The bathroom is one of the most exciting rooms in the house to decorate—because it’s all yours. And once your dream tile is laid, and your jewelry-like hardware is installed, you get to the fun part: choosing your bathroom art! The best thing about the process is that it’s noncommittal, unlike most of your other choices in a bathroom remodel. Bathroom art is easy to switch out, and that’s a good thing, because there are countless bathroom wall ideas out there for you. Before you commit to a suite of vintage bathroom paintings at your favorite online art destination, there are a few things to think about. Read on for our top tips for choosing bathroom art.

Rustic master bath with nature-inspired art and a black bathtub.
Photo by Bjorn Wallander / OTTO

1. Find Your Style 

There’s no shortage of artwork available online. Whether you’ve recently completed a remodel of your forever home, or your only contribution has been the paint color on the walls of your rental, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the mood you’re looking to evoke in your bathroom. Are you looking to tee up a soothing, spa-like aura? Or are you more partial to a preppy and playful bath that’s rife with color and pattern? What about a charming and rustic retreat peppered with nature-inspired accents? Take note of what speaks to you.

Rustic woven baskets are used as wall hanging.

2. Choose Your Medium

While sun, cold, and heat exposure are elements to consider when hanging art in any room, bathrooms have to contend with steam as well. As a result, avoid unframed artwork like stretched canvases or poster-frame hung artwork. Bathroom art should be able to withstand moist and humid environments. In general photographs, prints, and other works that are professionally framed, with a sealed back, will fare well as bathroom wall hangings, unlikely to mildew or warp. Ceramic and glass plates or sculpture pieces, as you might imagine, also make durable bathroom art choices. Metal wall sculpture can be an effective choice, too. Art experts advise against acrylic or oil paintings. Unless sealed in glass many are liable to take on moisture. However, if your bathroom is well-ventilated by an exhaust fan or even windows, you may be able to reduce humidity enough to toss out the rulebook.

Crisp, contemporary white master bath with large floral photograph
Photo by Trevor Tondro / OTTO

3. Decide on a Hanging Spot

Hanging bathroom art can be a bit of a puzzle. Whereas living rooms and bedrooms tend to have big, empty swathes of wall space, bathroom wall space is often at a premium. Vanity mirrors, towel racks, and of course bathtub and shower surround eat up plenty of the real estate  One of our favorite locations for bathroom art is opposite a bathroom mirror—that way when you’re getting ready for the day, you can enjoy a glimpse of your inspiring bathroom art in the rearview. You should also consider hanging wall art for the bathroom at a vantage point that’s visible from your shower or bathtub. 

While it’s possible to drill into porcelain, glass, marble, granite, or another natural stone tile, it should be done with real consideration and by a professional, as covering or fixing a drill hole in tile is not as easy as spackling up drywall. That said, hanging a piece of statement art piece on the tiled wall above your bathtub can create a beautiful focal point.

If your bathroom has a separate water closet, it’s a great opportunity to get playful with cheeky art (think nudes) or an assortment of smaller framed pieces for a jewel-box effect. Have a double vanity? A small piece of art hung between dueling mirrors make a sophisticated and surprising moment.

Rustic bath with a set of vintage, 18th century style portraits and black rabbit bust embellished with autumn leaves
Photo by David A. Land / OTTO

4. Determine the Right Size

The scale of your bathroom will likely dictate what size of bathroom art you decide on. That said, other factors such as what kind of statement you’re going for, or how many pieces you intend to hang, can also influence size decisions. If you’re hanging only one piece on a medium- to large-sized wall, go bigger. Try a width of at least 30” if you’re looking to curate a statement-making effect. If you are hanging a pair or opting for a gallery wall of artworks, small- and medium-sized frames may be more suitable. Meanwhile, a diminutive piece of artwork hung over an expansive bathtub or centered above a wide cabinet can create an unexpected and charming moment that no large-scale piece can compete with.

If you’re struggling with where or how to hang your new bathroom art, if something doesn’t feel quite right, it’s probably not right. So when all else fails, ring up your favorite design-loving friend and bring in an extra set of eyes.

Contemporary master bath with fur mat and vintage art pieces like a bust and an illustration
Photo Courtesy of Henhurst
Master bath with a rainbow striped wallpaper and two matching contemporary art pieces
Photo by Zach Desart, Courtesy of Sara Gilbane Interiors

What Art Should You Hang in Your Bathroom? Try These Ideas!

1. Botanicals and Nature-Inspired Prints
We love the organic feeling evoked by a botanical print. Be it a floral silhouette, a coral linocut, or a painting with an abstract wave motif, elements from nature have been interpreted in every style and aesthetic, so you’re bound to find something that suits you and your space.

2. Easy Abstracts
When all else fails, or straight from the start, find an abstract painting or print that you love. Abstracts aren’t too thematic or over-complicated. (Bonus: they’re easy to move around the house.) As a starting point, look for one that complements the colors of your other finishes in the room, be it your tile, hardware, wallpaper, or paint color.

3. Soothing Landscapes and Scenic Artwork
For a serene, zen-like space, look for calm landscapes and scenic artwork. From seascape oil paintings to hand-colored lithographs of rocky-outcrop beaches to enigmatic photography of the California desert, scenic bathroom art will transport your mind to a far-off place at the end of a long day.

4. Figurative and Nude Art
Figurative works and nude art are particularly fitting for the room where you derobe, as pointed out by interior designer Alison Jennison. When her husband gifted her a nude painting a few years ago, Alison quickly realized that it made perfect sense in the bath. Since then, the piece has become one of many in her ever-growing collection of female nudes penned by female artists. Like Alison, we love the feminine feel even a simple figurative sketch can bring to a bathroom.

5. Playful Bathroom Wall Hangings
Wall hangings like vibrantly colored Juju hats, mid-century modern brass C. Jere sculptures, and even vintage signs are an especially smart idea for bathrooms, as they’ll withstand the moisture and humidity of those daily hot showers.

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February 27, 2022

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