You have an unframed art print or photograph and are in search of the ideal frame for it. Here are some things to consider before you buy.
- Where will this picture be displayed?
? Most decorators believe the frame should reflect the theme and style of the room.
? The colors of the wall need to be considered. If you want the picture to be noticed, choose a frame that is a contrast color to the wall. Use a darker color frame on a light wall and a lighter color frame on a dark wall.
? Are there other framed pictures already hanging in the same area you will put this new print? If so, the new picture frame should coordinate with the others. Using the same frame with a group of pictures creates a unified look and a more formal look. Using a variety of frames will add interest to the collection and create a more casual, fun look.
- What kind of frame will work best with the picture?
? What is the theme of the picture? A delicate floral print will look best in a more delicate frame whereas a larger frame would be better with a heavier full garden or landscape picture.
? If the art print is matted, the color of the frame needs to harmonize with the mat. Most of the time you will want the frame to be a contrast to the mat, but not such a big contrast that it becomes the focal point instead of the picture. There might be times when you want the frame to match the color of the mat, especially if the frame has some texture to it. In both cases the artwork will probably look better if both the mat and frame are a contrasting color to the wall.
? What size is the picture? A small picture usually looks best in a small frame, unless it?s been matted to make it larger. And conversely, a large frame usually looks best with a large picture.
- Is a custom made frame better than a stock (pre-made) frame?
? There is definitely a difference in quality and price, so this is really a personal choice. Things to consider in choosing a pre-made frame are the cost, the quality, the availability of size and style, and the mounting hardware.
o The pre-made frame will cost less than a custom frame.
o Selection and size are limited with the stock frame. If you have an odd sized print, you will probably not be able to find a stock frame to fit, unless you cut it down to a standard size or add a mat to enlarge it to a standard size.
o If you purchase a stock frame and don?t like it with your print, it is easy to return or exchange.
o A stock frame comes with standard quality glass or sometimes plastic. You need to decide if it will be protective enough for your artwork. Of course, you can purchase better, more protective glass and have it cut to fit the stock frame.
o Look at the back of the stock frame to make sure the mounting hardware is suitable for your needs. If the picture is heavy, you will want the sturdier hardware and sometimes you can?t replace what comes with the frame because the raw material of the frame is plastic.
Things to consider in choosing a custom made frame are:
o A custom frame is more expensive than a stock frame
o A custom frame offers you a much larger selection and provides more creative options. You can choose the content, color, width, and style. You can try out a frame against the print to see immediately how it looks. And you can do this with as many frame styles as you want.
o A custom frame allows you to choose the quality of glass you want. There are several choices available, everything from UV blocking to non-glare.
o A custom frame can be cut to fit most any size print. I think there are some limitations based on the length of the full piece of the frame material.
o The custom framing experience can include picking out a custom mat at the same time. If you have a group of pictures that you are wanting to frame similarly, this is a great way to match materials and ensure that what you choose works well with all the prints.
o Custom frame shops usually guarantee their workmanship.
o There are frame shops that offer Do It Yourself (DIY) options to reduce the cost. A skilled employee will cut the mat, frame, glass and backing for you. Then you use their facilities, tools and personal help to put it all together. They even provide the appropriate hanging hardware. When you leave, you have the finished picture, ready to hang. This is my favorite framing method.
Since I am such a visual person, I highly recommend window shopping for both types of frames to get a better idea about what is available before making the final choice. For me the whole process from choosing the art print to hanging it on the wall is a very creative one and highly personal. If you?re not a window shopper, you will have your own criteria for making the final choice. Whatever your method is, I hope this information will be helpful. The goal is to have fun with the experience and let your own creativity be your ultimate guide. After all, it?s your space and it needs to reflect your personality.