How To Pick Bedroom Wall Art

Setting the Mood: How to Pick the Right Bedroom Wall Art

Picking the right bedroom wall art is as important as the wall color, bedroom furniture, and the bedding for creating the right mood in the bedroom.

Your bedroom is your private oasis. A place to relax, unwind, and enjoy the finer things in the night. That’s why – when redecorating a bedroom – picking the decor & color schemes are equally important parts of creating your personal oasis.

Whether you want your bedroom to feel calm, comforting, or serene or want to infuse a bit more of a playful or sensual vibe, the right colors, decor accents, and the right bedroom wall art can make all the difference.

Bedroom wall decor plays a critical role in establishing or maintaining the overall mood in the bedroom, which is why it’s important to think about what you are about to hang on the wall before pulling out the hammer and nails.  

Selecting Bedroom Wall Art

The process of picking art for the bedroom is very different than the process that you would normally follow for picking art in any other room in the house, for obvious reasons.

For one, the way we use a bedroom is quite different from how we tend to use a living room, den, kitchen, or a home office. Bedrooms – as the name implies – are all centered around activities that happen in and around the bed.

Sleep being the #1 activity that happens in the bedroom, but it is not alone. Without going into details, suffice it to say that the things one does in a bedroom are rarely the same as the things one does in the kitchen. Rarely.

Setting the mood with bedroom wall art

Picking the right bedroom art helps reinforce the overall mood that you want to set for that space. Whether that be the relaxing retreat that you can escape to after a long, hard day, the passion-filled loved nest normally reserved for honeymooners, or the quaint and playful innocence of a child’s bedroom. And we won’t even touch on the issues of art for a teen’s bedroom, because there really is very little hope there.

That being said, in most cases art should be selected with the idea of being aesthetically pleasing while also helping to ease the mind into a restful state. That is why big, bold, engaging artworks may not always be right for the bedroom.

But it does depend. It always depends.

That’s why no hard and fast set of rules can every apply, to practically anything decor related. Because it always depends.

Setting the Right Mood with Bedroom Wall Art

The color, size, style, and style of the bedroom art you select directly correlates to the mood you want to set in that space.

Bedroom decor most often centers around 1 of 3 key themes:

Tranquility

Tranquil Bedroom Decor
A tranquil blue bedroom is accented with a simple yet effective semicolon, which is symbolic of taking a long pause before continuing.

Using your bedroom as a serene oasis requires careful thought about the colors, bedroom art, linens, and other decor accents.

Traditional art choices for a tranquil bedroom include landscapes, garden scenes, botanical images, and ocean views. But simple graphic art pieces work as well. These types of images convey a sense of peace and calm that is often desired in a space dedicated to taking a pause to sleep and relax.  

Passion

Passionate Bedroom Decor
In this luxurious bedroom designed by Duncan Hughes Interiors, passion is infused through colors and textiles.

Creating a sense of passion in the bedroom can be assisted by installing the right piece of artwork. Things with deep, rich reds, or erotic (but not raunchy) portraits can help create the right mood for the lovers’ bedroom.

It’s important to stay classy, especially if your bedroom is visible to guests making a quick trip to the bathroom. But it’s easier to take more aesthetic risks in order to achieve a particular mood in the privacy of your own bedroom.

Playfulness

Playful Bedroom Decor
The adorable forest created above the Daybed helps create a very playful but sophisticated look. Such fun!

Although most often associated with children’s bedrooms, a playful feeling in a bedroom usually centers around cute, fun colors and characters that remind us of the innocence of youth.

A joyful expression of color and imagery, these spaces are a bit livelier than your traditional bedroom, but can be very pleasantly put together.

Escape

Creating an Oasis to Escape To
This coastal inspired bedroom includes a perfectly themed photographic print that really sets the mood in this room.

Similar in concept, but with slight variations, the concept of Escape in the bedroom is to make the space a very different “world” where you can get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Bedroom wall art in an escape-centric theme often includes scenic photography, landscape paintings, or abstract art that has a distinct perspective of getting away from it all.

Whatever mood you are trying to convey, make sure you pick the right piece of bedroom wall art to convey that mood, and avoid things that contradict that mood… no matter how cool you may think they are.  

For example, whatever your decor mood, you probably want to avoid selecting pieces of Medieval art that feature particularly bloody acts of violence, as it may not set the right mood in a bedroom. The same would apply – in less extreme ways – to extremely bold and dramatic abstract pieces that are created with the intention of making the viewer think about what they’re looking at.

These guidelines get even blurrier when a bedroom serves multiple purposes. For example, a bedroom that also serves as a home office will need a slightly different mood that translates from day to night.

In the end, decide what mood you want to set in your bedroom and use that as a guide to help you pick bedroom wall art that helps tell that story.  

Bedroom Art Colors

Picking Bedroom Wall Art Colors

A recent article on the psychology of color in the bedroom,  showed how the color you select for your bedroom can have a direct impact on the overall feel and mood of the room. This also applies to bedroom wall art.

Color Psychology Profiles & How They Apply to Bedroom Art

  • Blue: Tranquility, serenity, and trust
  • Green: Nature, balance, and harmony
  • Yellow: Energy and attention
  • Orange: Creativity, warmth, and socialization
  • Brown: Reliability and strength
  • Red: Passion, romance, and adventure
  • Pink: Sweetness, femininity, and calm
  • Lilac: Spirituality and creativity
  • Black: Strength and protection

Remembering back (a few paragraphs ago) to the different mood types in a bedroom, this color psychology can be applied to each.

