How to Choose a Frame

How to choose a frame

Choosing The Frame Color

There are several methods of choosing a frame and how to select appropriate frame colors, including:

  • Match or coordinate a dominant color in the art. Relate to some color in the art. Red, orange, and yellow are warm colors so they coordinate with gold or wood tone frames. Blue, green, and purple are cool colors and they relate more to silver or gray frames. When in doubt, a classic plain black frame is often the best choice.
  • We suggest using a finish color that would have been used originally when the piece was new.
Choosing The Frame Style

The style of a frame should always flatter the art it surrounds. If the art you want to use isn’t the same style as your room, that’s okay. We can help you choose a frame that will serve as a bridge between the different styles.

For example, an ornate frame may work well with abstract art to help it work in a classic space or a fresh look for traditional art can be achieved when paired with a soft contemporary frame style, instantly updating it.

Appropriate Frame Width

Many people assume that narrow frame moldings are for small pictures and larger works of art should be paired with wider frame moldings. That isn’t always the case. Wider frames can benefit smaller pieces of art by calling attention to them. The width of a frame can also be used to relate the framed art to the scale of your room or furnishings – don’t overpower a room with a frame that’s too large for the space or under-power the artwork with too petite a frame.

Frame Depth

Deeper moldings are used to create shadowboxes when we will be framing objects. However, the same moldings can provide great solutions when framing art on paper, too. When the art is placed forward in the frame, the added depth projects the art towards you. If the art will hang in a niche or bookcase, a deeper frame helps offset those recesses. We can also recess the art into the deeper frame, adding depth and drama.

Combining Frame Moldings

It is a common practice to combine more than one frame molding to make a single frame. This technique is called stacking, just like when carpenters stack moldings when putting finishing touches on a room. Stacking frame moldings enables us to mix colors or styles to coordinate with your art. This technique also helps us provide you with a frame of a grander scale for a large or special piece.

Classic vs. Trendy

Quality framing can last a lifetime. Therefore, we generally avoid trendy-looking frame designs that could become dated in a short time. When you provide us with information about your room and your style, we can offer design concepts that look up-to-date and stylish, but will also have staying power well beyond that of any current trend. If you have art that is becoming dated, we can also work with you to update them to be more appropriate for today as well as tomorrow.

Wood vs. Metal

Choosing a wood frame can be a challenge because of the vast number of styles that are available. We have access to hundreds of profiles, colors, and types of wood molding from dozens of manufacturers.

We have samples of only a tiny fraction of the available products and catalogs for just about everything you could imagine. You can make an appointment to look at what we have or you can use some of our online resources to narrow down your choices.

Check out the Larson-Juhl Framing Studio Designer tool where you can upload a copy of your photo or art (up to 3MB) and use the mat and frame selection tools to visualize your image in the frame and mat of your choice. You can even simulate the wall color of the room in which you will display the finished piece. You can save an image of your project, print it out, or e-mail the specifications to us so we can quote you a price.

If a wood frame is not what you have in mind, we offer our “Exhibition Metal Framing” which is an all-in-one service that provides a Nielsen aluminum frame, 3/16″ foam or 1/8″ artboard mount, clear framing grade acrylic glazing, and professional assembly at one low competitive price. Optional acid-free archival matting and/or upgrade to anti-reflection acrylic is also available.

We offer seven aluminum profiles in multiple color choices, plus we can special order other styles and colors from the Nielsen Metal Framing catalog below. Please check with us for profiles or sizes not listed on our Exhibition Framing page.

Download these Catalogs in PDF format to explore Matting and Metal framing options

nielsen metal
papermat standard
bainbridge color style 21

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