Without a doubt, art in the bathroom has been seen as a ‘mistake’ in the past. However, times are changing and, these days, with a little thought and careful planning, bathroom wall art has become a valid trend. So, it’s time to put any pre-conceived ideas of the ‘horrors of humidity’ aside. The truth is you can still add artwork to a bathroom with plenty of ventilation. Instead, I’m asking you to embrace your inner creativity. After all, I believe the bathroom should be your sanctuary. So, why not pick a few pieces of art to stimulate your senses, whether you’re lounging in the bath or cleaning teeth at your basin? As a result, you can transform your bathroom into a personal gallery, which you can enjoy for years to come. In this blog, I speak to interior design team AB Design and Interiors and home stylist Post Prentis Design:
I think art is such a wonderful way to express yourself. But you may not be too sure where to start. I always think of the bathroom as a personal retreat. So it makes sense to consider how to dress this space in a way, which is going to nourish your body and soul. Bathroom wall art, along with colour, plants and sculpture can all play a key role in this space.
The right selection of bathroom wall art can totally transform your space. See how this art ledge showcased in this bathroom design by Simply Bathrooms adds instant style and personality to the room
Firstly, consider the sort of bathroom wall art which will appeal to you. This could range from the human form and abstract prints to animals, botanicals and architecture. These genres all have their place here, but you should choose artwork which will reflect your individual style. The key is to be honest about what you really like.
It’s important that your bathroom wall art really reflects what you like. Fellow dog lovers will adore this quirky canine print, cleverly reflected in our Black City Round Mirror (60cm diameter, £190)
If you’re thinking of a Zen retreat, this might conjure up images of pebbles and bamboo. If you’re an animal lover, you might want to include a picture of your pampered pooch in your bathroom wall art. This should not be a prescriptive process. Above all, have fun! Tie this in with the overall look you want to achieve, which could range from an accent colour to a theme. This way, you’ll achieve a winning combination for your personal sanctuary.
Annie Leslie (left) and Anna Blakey, of AB Design and Interiors, are huge fans of bathroom wall art. They advocate it as an easy way to make a space feel less cold and functional
Annie Leslie and Anna Blakey, of AB Design and Interiors, wholeheartedly agree. “Sometimes bathrooms can look and feel too clinical,” they point out. “We like to treat a bathroom in the same way we would any other room in your home. So, we look at ways in which to give it functionality, warmth, style and personality. Incorporating artwork is an instant way to bring life and energy into the space.”
All things bright and beautiful: Simply Bathrooms has created a stunning bathroom wall display using clashing colour and patterns, plus our Docklands Hexagonal Mirror in Brushed Brass (50cm by 75cm, £215)
Colour can play a key part when it comes to bathroom wall art. In fact, this element could ultimately pull your scheme together. “You could choose a piece of art featuring colours that complement the key tones found in other elements of the room,” note Annie and Anna. “These could include wallpaper, tiles, hardware or paint colour.”
There are, of course, certain practicalities to consider before you embark on installing art in your bathroom. So, here are my top tips:
Be mindful of moisture
Bathrooms are, by nature, damp and humid environments. So it’s best not to hang your most valuable and prized pieces of art there, in case they get damaged. Instead, save your masterpieces for the other rooms in your home. Avoid lacquered, foil-wrapped and untreated wooden frames. And ensure that the backing of the frame is sealed so that water doesn’t seep in.
Home Stylist Olivia Prentis, of Post Prentis Design, recommends having wall art professionally framed and sealed. This way, it will enhance its durability within a damp bathroom environment
“The key thing to keep in mind when hanging anything in a bathroom is to ensure it can withstand the changing temperatures, and also be resistant to steam,” cautions Home Stylist Olivia Prentis of Post Prentis Design. “That’s why home plates are a great option. They will never be damaged by water, and create an instant riot of colour and interest.”
I think it’s worth emphasising that bathroom wall art can incorporate many forms. “Glass vitrines/cabinets of curiosities housing shells, intricate rocks or fossils are also a fabulous water-resistant solution,” adds Olivia.
