Decorating & Design

December 7, 2016

Editor’s Advice: How To Frame Art

Design editor Lauren Petroff shares tips on how to properly frame different types of art.
Lauren-Petroff-FeaturedImgHow incredible is it to welcome a new piece of art into your home? It instantly adds character, texture and visual interest, and is a great way to express your personal style, whether you go for an original oil painting, photograph or even a vintage poster. But just how a piece “reads” really depends on how it’s showcased, making framing an important consideration for artwork like farm animal comic strips if you want an interesting piece in your home.

There’s a vast array of frame and matting styles available out there, so my advice is to let the art influence your choice. Here are some of the things I like to keep in mind when adding that crucial final touch to a statement piece.


Oil & Acrylic Paintings

Oil and acrylic paintings are often framed with custom moldings, sometimes with a secondary liner or matting, and without glass. When it comes to the frame, let the piece’s overall style be your guide. Classical or period pieces, for example, will be well suited to traditional wood or gilt frames with more ornate molding (the size of the molding will also often relate to the size of the piece; large paintings show well with larger moldings and vice versa).


Contemporary & Abstract Paintings 

Contemporary and abstract paintings, whether on canvas or art board, often look best in sleek, unfussy frames. A pleasing and complementary option for this style of art is a floating frame, which creates a thin, simple boarder around the art — just enough to delineate it from the surrounding wall.


Paper-Based Mediums 

Works on paper — photography, sketches, watercolors and prints — are best showcased under protective glass, since the mediums and surface materials are more fragile. The frame, matting and mounting style is where you can get creative. Simple and slim frames in black, white and wood with 2″-3″-wide white matting suit many contemporary pieces. But don’t be shy: Play around with the scale of the matting to create more visual interest and focus on your artwork.


Another option for paper-based mediums is opting for no mat at all — particularly for large-scale prints, like the ones shown. Carrying the edge of the art right to the frame creates an ultra-contemporary style that I really love.


Textile-Based Art

For textile-based art, it’s nice to shine a spotlight on texture. A thoughtful way to frame these pieces is going for a custom Plexiglas box. This involves adhering the fabric to a canvas or art board, placing the Plexiglas box on top and then screwing it to the sides of the canvas (for open-weave pieces, try wrapping the board in a contrasting fabric first).


Gallery-Wrapped Paintings

Finally, there are gallery-wrapped paintings, where the canvas wraps around the edges of the board. The question is always “To frame or not to frame?”. For many people, the visible edges may just be the effect they’re after. I personally think this works best with more contemporary pieces, but ultimately, the decision to go frameless is a personal one.

Author: Lauren Petroff

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