The bathroom is a tricky room to hang art on the walls due to the high levels of humidity and often increased temperatures when you run a bath or shower, or just run the hot water tap each morning. You’ll know from experience; the room turns into a sauna environment quickly with condensation steaming up your mirrors (unless you use the fog-free mirror type).
Some things can be displayed safely in your bathroom, but for the most part, framed prints aren’t one of them.
Tips for putting artwork or photos in your bathroom
- Wood warps so use aluminium frames
Every type of wood product will expand, and contract based on temperature fluctuations. It’s the reason gaps are left when laminate floors are installed, and wood garden sheds wind up with cracks in the wood that need to be taken care of on occasion.
Due to the nature of wood, it needs space to expand and contract. You’ll never get a wood picture frame that’s completely sealed because the size changes, although that’s usually micro-millimetres, but it’s enough space to allow condensation to creep into the frame, damaging the material inside it.
- Acrylic is favoured over glass
Some moisture can pass through acrylic rather than be trapped behind a glass glazing, making it a more suitable option to use on prints for the bathroom. Additionally, should the frame fall from the wall in a room when you and your family are often barefoot, you’re safer with acrylic because it’s anti-shatter so if there is an accident, you won’t be left with shards of glass to clean up.
- Frame a copy, not your original
Paper-based products are not suitable for high humidity environments. That’s why there’s a problem when you want to put art in your bathroom because prints are mostly printed on paper. A safer alternative for original prints is canvas, but even at that, it’s not without its problems because the canvas is stretched with stretcher bars made of wood so even that’s going to expand and contract just like wood frames would.
If you’re intent on framing something to put on your bathroom wall, expect there to be problems. Take the conservative, lower-risk approach by keeping your original safe. Make a copy and frame that. This way, if condensation does get into the frame, any mould and mildew that does affect your print can be tossed, and a new one put in the frame, provided it’s an aluminium frame because wood can be affected as much as paper prints. Remember, both wood and paper come from the same source.
The bathroom is a tricky room to personalise with framed works of art. It can be done, but there’s no easy way to do it that’s without its risk because of the high humidity.
If you really want art on your walls, frame a copy of the original, use an aluminium frame and for the glazing, choose acrylic as that’s going to let some moisture pass through, so it doesn’t get trapped in the frame speeding up the process for mould and mildew to develop.