Hanging Picture Frames in the Bathroom

Written by Mark Rogers

You may want to spruce up every room in your house with a little personal decoration on the walls, but some rooms are better equipped to handle framed artwork than others.

When hanging artwork in the bathroom, the biggest problem you’ll run into is the humidity. Moisture can easily creep into a frame package, allowing mold to take hold and flourish. That doesn’t mean that hanging artwork in the bathroom is a lost cause, though: with a little bit of preparation and the right type of artwork and frame, you’ll never have bare bathroom walls again.

Hang Moisture-Proof, Replaceable Artwork

Mold can survive on almost any surface, but some materials will particularly encourage growth. Paper-based and wood products are a favorite snack of mold, for example — and it just so happens that much framed artwork is created on paper.

Don’t hang irreplaceable artwork in the bathroom, such as paper-based limited edition prints, documents, original paintings or vintage movie posters. If you do prefer a framed print, consider getting an inexpensive copy that you won’t mind replacing if mold begins to grow or the artwork begins to warp. Though you should not hang original or special canvases in the bathroom, canvas prints are generally safe in the bathroom as they often feature a special coating that can ward off moisture.

Alternatively, hang a framed metal print. Metal prints are made with aluminum, which does not rust or warp, and mold won’t grow nearly as easily — if at all — on these prints. Metal prints don’t require glazing, either, so you won’t have any chance of moisture buildup in the frame. Other items can also be framed in the bathroom, such as tiles, plates and other artwork made from non-paper products.

Use a Metal Frame

The bathroom’s constantly changing temperatures may cause wood frames to expand and contract, causing damage to the frame. Instead, use metal frames — our metal frames are made with aluminum, which does not rust and will withstand those fluctuating temperatures.

Avoid Glazing, But Use Acrylic When Needed

Moisture can more easily build up inside a framing package when there is glazing. If possible, use artwork that doesn’t require glazing; if you do need to use glazing, use acrylic instead of glass. Acrylic, unlike glass, allows some moisture to pass through, which will prevent moisture from building up inside the frame.

As a bonus, acrylic won’t shatter if the frame falls off the wall — an important factor in a room where you are often barefoot.

Vent the Room

Many bathrooms have exhaust fans, so make sure that you actually use it. Run the exhaust fan as soon as you enter the bathroom and for at least 20 minutes after a bath or shower. Leave the bathroom door open when not in use, and if you have a window, leave it open as often as you can.

For the Pros, Create a Sealed Enclosure

There is a way to frame whatever you want in the bathroom: create a sealed frame enclosure. This is generally only done by professionals for extremely valuable items, and it uses many materials that you most likely won’t have laying around the house, such as foil laminate or silica gel paper. Hugh Phibbs, a renowned preservation consultant, has written extensively on the subject of creating sealed enclosures that effectively trap out moisture, outlining methods that have been used to protect important documents such as the Declaration of Independence.

Of course, most people will probably opt to hang that precious artwork elsewhere in the house, instead choosing less important but still appealing artwork in the bathroom. While the bathroom is a place of heat and humidity, the two greatest enemies of wall frames, they can still be a great place to show off your taste in art and décor.

Further Reading:

Updated January 27, 2021

Share This

5 thoughts on “Hanging Picture Frames in the Bathroom”

  • Stan Hooper

    What about acrylic prints in the bathroom? That is, prints that are printed onto acrylic medium. They may be a slightly new product, but I have seen them advertised.

    • Mark Rogers

      Stan, there are different technologies that may fall into that category from face mounting prints on another substrate directly to the acrylic to printing directly on the acrylic. I do not have experience with acrylic printing, however I would guess they would be find in the bathroom as long as the printing technologies or adhesives (if face mounting) are not water soluble. This question would be better asked of the place providing the acrylic print.

  • Katie Cohn

    What about PVC instead of glass? How does that stack up to humidity compared to acrylic?

  • Mohit

    Great ideas for the bathroom Hanging Picture frames definitely going to try this.

  • Venus Cruz

    What do you think of MDF frame

  • Jamie

    I have some art prints that I would like to hang in a bathroom. I can’t say they are overly expensive, but they are printed directly from the artist on paper and I like them a great deal. If I have them laminated before I frame them will they be more permanently protected?

    • Heather

      Good afternoon Jamie,
      I would suggest looking into framing them with glass or acrylic to cover and protect.

      Thank you!

Add a Comment: