As I've mentioned in the matting article, it is not wise to skimp on a frame. For instance, do not use a smaller frame to save money, or do not use grandma's old frame for the same reason. Framing artwork is all about enhancing the art, protecting it, and enjoying it for years to come.
Where do I start?
To begin, don't freak out! It can feel overwhelming but if you break it down it's not too difficult to plan the right solution for the art you've purchased.
The first thing I do is take into account the artwork style itself. Is it a classic oil from an impressionist style? Would you put it in a gold metal frame that has a modern vibe? It is important to select right materials appropriate to the artwork.
Eww, we need to fix that!
An example is my mother bought an original watercolor that was 30"x40". The art came in a shiny gold metal frame about 1/2" thick. My mother loved the watercolor so much that she didn't really think through where to put it. She hung it on the only wall she had that was too small. The frame practically hung over the edge of the wall.
She always promised she would will that painting to me when she died. I loved it as much as my mother did. After she died, I reframed it in a white-washed distressed frame that I repurposed and put glass over it to protect it. It hangs above my fireplace and makes me happy every day (see picture above). Thanks mom!!
Consider where it will hang.
Not only do you need to consider the style of art but you should also consider the room where you are going to hang the art. Make sure the wall will accommodate the art and give it room to make a statement. Especially if it is something you absolutely love. Give it the honor it deserves so you enjoy it every day.
Take into account the style and width of the frame.
The frame doesn't necessarily have to match the decor of the room but it should ease into the room and not look like a glaring mistake.
Be sure to match the size of the frame to the picture. A wide frame on a small piece will overpower the art. In the case of the thin gold frame of my mother's watercolor, it just wasn't doing any justice to the image other than protecting the painting from getting dog-eared.
Grouping art takes special planning. You don't necessarily have to use the same frame or even mat all the art the same. You can mix and match. There are a lot of tips online at diy websites for grouping art. It can be really fun if you plan well.
Where to find help and ideas.
In high school I worked in a frame-it-yourself shop. I loved it and learned a lot. I've seen over the years the trends in framing change. The best thing you can do before you invest in framing is to do your research. Look through home decorator magazines, online website like HGTV, and have a plan before you go to a custom frame shop.
Consider taking a photo and measurements with you of where you will hang the art to the custom frame shop. Even if you choose a diy shop they will have experts who will help you choose the right solution for the art and the room.
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