Choosing the Right Frame for Your Art
Now that you’ve selected your art, it is time to find the perfect way to showcase it. Do you spend money on a professional framer? What type of frame will look best with each piece? What color should it be? Should it be wood or metal?
Luckily, there aren’t any hard and fast rules regarding framed artwork, but there are several considerations to keep in mind when choosing the right frame. Knowing these little "secrets" will make the selection process much easier!
Subject and Style
Often the style of artwork will dictate they style of frame. For example, an abstract painting will look best with a simple frame with clean lines. Conversely, a baroque work is more compatible when placed in a like frame.
Portraiture and pastoral landscapes tend to look better with a traditional frame with a bit of acanthus detail, gilt or scrolls. If you have a Dutch master still life or portrait of a historically influential person, pull out all the stops with the most ornate frame you can find!
So, the lesson here is: match the style of frame with the tone, style and subject matter of the art. If you’re not confident about mixing styles of frames and art – don’t attempt it yourself, get the advice of a framing expert.
Choose a frame size that mirrors the size of the artwork. A skimpy frame on an large, impressive work does not do the art justice. Likewise, an oversized frame will overpower a piece of petite dimensions.
Although, sometimes a big frame can make a statement when paired with a small work of art. However, if you’re unsure, stick with a small frame instead of making what could be a costly wrong decision.
Don't think you need to match your frame color to the artwork. The delicate floral still life below would look much better in a wood tone or gold gilded wood frame. it is better to stick with a neutral frame color to avoid becoming obsessed with matching the dominant color in the art.
I steer clear of colorful picture frames when framing art. I prefer to use black, brown, wood finish or metallic – these "safe" tones will highlight your art and not compete with it. Feel free to experiment with frames in more playful colors for your kids’ rooms.
If you are still in a quandary about a frame color, go with one that is unassuming rather than flamboyant – it’s best to err on the side of caution.
In a French country dining room, you obviously wouldn’t frame your Provençal landscape in lacquered black or gleaming chrome. Nor would you use an ornate gilt frame on a Jackson Pollack splatter painting in a mid-century modern living room.
This one is simple: match your frame to your decorating style. If you lean toward traditional, your picture frames should be classic in style. If you have an eclectic style, you are allowed to take certain liberties. Sometimes opposites do attract. The contrast of modern art in a comically exaggerated ornate frame can make a bold statement in a room...if done with a measure of humor.
Don’t forget about your walls when choosing a frame for your art. You must take the paint color or wallpaper color and pattern into consideration when frame shopping. Also think about the architectural details like fireplace mantels, crown molding and wainscoting. Your frame needs to complement any decorative wall components.
Also consider the other framed pieces hanging on the wall. You will want to choose a frame that coordinates with the other frames in the space.
A Word About Mats
* Play it safe with black, white or off-white mats.
* Black mats and wood finishes work well together.
* If you must use a colorful mat, choose one that is a secondary or tertiary color in the art and is not present near the edge.
* A textured mat can add richness to a piece of art.
* Consult with a professional if you wish to use double mats.
Which Glass to Choose?
* Regular glass is typically less expensive for rooms where glare is not a issue.
* Non-glare glass can be practical in places where you have reflections from windows and lighting sources.
* Acrylic is a sensible option for inexpensive pieces like posters, but over time it may yellow and is susceptible to scratches and warping.
* Conservation glass is recommended for delicate works of art that may be damaged by UV rays.
© 2012 Linda Chechar