Choosing the Right Frame for Your Art

25th Jan 2017

As an artist, your goal is to find the right home for your artwork, where the piece is appreciated and can inspire and breathe beauty to a certain space. A picture frame will help solidify your voice using your selected media. The right frame will help provide the right decorative context for your piece.

Let us take a look at some types of pieces (paintings, posters, etc.) and some tips for choosing the right frame for your selected genre:

Picture Frame Options for Classical Still Life

Antique picture frame in gold. A piece such as a still life calls for a classic style – usually an ornate gold picture frame, particularly a gold frame with lots of carved detail and ornamentation. This provides an excellent contrast to the still life, particularly if your piece is a bit stark or uncluttered. You can pair this with a double mat, with gold fillet edging at the inside edge of the matting.

Vintage wood picture frame. If you do not go for gilded grandeur, you can use a frame with a dark wood finish to provide warmth to the still life. This frame can feature moderate ornamentation and should ideally use a wide cream or white mat as a breather between the piece and the frame.

Metallic frame in a complementary shade. Choose a dominant color in the still life and get a complementary shade of that color. You won’t need to add the matting even if you choose a narrow metal frame that adds just a bit of gleam.

Picture Frame Options for Seascapes and Soft Nature Pieces

Colored picture frames. Cool metal silvers or warm pink-finished frames can imbibe a modern vibe to a traditional nature or seascape image.

Stretched canvas on wood-finished wrap-around frames. Instead of the usual frames that cover the edges of the painting, mount a stretched canvas piece on a frame that has raised edges all the way around the frame. This type of frame encloses the white border of the wraparound canvas so that you do not need to cover the front of the painting in order to provide structure and support to the piece. Look for a frame with white or rustic wood finish.

Softly neutral-hued frames. Let your more intense seascapes or nature pieces stand out by mounting it in a lightly texture mat with a plain white picture frame.

Picture Frame Options for Bright and Modern Pieces

Colored picture frames. Borrow a particularly bright color from the piece and mirror its color on a glossy metal frame. Just make sure that it has a white or cream matting board in between and that the frame is not more than three inches wide.

Simple black or white frame. Pop art can really pop with a simple frame – such as a white or black square picture frame in a fuss-free matt finish.

Picture Frame Options for Photographs

Combine Light-Hued Picture Frames with Woven Mats. Introduce textures with a woven mat, preferably using two layers in shades that match those in the photo and in varied widths. Use a combination of dark and light hues, with the darker matting on the outside and the lighter matting on the inside.

Plain black picture frames. For black and white images, simplify things by getting a black picture frame with clean, simple lines.

Vintage oval picture frames. A classic-themed portrait will be perfectly “at home” in an antique oval picture frame, complete with bubble glass. This is a reminder of the classic portraits in the early 60s and 70s.

Neutral wood picture frames. This type of frame, combined with a white mat, can suit virtually any type of photo, be it modern or classic, colored or sepia-toned. Plus, it easily works with almost all types of room design and style.

Picture Frame Options for Art Posters

White wood frame. Pick a white matte-finished, two-inch wide frame to upgrade a poster into a polished art display. This ensemble is perfect for a white wall, where the white-on-white combination makes the poster look like it’s raised on the wall, making lettering more visible.

Wood shadow box. Instead of a frame, try using a shadow box frame, one that is some 2 inches higher than the poster. The placement of the poster is on the backing board, making the frame higher than the poster.