How To Choose the Right Picture Frame

Getting the right picture frame is vital to the overall success of your custom framing piece, but with 1000’s of styles and a range of materials to choose from, how do you make the right choice?

Essentially, choosing framing is a process of elimination. It’s overwhelming to see a wall of picture frames (at Jackson’s we currently have over 2200 frames on our wall), so we want to cull the herd and cross off the ones that won’t work.

The first step is the obvious one of identifying whether it’s a flat object (art, photograph, etc.), or 3D (grandpa’s pipe and glasses, Rover’s favourite chew toy, etc.) This will help to narrow your choices off the bat, as some frames are better suited to one or the other.

Next is to identify the ‘tone’ of the object being framed. What theme does it portray? Is it vintage or modern? Is it Western? Asian? Native American? European?  This will again help to eliminate all of the frames meant for specific, yet different themes.

Now let’s look at colour, this will also eliminate a large number of frames from contention: if they’re obviously unsuitable, take them out of the running. Remember you don’t need to match the colours of the object, you need to compliment them.

Sometimes the room the object will be hung in will influence your decisions. While we always need to keep our focus on making the object look its best, this is also the Real World and the wall it’s being hung in can matter as to which of our narrowed-down choices we make.

Once we get a better idea of which direction to go, we have to look at the ‘beefiness’ of the frame. Several framing lines come in varying thicknesses, from quite slim to mammoth-sized and the overall dimensions of the piece dictates which end of the spectrum you’ll look at. This means getting an idea of how big the piece will be once it’s on the wall, including much matting to show, if any, as having three inches of matting versus 5 inches can change which size and heft of frame looks best.

Other things being equal, bigger pieces need the structural support of a bigger frame.

And yes, thicker frames cost more money, but be careful of making a ‘false economy’ by skimping on frame thickness; a thin frame can throw the balance and visual impact for a loop.

Rather like a big man wearing a too-small kilt, if you get me … 🙂