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Is It Safe To Hang Framed Artwork In Bathrooms, Above A Fireplace, Or Other “Risky” Areas?

Framed pieces in bathroom

Personal style and taste is how we choose to decorate with artwork in almost every area in our home, but we often neglect bathrooms, above fireplaces, or walls that get direct sunlight because of the risks of damaging our art. Concerns about humidity, changing temperatures, and UV rays that come with the territory are valid.  These conditions can cause damage no matter how well protected your artwork is. Fortunately, we have some suggestions to deal with your apprehension and still allow you to adorn these areas so they will be just as stylish as the rest of your home.

Choosing the right artwork, opting for damage-resistant materials, and taking protective measures will help make these areas of your home stress-free decorative zones.

Choosing The Right Artwork

bathroom artwork in metal frame

You don’t want to hang an irreplaceable work of art in a place where there is a high probability of it becoming damaged. Bathrooms, no matter how well ventilated, are subject to steam being circulated and create an environment that isn’t kind to your artwork. Moisture can easily be trapped under glass.

Above a fireplace can be a beautiful way to showcase artwork, but the heat and sulfur produced can harm some artworks.

And as much as we love the sun, direct UV rays in any part of our homes can cause fading and discoloration to anything in its path.

This is where budget-friendly artwork comes to the rescue! Choose something that you won’t be heartbroken about if you have to replace it. There are tons of free prints you can search for online, or you could simply make your own! A great website for free photos is Unsplash where you can find thousands of images. One or two of them may be just what you’re looking for! 

If you do have an original piece that you think would look perfect in one of these areas, consider duplicating it and hanging the copy instead. Print on acid-free paper or canvas for the bathroom. Both are able to withstand a humid environment. Don’t forget to use your exhaust fan or just open a window to minimize the risk of damage.

Use window treatments during the day to block out harmful UV rays for extra sunny spots, and always maintain fireplaces (especially older ones) to keep your artwork — and everyone enjoying it — safe.

Using More Durable Materials

Artwork above bathtub

To avoid damaging a wood frame, and in turn, wreaking havoc on your piece of art, it’s often better to choose a metal frame for problem areas.

At Frame It Easy we have 5 different metal frames for you to select from and 10 different colors to enhance any artwork you choose to frame. A metal frame can do double duty: create a stylish display and protect it at the same time!

In humid bathrooms, mold won’t grow on metal frames and can better withstand constantly changing temperatures without flexing or bowing. Tip: When using in a bathroom, consider matching your frame style to complement the fixtures. (And of course, make sure to place your artwork at a good distance away from water or a water source.) 

Above a fireplace, a solid mantel will do most of the protection from heat and smoke rising. You may decide to use seasonal pictures when your fireplace is not being used, but, if you’re looking to keep your art up all year, try hanging your piece four to twelve inches above your mantel if space permits.

Resting artwork against your mantel can also make an appealing display, but be sure you’ve taken similar precautions to protect it as much as possible. Metal frames will serve you better here as well.

More Ways to Protect Your Artwork

Pictures on fireplace mantel

Even though you are not hanging a priceless work of art in these risky areas, you still want to protect it as much as possible.  Make sure that the frame is properly put together and that the artwork isn’t actually touching the cover. The best way to ensure this is by using a mat. Matting adds not only to the look of your piece but protects your artwork from being pressed against the front glass or acrylic. 

Applying framer’s tape to the back of the artwork up against the mat will also make sure that small openings are sealed shut to create a barrier between your artwork and potential moisture or pollutants.

At Frame It Easy, all frames ship with the accessories you need to hang your artwork, including foam corners/bumpers to protect your frames and walls. Bonus: bumpers give your frame added ventilation space to allow your artwork to “breathe.” We want you to protect your artwork as much as you do wherever you decide to place it!

Final Thoughts

Large frame pieces in entry way

So, is it safe to hang art in risky locations, such as steamy bathrooms, above a working fireplace, or in direct sunlight? Hanging art in these areas of your home has inherent risks, however, if you take precautions in protecting your art, the probability of doing damage to these pieces — especially short term — can be substantially lowered. 

Artwork is meant to be enjoyed, but anything that is sentimental to you or is an original piece should not be hung in places that might jeopardize your continued enjoyment of it for years to come. Copies of original pieces or prints that can be replaced can give just as much pleasure without the worry. There is no way to guarantee that your artwork will not get damaged by moisture, pollution, heat, or sunlight if you choose to hang it in risky areas, but taking certain precautions can lessen the probability of it happening. 

The most important thing to remember is to use art that you’re willing to take the risk of damage, or don’t mind replacing over time.

Looking for more tips? Check out our Top 5 Tips for Hanging Picture Frames Like a Pro and 3 Pro Tips for Picture Frame Maintenence.

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