How to Choose Framing for Your Artwork

Success!  You finally found a gorgeous piece of art for your home or office.  It speaks to you and it happens to be the right size for that glaringly empty wall that you have been staring at for far too long!  Let’s talk about the next step… how to choose framing!

To Frame or Not to Frame?

An up close image of two soft pink roses placed above the words, "A memory is fleeting, an image captures it, a frame helps that memory endure."

What is the ultimate purpose of framing an artwork or photograph?  The simple answer: presentation and preservation.  You chose something meaningful and you can’t wait to get it up on your wall.  Whether it’s an original painting or a cherished family photograph, the goal is to present it in the best possible way.  When done properly, framing enhances and distinguishes a piece for display.  Moreover, framing offers protection.  If it is special enough to highlight in your home, let’s make sure that this painting, photograph, print, etc. is preserved for many years of enjoyment.

A Few Guiding Principles

Framing is its own art form.  There are no hard and fast rules, no absolute right and wrongs, but there are a few guiding principles.  The framing materials should never overpower a piece.  Framing should not be a distraction from the main attraction, which is your beautiful artwork.  And finally, at its best, framing should be a natural extension of the piece.

What to Consider Before Getting Started

A tropical print, featuring teal and green palm leaves against a peach background, is finished in a simple wood burl frame.What is the medium of my piece?  Is it canvas, paper, wood panel, foam board, textile?  Artists are exploring many different mediums today!  The medium usually dictates the level of protection needed.  For example, photography and limited edition prints are more vulnerable to wear and tear than canvas or wood panel.  Therefore, photography and prints should be displayed behind glass, whereas canvas and wood are usually safe without the additional protection.

What is the final location for this piece?  Will it be hung in direct sunlight?  In a powder room?  Above a mantel?  UV rays, steam, and smoke can all affect artwork over time and proper framing should help mitigate those stresses.

What about sizing?  Do we need to build up a smaller piece to give it presence on a larger wall?  Or, maybe the piece perfectly fits in a space as is and just needs the frame to add a sleek finishing edge?

What is the style of the piece and the style of your room?  Traditional?  Classic?  Modern? Rustic?  Are we juxtaposing styles to make a statement (say for example, ornate framing to be hung in an otherwise modern, clean lines room)?  The possibilities are deliciously endless!

Let the piece lead the way and don’t be afraid to seek out expertise if you are unsure!  Happy framing!


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