Selecting Art for the Bedroom
Establishing the right decor scheme in a bedroom is an important part of creating your personal retreat. Whether you want your bedroom to feel relaxed and serene, sensual, playful, or comforting will help guide your choice in both colour schemes and bedroom art.
Selecting art for the bedroom is quite different than the process you would undergo to select art for any other room in the house, and the key differences are in how and when you typically use the bedroom.
For most people, the primary use of a bedroom is for sleeping, and – usually – that happens at night.
However, it's also important to make sure that the art you select is appropriate for the occasional daytime visit to the bedroom, whether it be for a nap or other purposes.
For those who want to enjoy their personal retreat, day or night, the right piece of bedroom art is essential for completing the overall relaxing aesthetic of the bedroom.
There are – of course – exceptions to that rule. For example, the art in a single man’s bachelor bedroom may tend more towards the racier side of the spectrum, as part of the ritual of seduction. And the art in a child’s bedroom, particularly if it is also their central play area, may have a more whimsical theme.
But, in most cases, art should be selected with the idea of being aesthetically pleasing while also helping to ease the mind into a restful state. That is why big, bold, engaging artworks may not always be right for the bedroom.
But it does depend.
Setting the Mood with Bedroom Art
The color, size, style, and style of the bedroom art you pick often depends on the mood you want to set in that space. In most cases, the mood of the bedroom will lean toward soothing and tranquil spaces.
But that is not always the case. As with the single man (or single woman) mentioned above, a newly married couple may lean more toward art that conveys passion and less toward tranquil scenes of an Italian vineyard. And art in a child’s bedroom tends to be a bit more on the cute and playful side, which – sometimes – is more for the parent’s benefit than the child.
The mood you want to set is often directly related to the activities you associate with the bedroom. If it is your love nest, the art will be different than it will be if the primary activity is sleep.
However, as a general rule, you probably want to avoid selecting a piece of historical art that features a particularly bloody battle scene, as it may not set the right mood in a bedroom. The same would apply for overly dramatic abstract pieces with really bold colours and shapes.
Traditional choices for bedroom art include botanicals, garden scenes, landscapes, and ocean views; as these convey a sense of tranquility and calm that is usually desired in your sleep space.
These guidelines tend to get even blurrier when a bedroom serves multiple purposes. A bedroom that is also an office will need a slightly different mood that translates from day to night.
In the end, decide what mood you want to set in your bedroom and use that as a guide to help you pick art that helps convey that mood.
Bedroom Art Colors
As discussed in our article on the psychology of colour and how it applies to bedroom decor, the colour you select for your bedroom art is just as important as the colour that you paint the walls or the bed sheets that you select.
Basic Colour Profiles & How They Apply to Bedroom Art
- Blue: Serenity, tranquility and trust
- Green: Nature, harmony and balance
- Yellow: Attention and energy
- Orange: Warmth, social and creative
- Red: Passion and adventure
- Pink: Calm and sweet
- Lilac: Creative and spiritual
- Black: Protection and strength
For most bedroom art applications, you will want to avoid colors that stimulate attention, energy, or even creative thinking (as that is usually best left to when you’re not trying to sleep). That is why yellow, bright orange, and lilac may not be the dominant colors you want to use in your overall bedroom decor scheme as well as your bedroom art. That doesn’t mean that you can’t add a small pop of yellow in an otherwise serene room to add interest, just don’t overdo the yellow. In other words, keep it mellow with the yellow.
It is also best to use art to coordinate with the existing colours in your bedroom, rather than relying on it to provide that pop of colour that creates visual interest in the bedroom.
Bedroom Art Sizes
Collections of smaller art pieces – particularly those that vary in colors, sizes, or subject matter - are considered by most designers to be too visually stimulating to apply to the bedroom space. According to the experts at The Spruce, large scale pieces are the best for hanging in the bedroom and should be placed at eye level either directly above the bed or on the opposite wall.
That doesn’t mean you can’t install a good, well-themed triptych or wall art set in your bedroom, but we do recommend keeping any collection to less than 3 – 4 pieces, and make sure that they coordinate with each other.
Reserve the gallery walls for the living room or hallway, and stick to singular installations of larger-scale wall art pieces in the bedroom. This will help keep the bedroom from feeling too busy, a sense that you rarely want in your own oasis.
Bedroom Art Styles
Landscapes, ocean views, sweeping abstracts, and soft-focus and de-saturated photos tend to work best in the bedroom because of their overall calming feel.
You want something that appeals to you visually, but doesn’t challenge you to think too much about the piece. Claude Monet’s works are a designer favorite for the bedroom because of the mix of subjects, the impressionist style, and the colours that were commonly used in Monet’s artworks.
And don’t go for overly ornate frames. You want the focus to be placed on the art piece itself and not as much as the ornate framing that might surround it. An exception to this would include a classic oil painting, as some of those pieces absolutely demand a more ornate frame.
Bedroom Art Types
There is a wide range of art that can appropriately suit a bedroom, from canvas paintings, to photographic prints, to art plaques and more.
One particular type of wall art that we highly recommend is the classically woven tapestry wall hanging. The reason this particular type of wall art does really well as it serves double duty from both an aesthetic and an acoustic standpoint. These richly-woven art pieces, available in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors, are made out of jacquard woven cotton. This fabric, when hung on the wall, can help absorb sounds to make the bedroom even more quiet and relaxing.
A mural is a wonderful alternative to traditional bedroom art pieces, if you are artistically inclined. One of the great things about a wall mural in the bedroom is that you can hand-pick the theme, subject, and colours to exactly match the style and the mood of your bedroom.
Metal wall art can also find a home inside the bedroom, particularly if it picks up on a pattern or texture that already exists in your bedroom furniture, linens, or other decorative accents. For example, a metal scrollwork panel that beautifully mimics the texture of your duvet cover would be an excellent choice.
Even empty frames can make a unique piece of wall art that showcases the painting technique used on the wall behind.
However, one type of wall decor that we would not recommend for a bedroom is a decorative wall clock. Although these can be beautiful to look at, you don’t want an oversized reminder of how little time there is between when you’re getting yourself into bed and when you have to drag yourself out of it. Plus, although some can be very quiet, hearing even the faintest “tick, tick, tick” at night while you’re trying to sleep can be extremely distracting.
Picking Bedroom Art That Is Right for You
In the end, art – even for the bedroom – is subjective. It is important, when all is said and done, that the art you pick is something you appreciate.
As SF Gate has said, “Art is an extension of your personal style.” Therefore, beyond the rules and the tips and the ideas presented here, what is most important is that the art you pick is something you want to look at every night as you head to bed and every morning when you leave it.
And no… no matter how much you enjoy a good Netflix binge, a wall-mounted flat-screen TV does not count as “functional art.” Sorry about it!