more comforting and inviting, especially in a family home, photographs work well. Having a local printer blow up a favorite photograph can achieve this look while adding a touch of personality, and Cynthia Bowman suggests laminating photo prints to preserve quality and resist water damage.

How to Display

The proper way to hang and display art varies greatly depending on the situation. However, there are a few general rules to follow to ensure bathroom art looks its best. Emily Henderson explains that art needs to be oriented to the shape and size of the wall.

Generally, artwork should be at eye level (around 57 inches from the floor). This is a good rule of thumb to ensure that pictures aren’t too high on the wall, but not too low either.

To display some pieces in a more dynamic way, Kristin Cadwallader of Bliss at Home suggests leaning it against the wall. She leans a large black and white print of a zebra on her floor, complimenting the other black and white images in the bathroom and contrasting the elegant gold and marble touches. Pictures can also be leaned against the wall when placed on a shelf or countertop to create a more casual look.

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