The artwork you hang on your walls says a lot about who you are, and how you want others to see you. Whether you are hanging original pieces, photographs, or replicas of the classics there is a lot more to the art than the piece itself. The frame you choose can make a big difference to the overall look and feel of the room. There are a few things that will come into play as you make this choice.
Style of Artwork
The style of painting plays a large role in what type of frame should be selected. If your painting or other artwork has a classic feel, especially if it is a replica of a classic artists work, such as Van Gogh or Monet, a classic frame is in order. Wooden frames or simple gold frames as often chosen for these types of paintings because they are not likely to detract from the actual artwork.
The actual scene of the art makes a difference as well. Landscape paintings ask for a wider view, and it is often suggested that mats be used along with the frame in order to encourage the open feel that the painting is meant to depict.
Fancier, ornate frames with a lot of detail or etching work well with portraits, especially of someone who was or is important. In nearly every case, the artwork itself should outshine the frame, however in the case of portraits the extra detail enhances the grandeur of the person in the portrait. Landscapes with a lot of detail can do well in these frames too, because there is enough going on in the painting to stand up against the detail of the frame.
Metal frames, aside from gold frames are good choices for more modern types of art, especially those which take advantage of a lot of geometric lines. Abstract art can also work well with these types of frames.
Mat Width and Quality
If you are presenting artwork with a mat inside the frame, the width of the mat can make a big difference on how the work is perceived. First, an acid- free mat is essential. When mats are made from cheaper papers the artwork can draw out the acid over time and cause yellowing.
Determining an appropriate width for a mat should be influenced by the size of the painting and the focal point within the painting. Many suggest that a piece becomes more impressive when its mat is twice the width of a frame. For example, if your frame is two inches wide, a four inch mat is a good choice.
Colors in the Artwork
The colors of the painting are also something to consider when choosing a frame as well as the color of any mats you wish to include. If there is a color within the painting that is subtle in the painting on its own, matching that color to the frame or mat can draw the eye toward that particular feature.
Having the right contrast is just as important as matching. While matching a frame to draw out a hint of color, you don’t want to match the frame color with the most dominant color in the artwork. With this type of matching the frame tends to swallow the painting rather than enhance it.
An easier alternative the matching a color is to find a complimenting color. You might want to accentuate warm colors such as a red and an orange, or cool colors like a blue and a green in order to emphasize the overall feel of a piece.
Colors in the Room
The room where a piece of art will hang makes a difference as well. Painting with bolder colors do better against neutral colored walls. When there is a lot of similarity between the background in a painting and the wall color, it is easy for the piece to look washed out, and overall amateurish. Color in a mat can help, but if you have the ability to hang the painting on a colored accent wall you can really make the work stand out.
The desired affect of a painting also comes into play when you are choosing frame and mat colors. Lighter colors will bring an openness to a piece of artwork, and can even make a piece seem larger. Darker colors cause the eye to zoom in on the detail in the art.
There are times when frames are not necessary at all. Galleries often show work without frames, and smaller complimenting portraits are also frequently arranged on walls without a traditional frame. When this is done, canvas quality is something to watch closely. Gallery wrap canvases are key to making frameless art work in a space. This canvas is stretched back to the stretcher bars and keeps the canvas edges clean.
Not having a frame at all also creates extra responsibility when it comes to the maintenance of a piece of art. Most frames will have a glass or acrylic protecting the piece from “the elements” and or any fingers that pass by and touch it. Those who choose to go frameless need to honor this responsibility.
Taking Your Time
However you decide to display your art, in a classic or modern frame, with or without mats, or possibly with no frame at all, it needs to reflect who you are and how you wish to present your decor. You might want to be very traditional and do what you are “supposed” to do, or you might have some different ideas of your own.
If you need to take photos of your artwork and different frames and do some comparisons on your own, you should absolutely feel free to do this and avoid being rushed into a purchase. In many cases, a quality frame is more expensive than the artwork. In fact, the frame itself is its own piece of art, and you need to make the match that will help you feel at home.