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How to Choose a Frame for Your Artwork

Ever wondered how to select the ideal frame for your artwork? This guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

Selecting the ideal frame for your artwork is a pivotal decision that can significantly impact its visual appeal. To guide you through this process, we’ve outlined a comprehensive approach with considerations, styles, and expert tips.

Here’s a guide on how to choose a frame for your artwork.

Consider the Artwork

Analyse the Artwork’s Characteristics

Before diving into frame selection, take a close look at your artwork. Understand its:

  • Style: Is it traditional, modern, abstract, or something else?
  • Colour Palette: What are the dominant colours used?
  • Theme: What emotions or message does it convey?

The frame should complement these qualities.

Choose a Frame Style

Harmonise with the Artwork’s Essence

Frames come in a wide range of styles, from traditional to contemporary, ornate to minimalist. Choose a frame style that resonates with the essence of your artwork:

  • Ornate Frames: Ideal for classic and detailed paintings.
  • Minimalist Frames: A great match for modern and abstract art.

Select Frame Materials

Suit the Artwork’s Character

Frames can be crafted from various materials, such as wood, metal, plastic, or combinations thereof. Consider the material that best suits your artwork’s character:

  • Wooden Frames: Classic and versatile.
  • Metal Frames: Sleek and contemporary.

Match Colors and Finish

Create a Cohesive Look

The colours and finish of the frame should enhance the overall presentation:

  • Colour Choice: Complement or contrast with your artwork’s dominant colours.
  • Finish: Opt for matte, glossy, or metallic finishes depending on the desired effect.

Consider Matting

Enhance Presentation with Matting

If you decide to use a mat (a border around the artwork), choose the colour and width thoughtfully. Mats create a visual transition between the artwork and the frame, enhancing the overall presentation.

Proportion and Size

Find the Right Balance

The frame’s size should be in proportion to the artwork’s dimensions. Avoid frames that overwhelm or underwhelm the piece. Strike a balance between the artwork’s size and the frame’s width.

Conservation and Protection

Safeguard Valuable Artworks

For valuable or delicate artworks, prioritise conservation-grade framing materials:

  • UV-Protective Glass or Acrylic: Reduce the risk of fading from light exposure and preserve your artwork.

You can check out our conservation framing services here.

Framing Style

Choose the Right Framing Approach

Select from various framing styles:

  • Traditional Frames: Fully encase the artwork.
  • Floating Frames: Leave some edges exposed for a unique look.
  • Gallery-Style Frames: Have no visible frame, showcasing the artwork’s sides.

Personal Preference

Let Your Taste Shine

Your personal taste and preferences play a pivotal role in frame selection:

  • Choose a frame that resonates with your style and complements your space’s decor.

Experiment and Consult

Seek Expert Guidance

Don’t hesitate to experiment with different frame options. Consider:

  • Digital Mock-ups: Visualise how different frames look on your artwork.
  • Professional Framer Consultation: Get expert advice on the best frame for your artwork.

Budget Considerations

Stay within Your Budget

Frames come in various price ranges. It’s essential to set a budget for framing and consider cost-effective yet quality options.

Remember, the primary goal of framing is to enhance, not overshadow, your artwork. The right frame should draw attention to the art itself while harmonising with its unique qualities. Trust your instincts, and take your time in making the decision to ensure your framed artwork is presented in the best possible way.

How to Choose a Frame for Your Artwork FAQ’s

What factors should I consider when choosing a frame for my artwork?

When choosing a frame, consider the style, colour palette, and theme of your artwork. The frame should complement these qualities, enhancing the artwork without overpowering it.

How do I decide between different frame styles?

Choose a frame style that resonates with your artwork. Ornate frames are ideal for traditional, detailed paintings, while minimalist frames suit modern and abstract art. The style should match the essence of the artwork.

What are the best frame materials for different types of artwork?

Frame materials vary from wood to metal to plastic. Wooden frames are classic and versatile, suitable for a wide range of art styles. Metal frames offer a sleek, contemporary look, ideal for modern pieces.

How important is the color and finish of a frame?

The color and finish of a frame are crucial in creating a cohesive look. Choose colours that complement or contrast your artwork’s dominant colours. Select from matte, glossy, or metallic finishes to achieve the desired effect.

Should I use matting for my artwork?

Matting can enhance the presentation of your artwork, creating a visual transition between the art and the frame. Choose the colour and width of the mat thoughtfully, considering the artwork’s style and the frame’s design.

How do I choose the right size and proportion for the frame?

The frame’s size should be in proportion to the artwork. It should neither overwhelm nor underwhelm the piece. The balance between the artwork’s size and the frame’s width is key.

What framing materials should I use for valuable or delicate artworks?

For valuable or delicate artworks, use conservation-grade materials. UV-protective glass or acrylic is recommended to reduce the risk of fading and preserve the artwork.

How do different framing styles affect the presentation of artwork?

Traditional frames fully encase the artwork, while floating frames leave some edges exposed, offering a unique look. Gallery-style frames, which have no visible frame, showcase the artwork’s sides.

How should personal taste influence my choice of frame?

Your personal taste is important in frame selection. Choose a frame that not only complements the artwork but also resonates with your style and fits well with your space’s decor.

What should I consider regarding the budget for framing?

Set a budget for framing and explore cost-effective yet quality options. Remember, the goal is to enhance the artwork, and there are many affordable framing solutions available.

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Our Workshop

Our workshop is equipped to handle a wide range of specialist and bespoke projects. Undertaking small and large projects alike, we cater for artists, designers, galleries, museums, photographers and corporate and private clients. Orders range from single frames to framing works for large exhibitions.

Arrange a Visit



SE1 Picture Frames, Alaska Buildings,
61 Grange Road, London,
SE1 3BH, United Kingdom

Nearest tube: London Bridge, Bermondsey, Borough

Bus: Number 1 and 78.

Free visitor parking available:

Entrance is via Bacon Grove just off Grange road. Enter the Alaska Buildings through the large electric gate. Push buzzer and speak to security to gain access.

Email Address

Phone Numbers

T: 020 7394 0235
M: +44(0)7815 752 897

Contact us

We are usually on site but to avoid disappointment and to allow us plenty of time to discuss your project with you, please contact us and book an appointment before you set off.

On arrival please report to security.

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Please be aware that an accurate quote is usually only possible once we have seen the art work and discussed all possibilities with you. Our standard framing is to conservation standards and this will be reflected in the quote unless otherwise specified.

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