When it comes to decorating with art, most people would consider communal living areas - such as living and dining rooms - as the primary spaces for original pieces. However, we spend so much time in our bedrooms that we should really acknowledge them as a worthy place to showcase a painting or two.
And while mirrors, floating shelves, plants and books are all contenders for bedroom decor styling, Artfinder’s Chief Editor, Emily Sparshott, explains the varying artistic subjects, styles and sizes you can incorporate to elevate your bedroom into a space that promotes relaxation, sensuality and curiosity.
Build a gallery wall
On the surface, gallery walls may seem like an intimidating design prospect. It’s true that when planning a gallery wall layout, there are a few factors to consider before jumping in the deep end. There are no hard and fast rules to what type of artworks should be included in a gallery wall, but you do need to take into account the subject matter, size and frames of the artworks you’d like to use.
Firstly, decide on the kind of atmosphere you’d like to create. Do you want to stick to a calm theme using landscapes and botanicals, or do you prefer more visually striking elements, such as portraiture and abstracts? Think about what you’d like to feel in your bedroom, whether it be complete zen or curiosity and intrigue, and choose subject matter that complements.
Next, you’ll need to consider the size of the pieces you’re including in your gallery wall. Does one piece happen to be larger than the rest and do you intend this to be the focal point? If so, centre the largest artwork in the middle of the wall so it’s front and centre. Alternatively, if you’d prefer each artwork to all have an equal appeal, consider how each piece will be laid out so they work with, rather than against, each other.
Finally, will your frames be one unifying colour or a mix of materials and shades? Is each piece going to be mounted and framed or will some be fixed within a floating frame? How do you think these will complement or contrast with each other? Making these decisions prior to hanging will ultimately determine how cohesive your gallery wall will be.
Screenprints such as Melissa Hartley’s Sequence Series is a great example for starting a gallery wall collection, as it’s affordable and brings visual interest and colour that can be expanded and enhanced by varying artworks.
One wonderful wall hanging
If your bedroom hasn’t been afforded an ample amount of space to house a gallery wall, choosing an impactful statement artwork is your best option. A larger painting will command attention and be the focal point of your bedroom, so it’s very important to decide early on what kind of vibe you’d like.
The bedroom is a highly personal space. Just because you’re choosing art for a bedroom doesn’t mean you have to be overly rigid with the style, however, it’s always good to go in with an idea of subject matter. Traditionally, an abstract or landscape is a safe option for bedrooms, as they promote peace and wellbeing. But we’re not ones to follow the status quo (could you tell?), so a piercing portrait or even a seductive nude would fit right at home in a bedroom. And if you can’t find an appropriate wall in your living or dining room for a nude piece, the bedroom really is the perfect place - it may even inspire a different type of relaxation!
We love Novi Lim’s abstracted landscapes. They’re interesting, use a beautiful colour palette and are just the right mix of intrigue and calm. Alternatively, if you’re after something a little more sensual, Jonas Kunickas’ Faraway is an erotic nude that captivates and piques curiosity with the viewer.
Include sculptural elements
As we start to emerge from lockdowns, we bring with us a new appreciation of the things we have and use in our everyday lives. It’s becoming the trend to shop slower and with longevity in mind, so impulse buying ‘stuff’ for your bedroom decor no longer feels true to the world we now live in. With this in mind, you can still elevate your bedroom to a stay-at-home sanctuary with sculptural elements.
You don’t need a huge space to incorporate sculpture, but we would recommend choosing a smaller piece that would sit comfortably on a dresser, side table or a floating shelf. You don’t want the sculpture to overwhelm your interior, however, you also don’t want the piece to appear too trinkety. This is why it’s vital to consider where your sculpture would sit before you take the plunge and buy it. If you have a household object that’s a similar size or shape, try placing it in the sculpture’s intended location to get a feel for the piece - if it’s getting in the way or doesn’t feel like somewhere an original artwork would sit, find an alternative spot.
Figurative or abstract pieces with flowing, organic shapes and textures will create interest without being too jarring. Remember, the key to adding original art to your bedroom is to make sure it contributes to the vibe you want to create, which would generally be a place for calm, relaxation and sensuality.
Sergey Borisov’s organic, fluid abstracts are made from bronze, so have a dreamlike quality, perfect for instilling wonder and inspiration. They are a great example of what small sculpture can bring to a bedroom.
Reliefs and mixed media
Gone are the days of carved, ornate reliefs reserved for churches and stately buildings. Reliefs are another way to add sculptural texture and depth, while not needing to worry about where to place it in the room.
If you are considering a relief for your bedroom, chances are you want to add some interest, rather than letting the piece fade into the rest of your decor. You don’t need to go over the top with colour though - a relief using just one shade can still pop if using texture and shape the right way. Liam Roberts’ reliefs put his signature geometrics patterns on a pedestal by using carefully crafted lines and shapes. Although focussing on one single colour, Liam has an obvious eye for colour, which make pieces such as Dark Piroutte so perfect for the bedroom.
Black and white photography
It’s a popular bedroom art choice for a reason. If you’re focussing on one particular aesthetic or atmosphere for your sleeping space, it makes sense to opt for photographs that capture one subject beautifully, while removing any background noise. This could include close-ups of botanicals or simple, abstracted landscapes.
Black and white photography is great for the bedroom, because of its ability to stand the test of time. Coloured photographs have the potential to date a piece of artwork (hello 1980s food photography), so opting for a black and white piece removes the potential of it becoming worn and tired. If you are careful to choose a piece that speaks to you personally, a black and white photograph can become an ‘evergreen’ artwork, something that will bring you joy and comfort throughout the many phases of your life.
It’s no secret that we’ve loved David Baker’s photography since he joined Artfinder in 2013. His Wave Study series captures both the intensity and serenity of the ocean, with his black and white wave pieces an exceptional option for the bedroom.
Literary inspired art
It’s not uncommon for people to snuggle up in bed and read a book. In fact, reading before drifting off to sleep actually helps the body to relax while the mind is in an altered state of consciousness. (Headspace, 2022). Considering the bedroom is the place to get that all-important rest, it makes sense to incorporate art that inspires you to pick up a book and truly unwind.
Peter Walters’ pieces are every literary fans’ dream. They are quirky, funny and are a celebration of the most loved novels and poetry throughout history. If you have a favourite author, chances are Peter has your art covered. And if he doesn’t, you can always commission a piece.
The bedroom can be a bit of a tricky place to decorate, as it requires some acknowledgement of your space and what atmosphere you’d like to create. However, incorporating a painting, screenprint or sculpture into your decor will leave you with bedroom eyes.
Header image artworks by Hyunah Kim