05/11/2014 15:44 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

Why I Won't Put My Children's Paintings On The Wall

Little girl painting watched by motherCorbis

I like my house. I like the cream walls in the kitchen and the tastefully arranged Bridgewater pottery. I like my arty photographs, my scatter cushions and the sculpture we got as a wedding present from Sophie and Ian.

I don't like badly crayoned pictures of me, where I've apparently got no hair and my teeth are bigger than my hands, stuck up haphazardly on walls with blu-tak and pieces of peeling Sellotape. I don't like models made of yoghurt pots, PVA glue dripping between the cracks, gracing my occasional tables. And I don't like glitter. Anywhere.


I have three children, who all love to draw, paint and craft. They make all manner of rubbish on an average day and present it proudly to me to place on display. I ooh and aah as is required, then wait for them to go to bed before slipping it quietly into the recycling bin.


Well, it's not exactly Jackson Pollock, is it?

Don't get me wrong, if they've spent time over a picture and produced something lovely, I'll put it on the fridge for a while before it goes in the art file for posterity.

But I don't plaster the walls with my kids' art, or display their creations in the sitting room, and I'm not the only one.

Mum-of-one Caroline would never blu-tak her son's art to the walls of her traditionally decorated farmhouse, furnished with oil paintings and water colours from the many sale rooms the family visits. "It leaves greasy marks on the wall and looks scruffy," she says. "Houses with children's pictures all over the walls make me feel claustrophobic – it's too bohemian a way for me to live."

When her son Harry was younger, they would choose together which pieces of his artwork to keep. "We would attach it to the fridge with a clip, then change it as he brought new pieces home. Really good pictures were framed and hung in the kitchen."

Claire's two children are four and two, and produce multiple masterpieces at nursery and at home. "Anything particularly good, or marking a milestone I photograph. I have a photo book I had made of all Hugo's 0-3 artwork. Special pieces I have framed, or made into canvases for the kitchen wall." Children's art is otherwise confined to the playroom and on no account would pieces be stuck on the sitting room walls. "Absolutely categorically not. Never. Ever."

Someone who isn't nearly so house-proud is mum-of-four Karen, whose home is covered with paintings produced by her off-spring. "I love it," she beams. "They fill the house with colour, and everywhere I look I see another reason to smile."

Occasionally Karen will have a blitz and take down some of the older pictures, but mostly she simply finds a piece of paintwork not yet displaying hand-drawn art, and sticks up the latest masterpiece.


I think it shows my kids how proud of them I am. I'd never hide it away or restrict what I had on the walls – what could be more beautiful to look at than a painting done by a child?


Vanessa, mum to three-year-old Jack, agrees. "I've kept everything he's produced, ever since he was old enough to hold a pen. We started off sticking things up in the kitchen, but we soon ran out of room and now paintings are displayed all over the house. I like to see them in our bedroom, and I always have some sort of sculpture creation made from loo roll on the mantelpiece in the sitting room."

The idea of restricting artwork to one area feels completely wrong to her. "It's Jack's house too – why shouldn't he have his artwork up in every room?"

Girl proudly showing her paintingAlamy

I agree with Vanessa in principle, and in no way want to stifle my children's creativity. But we've worked hard to get our house looking a certain way, and I don't want scrappy bits of paper messing it up. Just as there are no toys in my sitting room or bedroom, so there are no children's paintings in either of those rooms.

But as my children grow, so their output increases and the avalanche of paper is too much even for the recycling box. More and more of their paintings are worthy of keeping, and I've had to find another place to display it.

So I've taken to sticking pictures to the back of the kids' bedroom doors where I can take a peek if I need an artistic fix; the children can admire their work from inside their rooms and show it off to Grandma when she comes to visit, yet it doesn't offend my minimalist eye.

As artist Frank Gelett Burgess once said, "I don't know anything about art, but I know what I like." And I like a tidy house.

What do you think?
Do you display all pictures with pride? Or are you keen to keep 'grown-up' zones?