For most tranquil bedroom art applications, you will use the softer and more serene colors, including blue & green, in your overall bedroom decor scheme as well as your bedroom art. That doesn’t mean that you can’t add a small pop of red or pink into an otherwise serene room to add interest, just don’t overdo it. You don’t want people yelling “Redrum, Redrum!!!” every time they see your entirely red bedroom.  

It is also best to coordinate your bedroom wall art with the existing colors in your bedroom to maintain that sense of ease and calm. Many different colors and patterns – while providing visual interest – will fight against the tranquil mood you are trying set.

Red is – and probably always will be – known as the color of passion. So to create a bit of romantic flavor in your bedroom, add some wall art that has strong red influences.

Kids bedrooms love the use of bright, playful colors including blue, yellow, pink, and green – particularly the bright or primary versions. These keep the space lively and entertaining, but are not too overwhelming that you end up having trouble getting the little one off to bed each night. Nobody wants that, no matter how beautiful the room might look.

Black and white bedroom art is often used to create unique visual spaces that can be used to set a mood of escaping the otherwise bright and vivid world. Interesting but subdued black and white photography does a beautiful job of creating that sense of escape. I especially love the aleatoric photography of J Coleman Miller for this exact purpose. Some of his images are otherworldly without being overwhelming.

Bedroom Art Sizes

The Right Size for Bedroom Wall Art

According to the experts at The Spruce, large scale pieces are the best for hanging in the bedroom and should be placed at eye level either directly above the bed or on the opposite wall. Collections of smaller art pieces – particularly those that vary in colors, sizes, or subject matter – should be kept at a minimum because they can be too visually stimulating to work in the bedroom space.

If you want to install an art series, try to keep the number of pieces limited and make sure the individual pieces coordinate in both theme and color. It’s not so much the number of pieces as the change in visual themes that creates the busy sense of clutter that you don’t want in the bedroom.  

I’ve seen stunning installations of a dozen animal sketches in a little girl’s bedroom that work perfectly, and I’ve seen a single, absolutely stunning canvas art piece take the entire art focus in a single bedroom. Both can work, when executed correctly.

But your bedroom is not the right place for your family photos or an eclectic gallery wall of postcards you’ve collected during your world travels. Put those in the den or the office instead.

Bedroom Art Styles

Once again, the style or subject of the artwork depends a lot on what kind of mood you are trying to set with the decor.

Landscapes, ocean views, sweeping abstracts, and soft-focus and de-saturated photos tend to work best in a tranquil bedroom because of their overall calming feel. To maintain a sense of serenity, you want something that appeals to you visually, but doesn’t challenge you to think too much about the piece.

For example, I have two of Claude Monet’s most famous works in my bedroom, and – for me – the mixture of the floral influences, the unique landscape views, the impressionist style, and the colors he used in his artworks work perfectly for my tranquil bedroom.   

In the guest room, I’ve used something more abstract because it has a broader appeal to a wider variety of potential guests. But because I am still trying to achieve a look that borders between Escape and Tranquility, the patterns remain subdued and the colors are coordinated to the rest of the room.

For a passionate bedroom, big, bold canvas wall art works beautifully because of how well the artist’s passion can be translated through furious brushstrokes and rich colors. Subtly erotic black and white photography also does a lovely job of setting the stage for passion without being overbearing about it. Nobody likes a pushy bedroom!

And anything goes in the playful space, as long as it is fun and unique!

Bedroom Art Types

Bedroom Art Types

There is a wide range of art that can appropriately suit a bedroom, from canvas paintings, to photographic prints, to art plaques and more.

One of my personally favorites is the beautifully woven tapestry wall hanging. Not only do I love the visual look of a tapestry, but I also love the tactile feel of the woven artwork, and the acoustic benefit of sound-dampening fabric.

Although you might instantly picture a medieval tapestry in and old-time castle when you think of tapestry wall hangings, these intricately-woven art pieces are available in a variety of styles, sizes, and colors.

For a child’s bedroom, try to break the norm with wall stickers, murals, or more visually interesting but not overpowering items.

Metal wall art can also find a comfortable home inside the bedroom, particularly if it picks up on a pattern or texture that already exists in your bedroom furniture, linens, or other decorative accents. For example, a metal scrollwork panel that beautifully mimics the texture of your bedding would be an excellent choice.

However, one type of wall decor that we would not recommend for a bedroom is a decorative wall clock. As much as they can be beautiful to look at, nobody likes an oversized reminder of how little time there is between finally getting to and having to drag yourself out of it in the morning. Nobody. Not even the crazy person who hung the “The Nightmare” on their bedroom wall, and that person is bat-sh*t crazy!

Picking Bedroom Wall Art That Is Right for You

Picking Bedroom Wall Art That Is Right For You

In the end, art is subjective. When all is said and done, the most important thing is that you pick a piece of bedroom wall art that you will appreciate and enjoy.  

Art is – among other things – a direct extension of your personal style.  No rules, tips, or tricks can or should override your own sense of self. The most important thing is that the bedroom art you pick is something you will enjoy looking at every night as you go to bed and every morning when you leave it.

And, final note:  No – no matter how much we all enjoy a good Netflix binge session, a flat-screen TV mounted on the wall does not count as “functional art.”

Sorry about that!

Painted mural on bedroom wall

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