13 creative ways to decorate bathroom walls

These bathroom wall decor ideas will add character, fun and texture to your bathroom. 13 DIY looks to get your creative juices flowing.

A dark green bathroom with abstract prints and white bathtub
(Image credit: Bathroom Mountain)

These bathroom wall decor ideas are perfect to add more interest to spaces big and small. No matter what your go-to interior design style may be, decorating bathroom walls goes so much further than simply hanging a print.

That is a good place to start for sure, but in many ways, the bathroom can be a great spot where you can explore different wall decor ideas since they tend to be a little bare, bar a towel rail and vanity unit, of course. 

Bathroom wall decor ideas: top tips

You can really let your imagination loose in this room above all others because you don't have to worry too much about your wall decor clashing with a sofa/a specific room decorating style.

Remember that wall decor doesn't always equal prints and the key to showstopping results is to use your imagination, combining that with the functional elements of your bathroom – fixtures and storage. Of course, there is much in the way of wall materials also, think bathroom tile ideas and even wallpaper, all of which can go a long way to create stunning feature walls.

Having said this, according to Helen Armon-Jones, Founder of The Art Buyer, 'Ultimately, wall art and plants add the most character, even to the simplest of white tiled schemes. Whichever way you go with art in the bathroom, just be sure to speak to an expert framer as they will find you the best solution to ensure your art is fully protected and hung with care in the bathroom.'

Don't be put off hanging wall art in a bathroom just because it's a humid space – 'the bathroom can be a great place to hang wall art, so long as it's a well-ventilated space with windows and extractor fans, that is not prone to steaming up.'

As for positioning your wall decor, Armon Jones recommends hanging your wall decor 'above a large bath, ideally near a window. Similarly, a pair of works hung either side of your bathroom mirror will add depth and interest.' 

Whatever you choose, don't play it safe –  'bathrooms offer the opportunity to be brave with decorating', so just for whatever makes you happy.

1. Less is more with paintings

A neutrally decorated bathroom with pink curtain and painting on the wall

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Gallery wall ideas can work in a bathroom, especially if yours is all-white or neutral. However, if your preferred type of bathroom wall decor is a real painting, you don't need too many to make an impact. A carefully chosen piece in a beautiful frame is enough to make an elegant statement. Our top tip is to try and match the colors in the painting to the overall color scheme of your bathroom for a harmonious effect.  

2. Decorate the space above the sink 

A cobalt blue bathroom with floral stencilled tile over the sink

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

There is more than one way to decorate bathroom walls, and many of those ways don't involve hanging anything on the walls themselves. Bathrooms give you quite a bit of freedom and room for being imaginative in terms of what counts as wall decor. If you have a tiled area above your sink, for example, you can transform it into wall decor by stenciling it. This is an inexpensive and quirky option that works especially well as part of small bathroom ideas

3. Add wallpaper panels for a sophisticated look

A light green bathroom with floral decoupage wallpaper panels

(Image credit: Annie Sloan)

Bathroom wallpaper ideas can transform a bathroom even if you don't wallpaper the whole room. Take inspiration from this exquisite design by Annie Sloam that emphasizes the characterful architectural features in this traditional bathroom.  

Even if you don't have original features on your wall, you can still create dimension and texture with wallpaper. Choose carefully, though – ask the supplier if the design you like is suitable for bathroom use. 

4. Prop up a large print against your tub

A grey bathroom with square bath, cheese plant and botanical print

(Image credit: Bathroom Mountain)

Another easy way to add wall decor without putting nails into your wall is to simply prop up a large print against the wall in the space between it and your bathtub. The larger the frame you get the better, and, of course, your print will need to be protected with glass or perspex from water splashes. 

We really like the way the botanical print in this bathroom echoes the real plant in the corner – a subtle take on the ever-popular botanical print theme. Botanical accents also work really well to soften modern bathroom ideas with angular bathtub designs.

5. Let beautiful bathroom tile become your wall art

A bathroom with a decorative mosaic tile panel around the sink

(Image credit: Original Style)

Incorporating tile into your bathroom decor ideas is a failsafe way to add wall decor while keeping everything hygienic and waterproof. There are so many benefits to tiling, even if it's just a section of your bathroom wall, as opposed to all-over paint. And the smaller the section you're tiling, the bolder you can be with your choice of tile. Try a shimmering mosaic effect for livening up plain white walls, for instance. 

6. Display decorative objects on bathroom shelves

A tiled bathroom with freestanding bath and shelving

(Image credit: Tile Club)

If you're looking for DIY bathroom wall decor ideas, you may want to reassess your bathroom cabinet. If you have a built-in cabinet with recessed shelves, then taking off the door and painting the shelves will give you plenty of room to create a beautiful display. Baskets and marine-themed ornaments such as seahorses and starfish are obvious candidates for displaying on bathroom shelves, but your imagination is the limit here.

