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 vintage art and a black bathtub
Photo by Bjorn Wallander / OTTO

Step 1: Find Your Style 

Artwork is available in all styles and aesthetics, so before you make a purchase, or even begin to browse for bathroom art, it’s important to remember what you came for, so to speak. 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, recall the initial mood you were seeking when you first began decorating. Were you dreaming of something serene and elegant? A playful, yet modern space? Or an escape that’s calming and nature-inspired? Take note.

Master bath rustic wall hangings of woven basketsStep 2: Choosing Your Medium

Bathrooms, like any room in the house, are subject to sunlight and darkness, and heat and drafts… but, they also must endure steam. 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. Art experts advise against exposing acrylic or oil paintings to humidity, unless they’re sealed in glass. However, if your bathroom is well-ventilated by an exhaust fan or windows, you may be able minimize humidity enough to eschew the rulebook. If you’re considering hanging wallpaper in a bath with a shower, think again: wallpaper is prone to peeling when exposed to humidity.

Contemporary master bath with clean colors and large wall art
Photo by Trevor Tondro / OTTO

Step 3: Where to Hang Your Bathroom Art

Where you can hang art in your bathroom will naturally depend on the size of the room, as well as other factors like the slope of your ceilings, and material of your surfaces. One of our favorite destinations 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 seen from your shower or bathtub. As interior designer Alison Jennison of Brooklyn-based A. Jennison Interiors points out, “Any time you have a tub separate from a shower—if you have wall space—you can create a nice moment.”

While it’s possible to drill into porcelain, glass, marble, granite, or other 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 master bath with vintage paintings and wall hangings
Photo by David A. Land / OTTO

Step 4: Finding the Right Size

The appropriate size your bathroom art will depend upon a number of factors, including how much space is available to you, what kind of statement you’re going for, and how many pieces you intend to hang. If you’re hanging only one piece on a medium- to large-sized, go bigger. A width of at least 30” (and even much larger) is advised for maximum impact and to create a major focal point. If you are hanging a pair or a series 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 a charming element of surprise 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 animal fur rug and vintage art
Photo Courtesy of Henhurst
Colorful Contemporary master bath with striped wallpaper and contemporary art
Photo by Zach Desart, Courtesy of Sara Gilbane Interiors

More Bathroom Art Ideas We Love

1. Botanicals and Nature-Inspired Prints

We love the organic vibe a botanical print and other natural elements can contribute to a bathroom. 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, and 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. Calm Landscapes and Scenic Artwork
For a serene, soothing space, look for calm landscapes and scenic artwork. From seascape oil paintings to hand-colored lithographs of quiet 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 beautiful nude ink painting, Alison quickly realized that “it made perfect sense” in the bath. Since then, the piece has become one of many in a growing collection of female nudes by female artists. Ultimately, she intends to create a gallery in their bathroom because, as she adroitly puts, it “why not?” Like Alison, we love the feminine feel even a simple figurative sketch can bring to a bathroom. Look for vintage ink drawings, photographic portraits, or original oil paintings.

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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May 30, 2017

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