Never thought of putting art in the smallest room in the house? This might inspire you…
Houzz contributor and head curator at Rise Art which showcases, rents and sells great… More
When it comes to hanging artwork, the bathroom isn’t always the first place we think of, but putting up a favourite piece or two can elevate the space from the merely functional to the truly delightful.
More in this series: How to make the most of art in… the hallway; the bedroom; the nursery; the kitchen
Style up a salon wall
Hanging artworks in a gallery wall format is primarily used in a home’s communal spaces, but it can work surprisingly well in a bathroom.
Pleasant, picturesque artworks carefully arranged and hung on a feature wall, either behind the bath or opposite the door, will instantly draw the eye and distract from the functional nature of the room, creating a homely feel.
With an arrangement like this, it’s best to pick neutral or figurative artworks to avoid the inevitable clash of loud colours or themes. Deliberately mismatched frames in a vintage style and the cool and warm accents within the art coordinate cleverly with the traditional nature of this bathroom.
Add a personal touch
A private en suite bathroom warrants the use of more personal décor. Framing a paper poster or print won’t just protect it from humidity, it will also elevate it to the status of an artwork.
An array of different themes could work here, from wedding invitations to concert posters or even your favourite record sleeve. The best thing is that you don’t have an audience to please – just yourselves!
A simple black or white frame will coordinate well with any modern bathroom, and don’t worry about mounting the work – a full-bleed poster will make a strong impact.
Top tip Always ensure the back of your framed artwork is properly sealed to avoid condensation forming on the glass from humidity.
Choose charming cartography
Maps make a great addition to the bathroom. They have an enduring, traditional aesthetic and a subject that’s guaranteed to intrigue any guest.
This clever choice of a river map subtly alludes to the relaxing concept of water, while also colour-coordinating with smaller accents and soft furnishings throughout the room. You can easily achieve a vintage style by using a wooden frame.
There’s no need to mount a map, and with prints and posters generally coming in standard sizes, framing the work should be nice and easy. Search local antiques shops or look online for second-hand frames to really suit this style of piece.
Encourage morning mantras
The mirror is often thought of as the key feature of a bathroom wall, and it can take something quite unusual to draw the eye away from this natural focal point. A small, framed artwork propped casually away from the eye line is guaranteed to spark some intrigue.
Try a piece that features bold colours or an engaging subject to catch your attention and slow down the inevitable morning rush. Hunt for unusual typographic prints or colourful collages, or even tear pages from your favourite book to motivate you. When placed inside a black frame, works like these will seamlessly tie into the aesthetic of an industrial-style scheme.
Browse more photos of eclectic bathroom ideas
Pick prints to intrigue
Black, white and grey is a timeless colour scheme to use in any bathroom. Rather than offsetting this neutral palette with strong patterns or vivid colours, try continuing the theme of black and white in your artwork to seamlessly coordinate with the space.
If you’re looking for a work to imbue the room with tranquillity, try a framed black and white photograph (think panoramic seascapes – Geoffrey Ansel Agrons is worth checking out) or, if you’d rather something more engaging than contemplative, a typographical work will do well.
This framed poster is simple but effective, extending the grey of the tiled dado upwards and softening the white space.
Favour fun over function
The bathroom, despite its core practical design, doesn’t have to be a serious environment, and there’s nothing like hanging some fun artworks to lift the space.
A monochrome colour scheme helps to keep this sweet triptych of animal prints closer to elegant than juvenile, while rustic wooden frames harmonise the feature with the various wooden accents around the room.
Make sure you hang your works close together and, for optimum impact, place them at eye level and not too close to the tiled dado to help them stand alone.
Bridge the gap
This is a decadent bathroom space with plenty of visual intrigue. An unframed, square-format photographic print sits in the corner of the room, with a central alignment that helps to bridge the gap and keep the room flowing from wall to wall.
At first glance, its dark colour scheme appears to contrast with the sleek, metallic theme of the room, but on closer inspection, we see it’s a glamorous, retro, poolside print (by Slim Aarons), making it the perfect perennial piece for a bathroom.
Take a tour of this bathroom
Prop for effect
Wooden slats and tiles are commonplace in the bathroom, and unfortunately they don’t always provide the ideal setting for hanging artwork. However, that needn’t stop you from placing a favourite piece or two within this space. Cupboard tops, shelves and windowsills provide the perfect location to prop a petite piece.
Pairing your artwork subtly with the room’s colour scheme – this piece gently picks up on both the orange and the blue-grey paintwork – will ensure it looks like a deliberate feature in the room and not just a temporary placement.
Cherish the old
Antique and aged wooden furnishings give this bathroom an earthy, domestic feel; it’s refreshing to see a bathroom that isn’t furnished entirely with purpose-built features. A large mirror is propped on the floor, extending the space, and an unusual selection of dark artworks draws the eye to the corner of the room.
The combination of two portraits of differing colours and sizes is a bold approach that really pays off. The white frame of the hanging artwork lets the eye bounce from the mirror to the wall, while the propped work can conveniently be swapped or moved as desired.
Top tip Canvas works or oil paintings that aren’t framed in glass can be affected by the humid environment of a bathroom, so if you’re worried about preserving your artwork, get a print of it made and frame that instead. Alternatively, try a photographic work on aluminium for the ultimate lifespan.
See 15 ways to make your over-bath shower look beautiful
Make a statement
The bath is often the centrepiece of the bathroom (the hint is in the name…), and the wall behind it provides a plethora of possibilities for hanging art.
A safe option might be to stick to pleasant themes, from nautical scenes to sunsets and landscapes. However, why not make a statement with a stunning piece? We spend enough time within this space to warrant hanging a favourite work, and what would be more appropriate than a classical, elegant nude, or even an iconic portrait?
This traditional white mount and wooden frame highlight the warm colour palette of the piece, and align with the natural furnishings of the room.
Do you have artwork in your bathroom? Tell us all about it and share any tips in the Comments below.