A deep green bathroom with white slipper bathtub and framed artiworks

(Image credit: Bathroom Mountain)

Drilling holes into bathroom walls often isn't ideal, especially if your bathroom is rented. And even if you own your own home, you may not want to mess with that painstakingly applied bathroom paintwork. The solution? If you have any ledge room on your walls, use it to prop up your prints. Create a relaxed, contemporary effect by grouping several prints of different sizes. For maximum design impact, opt for black frames – they'll give you lots of contrast, which is always welcome in bathrooms with white walls. 

8. Create a display on a floating shelf

A white bathroom with a floating shelf

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

If you want to combine DIY bathroom wall decor ideas with bathroom storage ideas, then a floating shelf will give you the best of both functionality and unobtrusive style. 

You can learn how to put up a shelf very easily, even if you are a beginner. In the bathroom, you'll want your shelf to be low enough to reach any storage baskets or makeup bags you may end up putting on it, but high enough that you can put a print on it as wall decor.

9. Get creative with bathroom lighting

A pink pleated lampshade above a sink in a bathroom

(Image credit: Tori Murphy)

Thinking a bit differently about bathroom lighting ideas can yield great results when decorating your bathroom walls. While a wall sconce or spotlights are perfectly serviceable, you can achieve a more individual look by opting for more characterful lighting. We really like the soft pink pleated lampshade used in this bathroom – note how the color matches the pink roses in the painting. Perfect. 

10. Double up on mirrors

A tiled bathroom with double sink and two round mirrors

(Image credit: Tile Club)

Bathroom mirror ideas can easily become part of your bathroom wall decor. Mirrors are never just functional – from their shape to their frames, they can make a big difference to the overall look of your room. Ornate frames can easily elevate your mirrors to the status of wall decor. And if your space is large enough, why not hang two mirrors instead of one, for a smart, symmetrical effect?

11. Decorate a wall recess

A beige bathroom with a contrasting recess decorated with sea shells

(Image credit: Crown Paint)

Any architectural features you have on your walls are always worth emphasizing to add interest. If you have one of those little wall recesses used for shower gel bottles, you can easily transform it into a small display area. 

We really like the way a wall recess has been painted a bright, contrasting coral to the rest of the wall in this bathroom. And the beautiful seashell inside creates a finished look. 

12. Create a spa-esque view with houseplants

A bathroom with wall-mounted houseplants

(Image credit: Lechuza)

Houseplants in bathrooms have been a trend for quite some time, and it turns out they make for perfect bathroom wall decor. This bathroom green wall has been created with Lechuza's green wall kit and uses humidity-loving bathroom houseplants that thrive in bright spaces. Of course, you will need a bathroom with a window to recreate this look. Choose ferns and humidity-loving tropical species like calathea. Avoid cacti and succulents – they will not tolerate humid bathrooms. 

13. Fix waterproof art

A waterpoof painting of a tiger hung above a bathtub in a charcoal grey bathroom

(Image credit: YardArt UK )

If your heart is set on hanging an artwork right above the bathtub, and you're not a fan of glass-front frames, you will need to think carefully about the water-resistant properties of your chosen wall art. The artwork used in this bathroom is from YardArt – all their artworks (including the frames) are printed directly onto outdoor grade acrylic, meaning that they are waterproof and durable and suitable for any moisture-rich environment.

Note that you will need architectural bolts to hang a heavy artwork like this one – the last thing you want is the painting falling over and smashing your bathroom tiles or making a dent in your tub.

What can I put on my bathroom walls?

Armon-Jones singles out prints as a 'great and affordable option' for bathrooms – 'just make sure they are framed under glass with waterproof backing.' You can also put an unframed canvas on your bathroom wall, 'if attached directly to the wall with security fittings, minimizing the possibility of moisture running down the back of the piece.' If your heart is set on a painting, then 'make sure it is carefully framed, ideally with a mount behind a glass frame. But do remember, anything in a glass frame must be wiped so to prevent condensation from sitting and ruining the piece.'

What kind of art can you put in a bathroom?

Ultimately, it's down to your own taste – don't worry too much about what's appropriate for a bathroom, so long as it looks good and makes you happy. If you're not sure where to start with choosing wall art for your bathrooms, Armon-Jones recommends looking at the overall character of the room first and going from there. So, 'if you have a dark-hued, bold paint on the walls, then contrasting it with a still life canvas is a great option as it'll add balance and pop against the dark walls.' On the other hand, 'a bright painting that pops against your scheme will provide focus.' 

Among the many different kinds of art you can hang on a bathroom wall are traditional floral studies and abstract artworks 'in striking neons' – these 'will help to glow up and add an all-year-round boost of the sun - a pair of round canvas paintings, beautifully framed behind glass would do the trick.' 

Armon-Jones's top tip for neutral and muted spaces is 'adding artworks with bold and zesty tones will bring life and energy to the space.'

Finally, to keep in with the traditional bathroom feel, 'paintings with water and aqua themes will always add that sense of restfulness and relaxation. As bathrooms should be a place for relaxing, escaping, and indulging, spa-like abstract seascapes will help you to dream away.'

Anna is Content Editor at Real Homes. She moved to the world of interiors from academic research in the field of English Literature and photography. She is the author of London Writing of the 1930s and has a passion for contemporary home decor and gardening. At Real Homes, she covers a range of topics, from practical advice to interior and garden design. 

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