The 3 Rules of Framing Artwork

framing artwork

The 3 Rules of Framing Artwork

Professional framing can make or break an artwork so it’s important to get it right. If you are not sure where to start when it comes to choosing the right frame, you are not alone. Try our 3 rules of thumb for framing art to get you started.

1. Complement the artwork– Choose a frame that complements the artwork itself. Try and select something that will make the artwork the showpiece – not the frame. Looking for a frame that will balance the art is another good place to start. If your art is bright and colorful a simple matt white frame will make the art pop. Another method is to select a feature color from the art and continue that through in the framing – for example, a gold highlight in an artwork can be brought out by a gold or brass frame. Consider the style of the art, is it evoking calm and serenity or mystery and gloom? Choose your frame accordingly. A gloomy piece might suit something more ornate but a serene piece might suit a rustic style painted wooden frame.

bree rennie art

Image: Bree Rennie Art @breerennie


2. Complement the room – Ideally, you should know where you are planning to hang the piece before you frame it, as this could make a significant difference to the frame you choose. If you are hanging the art on a colored wall or wallpaper you may want to tone back the frame selection – go for a neutral colour and finish. A crisp white wall could look great with black gloss frame. The size of the wall space in which you choose to hang the artwork, may also influence the thickness of the frame. For example, if your ceilings are low, a thinner frame might be more appropriate than a chunky frame which might make the ceilings feel lower. The overall décor of your home will also play a part in your decision. If your home is already eclectic and bold, it could be best to continue the theme by choosing a feature frame for your piece. A minimalist home would be best sticking to neutral tones and paired back textures, avoiding too much pattern.

made by girl print

Image: Print by @madebygirl


3. To border or not to border – As a general rule most art looks better with a matt white border. This allows you to create a central focal point in the piece and draws the eye to the art, not the frame. An exception to this rule is vintage style posters which can look amazing framed without a border, right up to the edge of the frame – this will also hide any minor fraying. Art on paper with a purposely textured edge can also look great in a box frame which allows the art to sit back from the glass, giving a ‘boxed in’ look, or with a slight gap between the art and the border’s edge to showcase the unique edging, enhancing the art.

india miniature painting

Image: Miniature painting on antique government document from India

We recommend speaking to your local framer for more advice on framing your artworks as you will always get a better result when using a professional framer.

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