How To Use Art To Add Interest To Your Kitchen And Bathroom
If you’re anything like me, you probably spend a considerable amount of time in your kitchen and bathroom. Whether you’re a foodie, who is never happier than when you’re mastering your seaweed infused emulsion, or a mum who has spent the last 45 minutes cooking the salmon risotto the kids loved last week, only for it to be thrown on the floor in disgust (been there!) the kitchen really is the heart of the home. And the bathroom is where we go to unwind, relax and pamper…or to hide in a desperate bid for five minutes peace.
And yet these are the areas of the home that are often most neglected when it comes to displaying art. But they don’t have to be! Why not treat your bathroom and kitchen walls just like you do the walls in the rest of your house, and use art to create talking points and add interest. I’m pleased to say I’ve worked with the team over at Etsy to put together a series of tips for adding art to those lonely walls. They have a huge range of options and I’m sharing some of my favourites with you below.
In my own house, I made a point of hanging some of my favourite pieces in the kitchen, despite my husband’s concerns that they were “too good” to go in there. Why too good? When I’m not making breakfast, lunch and dinner x2, I’m in there making cups of tea and coffee for the stream of builders, carpenters, electricians etc who you can guarantee will be in our house at any given time. The kitchen also acts as my temporary office, and the place where I sit and natter with my friends over a cup of tea or a glass of wine. So if I’m going to spend so much time in there, I don’t want to look at boring, uninspiring, blank walls. (Disclaimer: The above image is not my kitchen, it’s my mate Carol’s, who has just done a brilliant job of doing hers up! Because as much as I like to display art in my kitchen, it doesn’t really lend itself to a decent photo of the walls due to it’s layout/ugly radiator positioning so she kindly let me borrow her kitchen for this.)
For those of you who are lucky enough to be familiar with the phenomenon of a long hot soak in the bath, or an indulgent bathroom pamper session, the same theory applies. Choosing the right art was a really important final piece of the puzzle in our recently completed bathroom renovation and there’s no doubt it wouldn’t be the same in there without it.
So here are my tips for adding art in the kitchen and bathroom…the what, the where and the how.
Don’t be precious…about what to display in the kitchen. Don’t be afraid to display your favourite artwork in the kitchen if that’s where you spend all your time, because that is where you will get the most enjoyment out of it. That is, of course, as long as your best artwork isn’t a Monet, in which case you definitely shouldn’t stick it anywhere near the oven/kettle/toaster. But broadly speaking, as long as your fave piece is behind glass, it’s easy enough to wipe off a stray blob of Bolognese sauce, and even vintage oil paintings are surprisingly resilient to stray sauce splodges.
However…I wouldn’t recommend you display your best artworks in the bathroom. Bathrooms produce a lot of moisture and steam, which isn’t the ideal environment for your prized possession. Stick to the lower cost pieces that you are not going to be devastated about if they do get some water/steam damage over time, and that are easy and inexpensive to replace. Etsy offers an huge selection of printable art that you can pick up for a few pounds and have printed out yourself, like the large scale abstract art I’ve styled in the bathroom.
It’s all in the mix...Play around with old and new, and pair vintage pieces with bold and modern typography for an interesting, layered look that adds weight to a kitchen setting. I combined vintage florals with modern, minimalist typography and the striking gold leaf initial which connects the other two pieces. When layering art try to stick to a limited colour palette so there is a thread which ties each piece together. In this case, I stuck to a thread of green, black and gold to echo the rest of the kitchen and it’s fittings. Etsy has a number of sellers who specialise in vintage prints and oil paintings.
Light it up…Another great option in the kitchen is adding a neon light with a trademark phrase or motto. It is a clever way of creating an instantly sociable and convivial atmosphere.
Go large…Add drama and impact in the bathroom with large scale pieces. Many of the Etsy sellers who offer printables are happy to rescale a piece to a bespoke size where possible. I had the prints in the bathroom resized to fit the frames I already had.
- If you’re lucky enough to have a big kitchen, think about creating a gallery wall next to the family dining table.
- Open shelving is another great place to display art in the kitchen. I’m a big fan of ‘the lean’ aka resting art on shelves, especially smaller pieces, because you can layer different sizes, and move them around easily if you get bored.
- If you have cabinets on the top and bottom, try leaning smaller pieces between the upper and lower cabinets to cover things like plugs and switches.
- In the bathroom, the key is not to hang anything too close to the bath or shower. Above the bath is fine but be sure to place it high enough to avoid any potential splashes, and make sure it’s fixed securely to the wall.
- In my own bathroom, the art is displayed over the mantelpiece opposite the bath and is the perfect way to add interest, character and style on what would otherwise be a big blank wall.
Have fun…If the kitchen is where the whole family hangs out, look for something which makes a playful nod to that. We love a kitchen disco, so this piece says it all really. Alternatively, a selection of abstract nudes in the bathroom is a cheeky nod to bath time.
Let it breathe…One way to keep the humidity at bay in the bathroom is to leave the windows and doors open whenever possible to let your artwork breathe and keep the steam build up to a minimum. It also helps if you have a good extractor fan.
Be plexi-ble…Think about using plexi instead of glass in the bathroom just in case of any accidents.
That’s it from me on the subject. Hope you found that helpful? Any more questions, post them below and I’ll do my best to answer!
Art selection - Set of 2 abstract prints from Dan Hobday Art; This Kitchen Is For Dancing print from Sweetpea Co Designs; Vintage Floral print from The Spool Room, and Gold Leaf Initial from AndrewJMason.
This is the first of three paid for blogposts in collaboration with Etsy, about buying, styling and displaying art. I selected the edit of pieces I wanted to use and as always all opinions are my own.