Wall art doesn’t just mean pictures. Ceramics make an excellent choice for a bathroom gallery wall, as demonstrated by Home Stylist Olivia Prentis’ colourful plate display
Create a gallery wall
To achieve maximum impact with your bathroom wall art, why not create a gallery wall using a selection of pictures? Stagger different sizes for dramatic impact and variety. “I really like gallery walls in bathrooms, as they can provide a great focus to the space, creating another dimension and adding another layer to the room,” Olivia observes. “I recommend combining a mixture of objects including paintings, plates and memorabilia, which can each tell a story, and then help with the rest of the accessories for the space.”
Wall art doesn’t have to be too serious. I love this fun yet stylish monochrome gallery wall, curated by Simply Bathrooms.
Think hard before you hang
Many factors will affect where exactly you hang your bathroom wall art. These include the size and shape of the room, the storage, the window location, the material of your surfaces, and even the slope of your ceilings. I think artwork can create a strong style statement in this space so why not position it above a bath or simply fill empty wall space? You could even consider propping your art on shelves – or on a window ledge. This could be perfect, if you don’t want to drill into your wall.
Art ledges, like this one featuring our stylish matt black S5 Farhenheit Basket 315 shower shelves (31.5cmW by 4cmH by 11cmD, £170 each), created by retailer Interiora next to our black Docklands Rectangular Mirror (40cm by 70cm, £175), are a great way to experiment with linear displays
“In terms of where to hang bathroom wall art, I often get in a bath at a hotel and am greeted with either the sink to look at, or a blank wall,” notes Olivia. “I do think bathroom designers should always sit in the bath, see where their eye falls, and then make sure they hang something appealing in that space for the client to enjoy while having a relaxing soak.”
Matching tones in your artwork with your bathroom accessories can really pull the look together. Here Studio One South West has pulled the striking black colourway from this print and matched it with our S6 black accessories – check out our metal WC brush set in black (9.8cmW by 41.7cmH by 9.8cmD, £165)
Yet another option is to design a bathroom around existing artwork. “A piece of artwork could well be the starting point to take reference from,” agree Annie and Anna. “Or, if the overall look is more minimalist and simplistic, bringing in a burst of colour or pattern can be the stand-alone piece that injects life into the space.”
Embrace and explore sculpture
Wall sculptures look wonderful in the bathroom, especially if they are well lit. On a practical note, they are also less susceptible to water damage. “It’s always worth considering wall sculptures and ceramics,” agree Annie and Anna. “In fact, you can have so much fun bringing in any style of artwork into your bathroom. Landscape, figurative, abstract, photographic prints: the list goes on.”
Colour and especially shape is key, especially when using mirrors as a piece of art, as demonstrated by our Bathroom Origins Docklands Hexagonal Mirror (50cm by 75cm, £165) showcased here in matt black
They aren’t strictly sculpture, but I would also recommend including plants within your bathroom design scheme. They are an important element of biophilic design, which works so successfully in stylish bathrooms. You could even theme your artwork to match your greenery. “Adding plants or flowers to a bathroom adds another layer to the space,” agrees Olivia. “And with so many beautiful faux and preserved plants available, they need little care for maximum impact.”
I love combining metallic elements with deep, dark shades. Here our Docklands Round Mirror in Brushed Brass (80cm diameter, ££265) provides an ideal focal point against a rich green background, above a classic white sink
Make the most of your mirrors
At Bathroom Origins, I consider luxury mirrors to be individual pieces of art, too. But you should always make sure that the mirrors you choose are suitable for a humid bathroom environment. I would recommend experimenting with unusual shapes and frames to demonstrate your style and personality. Black frames stand out well on pale walls, and can introduce a dramatic edge to your room scheme, especially if you pair them with matching bathroom accessories. Why not hang a picture opposite a mirror to add more reflective interest?
What do you think of our expert advice for bathroom wall art? Is there anything else you’d like to add? Keep in touch via our Instagram feed here and DM me.