Bedroom wall art ideas – how to style the blank space over your bed, according to interior designers
Discover fresh, interesting bedroom wall art ideas with this advice from interior design professionals
It's easy to get stuck for bedroom wall art ideas. That space over your headboard is tailor-made for displaying a beautiful frame or wall-hanging, but deciding on exactly what it should be is the challenge. What size should it be? Where should it be positioned? What style of art? These are all questions that are worth asking and that, if you find the right answer toe, will make sure that your wall art heightens your bedroom's style, not diminish it.
After all, some bedroom wall decor ideas are more pedestrian than others. Really your choice of art should serve to enhance the rest of your scheme. If you're looking for something more unusual and exciting to use as a frame of reference for your own design, here we've curated a micro gallery of ideas for designers who use bedroom walls as a canvas to experiment with art.
Bedroom wall art ideas from interior designers
So what makes for good subject matter for bedroom wall art? 'Bedrooms should feel like a retreat,' says Kelsey McGregor, founder and principal of the Kelsey Leigh Design Co. 'I tend to choose art that evokes a feeling of rest, whether that be abstract landscapes, or textured/neutral paintings.'
Rest is, of course, an abstract that different people experience in different ways, but it's a good place to start, if a restful bedroom is something you're looking for.
1. Choose calm, but interesting pieces
Calm doesn't have to mean boring of course, rather just that it sets a tone for a space that's meant to be for sleep. Think about colors in artwork the same as you would calming paint colors for bedrooms, and look for pieces that have a stillness about them, over those that make you feel a sense of energy.
In this bedroom design by Los Angeles and London-based design studio Stelly Selway, a contrasting duo of wall art adds a focal point to the room, but doesn't feel intrusive. 'The large scale art we commissioned for this primary bedroom by Carla Cascales was calming, serene and tonal, we wanted it to feel like the room was enveloped in warmth,' explains interior designer and cofounder Tanya Selway. 'Carla is an emerging painter from Barcelona and our clients were interested in investing in a piece that would become part of their collection.'
2. Think beyond frames and canvases
There's a world outside of two-dimensional wall art, and above a bed is a great place to get creative. Wall hangings and other items put on display can bring texture and form to a bedroom that a frame often just can't.
Take this bedroom design by Jessica Gersten Interiors as an example, where a chain-link style net has been used to decorate over the bed. 'In the primary junior bedroom, I wanted something sculptural and with form, not a framed piece,' explains principal designer Jessica Gersten. 'This is a beach home so I wanted something airy and open at the same time.'
This wall art has a tactile quality to it that complements this neutral bedroom, adding interest and a contrasting tone that adds some impact to the room, without overwhelming it.
Another off-beat idea is with bedroom wall panel ideas. Wall moldings, or thin wooden slats when arranged aesthetically in the room can double as art and make a room come alive.
3. Think creatively about hanging art
'Your bedroom should feel as unique as you are,' says interior designer Cortney Bishop, and this design, though a set in the designer's studio, is full of unusual ideas. An oversized pegboard creates a base from which a decorative wall hanging sits proudly, a lo-fi contrast to the rich textures of the fabrics from Cortney's textile brand Harwood House.
While this pegboard styling might not be for everyone, consider how hanging wall art over a bed might sit alongside other wall paneling ideas, murals and wallpaper or paint effects, working together towards a creative display for your bedroom walls.
4. Go off center for a more interesting look
The natural placement for a piece of art is straight down the middle of the bed, creating a symmetrical look. Yet, when you do something a little bit unexpected with something like placing art asymmetrically in a bedroom, that's where the real magic can happen.
'When a room has a strong sense of symmetry because of the architectural elements, it is casual gestures like unconventional furniture or art placement that give a space personality,' explains David Lucas, creative director of Lucas Interior.
'We love to explore ways of doing things that are unexpected in our work and that feel slightly subdued. This move shouldn’t define the space but rather draw your attention to it in a way that you might not have considered before,' he explains.
5. Remember art doesn't always have to be the focal point
It's easy to think that art over a bed is going to do a lot of the heavy lifting in terms of creating a focal point, but art doesn't always need to be the main attraction of a space. It can be put to use just as well creating background texture, complementing and enhancing other elements of the design, such as modern bedroom furniture.
Take this design by Kelsey Leigh Design Co, as an example. 'A four poster bed needs to remain the statement piece so we usually choose a smaller horizontal art piece or two to three smaller pieces.,' explains principal designer Kelsey McGregor. 'Our goal is for the art to compliment the bed, not overwhelm the space.'
6. Experiment with scale
Getting scale right is one of the trickiest parts of choosing art for bedroom walls. In modern interior design, it's safe to say that bigger is usually seen as better when it comes to wall art, but there's a charming confidence in spaces where small pieces of art are used successfully.
'Using smaller pieces on a large wall is interesting as it draws the viewer in, and is unexpected and delightful,' extols Tanya Selway, cofounder of Stelly Selway. 'In bedrooms we will add small artworks above the headboard in a linear line, or a lone piece above a console with some vertical accessories.'
But what is the key to making small art feel appropriately sized for the space? 'Go for bright frames and bold subject colours in the small pieces of art,' Tanya suggests. 'Make them loud and significant and then ground the artwork with furniture – the line of a mantle or a chair underneath so it doesn't appear to be floating.'
7. Choose an artistic headboard
What about a headboard idea that doubles art as an artistic focal point for the space? In the design of this Los Angeles home, interior designer Davide Casaroli used a piece of raw-edged walnut to bring interest to the bedroom.
'My idea was to design a space that was sophisticated and calming,' he explains. 'The natural wood board is our "headboard", and the focus point of the bed wall in the room.'
'This walnut element is not quite furniture, not quite art, it's like sleeping under nature. The balance and the harmony of the colors are our keys here,' Davide says.
How do you choose wall art for a bedroom?
Other than considering art that reflects the atmosphere you want to create, there's no hard and fast rules for choosing art. 'Art trends are so varied and subjective, so depending on the project and client, their histories or points of reference we will look for art that speaks their language,' explains Tanya Selway.
'Some clients come to us with strong collections we have to build around,' explains designer Kenneth Brown, 'others have never purchased original art before and we get to educate them on the importance of building a collection.'
'It's important to us to showcase artists that are making their mark on the world in a beautiful way, and I guess that is a trend we really lean into as a design studio,' echoes Tanya.
Luke Arthur Wells is a freelance design writer, award-winning interiors blogger and stylist, known for neutral, textural spaces with a luxury twist. He's worked with some of the UK's top design brands, counting the likes of Tom Dixon Studio as regular collaborators and his work has been featured in print and online in publications ranging from Domino Magazine to The Sunday Times. He's a hands-on type of interiors expert too, contributing practical renovation advice and DIY tutorials to a number of magazines, as well as to his own readers and followers via his blog and social media. He might currently be renovating a small Victorian house in England, but he dreams of light, spacious, neutral homes on the West Coast.
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