If These Pillows Could Talk: Art in the Bedroom

Andy Dixon -  Expensive Painting (Nude 1),  40x52 inches, 2016.

Andy Dixon - Expensive Painting (Nude 1), 40x52 inches, 2016.

Bedrooms are about as complicated as the people who inhabit them. Selecting art for your bedroom, like any space in your home, should be a carefully tailored decision based on your lifestyle and taste.

The bedroom in many ways beholds the individual to whom it belongs. As a space, its purpose fluctuates according to the mood and the time, and vice versa. Throughout a lifetime, bedrooms capture the various facets of one’s being, from our childhood amusements to adolescent obsessions and beyond. Cross-culturally, the bedroom is the quintessential space of privacy and solitude, representing one’s place to retreat and retire. The bedroom is however also the domain of connection, a place for intimacy between persons and frequently a shared room in a partnership. Cross-historically, beds have even been the scene of childbirth and, conversely, illness and death.  

One apparent constant in the bedroom is that impulse to fashion it to our personal liking. Apart from the staunch minimalists, their starkness being a style unto itself, most people find their bedroom a setting for self-expression, and artwork has always been a part of this. While the pin-up poster, from classic wartime illustrations to icons by the likes of Farrah Fawcett, has been a bedroom mainstay for generations, the bedroom presents itself with expansive curatorial potential. A bedroom can truly absorb one’s aura, becoming its own signature work of art. A bedroom can make a strong impression, exuding a characteristic aesthetic made up of textures, colors, composition, and other accents. For this reason, the bedroom is the perfect place to extend your art collection, and arguably the most exciting room to purchase artwork for.

The paradoxical mixture of moods and functions in the bedroom require a nuanced selection process. Working together with your trusted art advisory, you should contemplate what kind of atmosphere best suits you and your bedroom and what kind of angle to take in order to achieve that atmosphere with artwork. For some, subject matter is most important to consider for the private quarters: nudes and other human figurative subjects can emphasize the corporal, sensual nature of one’s time in the bedroom; landscapes and abstracts lend themselves to a more meditative environment. Creating a delicate balance of subject matters across several pieces is a great way to enhance your surroundings in a way that maintains the room’s overall flexibility.  

You might find instead that focusing foremost on color and form is best when finding artwork for your bedroom, as these elements speak more loudly to your individual vision for the room. For example, reds and oranges would complement a warmer, playful, or sexual bedroom climate while cool tones or black and white pieces are better for those who want their artwork to facilitate rest and relaxation. Similarly, an advisor can locate pieces with more organic versus geometric forms for clients who desire a more stimulating versus stabilizing effect, respectively. You may even consider taking inspiration from the bedroom as the venue for sleep and dreaming, taking the opportunity to explore surreal or conceptual options.

Being the domain of both sleeping and waking, of both making love and withdrawing into ourselves, the bedroom is a fluid, personal space requiring distinct decorative attention. While purchasing and displaying art is always a matter of your own preferences, the bedroom is especially the place to let your artistic tastes shine. Whether you want your walls to inspire you, quiet you, arouse you, or all of the above, your art collection is key to dictating the signature ambience of your bedroom.

Words by Michelle Costanza