How to Choose an Appropriate Picture Frame

Many of us dream of being better at interior design; braver, more inventive, and less nervous about trying new things and making a change. Despite your reservations, the reality is that it’s easier than you would think to channel your inner Kelly Hoppen or Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen.

You can start by buying interior design magazines and simply flicking through to get a feel for the modern trends. Next, start visiting homeware stores; wander the aisles making notes of the things that catch your eye, and later, search for them online, and start making a catalogue of your favourite pieces and referring back to those magazines for inspiration. Above all? Don’t forget that good interior design is about getting all the little details right.

One of the design elements that gets most frequently overlooked, or relegated to the category of an afterthought, is the picture frame. Whether you’re designing a room from scratch, livening up a tired space, or merely hanging a favourite new photo or print, it can be tempting to head for the nearest discount frame or homeware shop and pick up the cheapest frame available.

At easyFrame, we believe that every picture frame you bring into your home can be treated as an interior design feature; an element of your home décor that helps to (if you’ll excuse the cliché) “bring the room together” and add the finishing touches to a space.

The only question is… how do you go about choosing that perfect frame?

Step 1: The Artwork

The process of choosing a picture frame should always begin with the artwork it is going to contain. The primary job of a frame is to showcase and protect its contents, complementing the colours and features of the artwork whilst never overshadowing it.

Consider first the size and format of the artwork. If it’s on a canvas (e.g. it’s a stretched oil painting) you’ll require a deeper frame that the artwork can sit inside comfortably. If the artwork wraps around the edges of the canvas,

you may want to consider a canvas floater frame. This style of frame gives the illusion that the artwork is floating in space, and allows you to see the entirety of the canvas. Flat images such as drawings, prints, and posters should be held in a normal glazed frame; multiple photographs, meanwhile, are best suited to a multi-aperture picture frame.

Practicality aside, it’s important to consider what style of frame and mount will best suit the artwork. A simple, uncluttered image can be nicely offset by a more elaborate frame. Busier images suit a simple monochrome frame, as do posters. If you’re still stuck it can be helpful to think about what feeling the image specifically evokes – if it’s a seascape you may want to continue the theme with a rustic, distressed wood frame; a traditional still life, meanwhile, might work well with a classic gold frame that conjures the feeling of a bygone era.

Step 2: The Room

A frame might work well with the picture inside, but if it’s in the wrong environment you won’t be able to enjoy it. Once you have an idea of the frame you want to choose, start thinking about where exactly it will hang; depending upon the décor and atmosphere of your chosen room, you may have to rethink your frame style or positioning.

The general rule is: large frames containing bold, busy images tend to swamp small spaces. Small artworks in simple frames, on the other hand, can look silly on large walls. This isn’t a hard and fast rule, of course; in a

smaller room, a large print, poster or artwork can act as a “feature wall”, while smaller frames and artworks can be grouped together on large walls.

Generally, it’s good to go with your gut instinct. Measure the wall area you want to use, make a note of the artwork and frame size, and – if needs be – try a “practice run” with a frame you already own or even a rectangle of masking tape on the wall in question.

Other considerations, such as how much direct sunlight that wall gets, or whether it’s close to a heat source, should be taken into consideration. And don’t forget that colours matter too – in a room that’s entirely blue and white, a bright green frame is going to look a little jarring.

Step 3: The Materials

Once you know roughly what style and colour of frame you want to use, you can start planning the details. Different materials offer different benefits, so it’s a good idea to plan ahead.

For ultimate ease, opt for a plastic or metal frame. These are the easiest material to keep clean – you can simply wipe them with a damp cloth to remove any dust or dirt build-up. Wooden frames can provide a softer, more versatile look, but they can also be vulnerable to warping over time. Wood will usually need to be cleaned with wood polish, and if it’s carved, special attention will have to be paid to any “nooks and crannies” which might have collected dust and dirt.

Consider too whether your image requires glazing. An oil painting may not require glazing as this could spoil the effect. Photographs, prints and posters, on the other hand, can benefit from glazing. Many picture frames come with glass, however clear acrylic can be the better option if you are concerned about breakage/UV protection.

Plexiglas acrylic is the ‘even better’ option, as it provides the best level of UV protection and break resistance, and is completely clear with no colour tinge.

Step 4: The Shop

There are many places where you can buy high-quality picture frames, but for ease and convenience, check out easyFrame before you go elsewhere. Our online service offers excellent acrylic glazing as standard and allows you to customise your frame down to the last millimetre, ensuring the perfect fit.

To find out more, head to our Picture Frames & Mounts page and enter the dimensions of your artwork. It’s that simple!

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