I have wanted to write this post for a while but I thought I should do a bit of research first. There is no question that art in the bath looks great. However, steam, water and humidity can deteriorate the integrity of a picture over time. So I would not recommend hanging your most precious and fragile art on the walls. But, pictures add charm, personality and dimension to any space so finding the right art for a damp environment is an important final step in completing the design process.
I have talked to several knowledgeable art collectors and of course they want art in their baths. As one collector said, his favorite place in the whole house is his .25 bathtub; contemplating a piece of art while soaking is what makes him relax even more. Another said to think of art in the bath as an indoor/outdoor installation. While it isn’t going to rain or snow in the bath, the atmospheric conditions can be hazardous to anything fragile. Think about a piece of sculpture, perhaps neon art or even a Calder mobile!!
However, I would like to suggest that the powder bath is a great place for art. The space can be intimate and a small precious piece of art can be such a surprise. I have an ethereal Jed Devine photograph in my powder room. It is small and moody and the best part is that it is reflected in the mirror over the sink. I have seen photos of over the top powder baths with art covering the walls. It is a room where anything from over the top to elegant and formal is appropriate.
There are many things to think about when selecting art for your bath, and the thought process is no different from selecting a piece for any part of your house. The first word I would use is “fit”. Is the art you are contemplating compatible with the style of the bath and the house. The next is the “style and taste” conversation. And finally, do not think of art in the bath as a permanent installation. Pictures are meant to be moved. It is a great way to change the mood of a room, especially the bath where everything is attached to the wall and floor.