How to decide on a picture frame...

9th Dec 2019

How to decide on a picture frame...

How to Select the Perfect Picture Frame for Your Wall Art and Interior Scheme

Hanging your wall art is one of the final steps in turning your house into a home. Whether it’s photos, paintings or graphic prints, wall art helps to bring your interior scheme together. It makes your space look more inviting and creates a sense of warmth and homeliness.

While the art you choose for your space is important, your choice of frame is vital for achieving the look and feel you’re after. The right frame will complement the art piece and draw attention to it. Picture frames are practically art in and of themselves. It’s therefore important to make the right choice for your art as well as your interior scheme.

So many styles of framing

Before getting into what you should consider when choosing a picture frame, it’s important to understand the different styles of framing and what they are best suited for. This will help you narrow down your choices and ensure you make a great choice, not just for your art but also for the style you hope to achieve in your interior. 


This is the classic type of framing. It is used to enhance the art within the frame. The mat boards also help to conserve the artwork for longer.

Matted frames are great when you have a small art work that you want to draw attention to. They are a great choice for personal photos, memorabilia as well as artistic prints. They add impact and draw your eyes to the art piece on display within the frame. The negative space gives your eye some rest too. This is great when there are several pieces of art being displayed in a small space.



With this type of framing, the picture takes the full dimensions of the frame. There is therefore no matting around the picture. Only a small margin is left, if any.

This type of framing is great for posters and other graphic prints with lots of negative space. The frame acts as a border around the art. It is also a great choice for oversize pieces for which matting would seem unnecessary.

Matting sizes vary. If you want to create a dramatic look and a contemporary feel, go for a wider mat (i.e. more than 2.5 inches in width). Slimmer mats are a good choice for a more classic feel.


Float Mounting

Instead of the print being overlapped partially by matting as in classic matted framing, the print sits on top of the matting. This framing creates a dramatic effect that emphasises the shape of the paper as well the actual art. It is especially recommended for prints on paper with unusual textures or shapes.

It should be noted that not all art requires framing. Some art pieces are mounted on canvas or other materials and can be hang up just as they are.

Factors to consider when selecting a picture frame for your wall art

Choosing a picture frame can seem like rocket science when faced with so many choices and especially if you don’t have much experience in selecting and mounting picture frames. There are literally hundreds of frames in different styles, colors, materials and finishes to choose from. The pressure to achieve the perfect space can make the experience of selecting a picture frame downright stressful.

The following tips will help to guide you in selecting a picture frame and ensure you make the best choice for your art and space.


What's your style?

How would you describe the space in which the art will be placed? Is it contemporary? Are you going for an eclectic feel? Would you describe the style of the room as traditional, rustic or a mix of both?

Your choice of art should complement your décor style.


If your style is contemporary, go for minimalist frames. Black is a favorite for achieving a contemporary feel. Other solid colors are also great. You can go with a neutral color or a bright color to add a pop of color.


Frames that give a formal tone are great for this décor style. Gold or heavy woods such as walnut or mahogany are a great choice. Floral accessories are not a bad idea either.

Eclectic or casual

These free-spirited styles allow you more options for frame styles, materials and colors. Frames that stand out are a popular choice. However, you are free to go with just about any frame that suits your preference.

Rustic or country

Go for more casual frames. Wood frames are an especially popular choice. Distressed, cracked and weathered wood are a great way to achieve that shabby chic or rustic feel.

Consider your colour scheme

Not only is the style of your space important, the color scheme also plays an important role in the selection of the right frame for the art work. One of the biggest mistakes people make when selecting frames is choosing a frame color that draws the visual interest away from the art itself. A good frame color won’t steal the show from the art work. It will instead add interest to the overall presentation of the pieces.

The color of the frame you choose plays a major role in the overall impact of your art piece. Unfortunately, this is one of the most misunderstood elements when it comes to frame selection.

Start by considering the undertones in the room. Aside from the primary colors, all other colors are made by mixing two or more colors. This means that every color has a mass tone, i.e., the color that is easily recognized by observation or that is dominant, e.g., blue, beige or cream. It also has an undertone. This is the color that you don’t see.

Identifying the undertone is key in selecting décor elements. For example, if the color of the walls in the room is beige with a red undertone, you’d achieve a great effect by going for décor elements with red or orange tints.

The easiest way to identify the undertone of a color is to compare it to a true color. True colors are those that don’t have undertones, i.e., the true primary colors (red, blue and yellow) as well as pure white. The color that matches closely is your undertone.

Once you’ve established the undertone, you’re ready to select the best frame color. In general, silver frames work best with cool undertones while gold is a good match for warm undertones.

If this is too much for you, simply go with a black and white frame. These are versatile and work like magic with just about any interior style and type of art work.

The scale of the frames

Pay close attention to the scale of the frame in proportion to the art work as well as the space it will be placed in. What visual effect do you want to achieve with your art work?

Consider the frame’s width and height. These should match with the scale of the art. A strong art piece needs a strong frame. Go for a large frame with a wide mat to prevent the piece from being overwhelmed by the frame.

If the art piece is oversized, you may want to go with a simple frame. This is because the image itself is already overwhelming. Using a simple frame gives the eye some visual rest.

Consider different textures

Frames today come in a wide variety of textures and patterns. There are different wood grains and textures that provide different effects. For example, if you’re looking to achieve a rustic look, a rough oak frame would be suited for your space.

There are also different textures when it comes to mats. Textured mats can add a dramatic touch to a picture. They can also be used to achieve more subtle transition from the art piece to the frame.

Frames also come with different patterns. Choosing the right pattern can help to achieve that special touch in your design. For example, if your space has very strong architectural elements, consider using a frame with a pattern that is similar to these elements. This will help to create a sense of unity and tie in your décor to your architecture.

Strong patterns are a common feature in frames used for traditional décor. However, more modern patterns such as geometric patterns are being incorporated into contemporary spaces.


You should also consider the fixtures and fittings of the room you are going to place the art work in. If you already have a theme for your room, you should try your best to complement that theme. This doesn’t necessarily mean choosing an exact match. For example, if your fixtures and fittings are chrome or silver, you don’t have to go for silver frames. You can go for brass frames and achieve some contrast.

In conclusion

Finding the perfect picture frame for your wall art and interior scheme can seem daunting if you don’t know what to look for. It’s important to work out what will work best for you and choose a frame that meets your preferences. Apply the elements outlined above and you’ll increase your chances of successfully selecting the right frame for your wall art.