In a previous post, I wrote about how to buy art. In this post, I’ll answer common questions around how to frame art.

Framing art can often be challenging and overwhelming. Not surprisingly, there’s an enormous choice of size, colour, finish, type and style of frames available.

First of all, you’ll need to decide whether to opt for an ‘off the shelf, do it yourself’ or a ‘professional bespoke’ frame. You’ll also need to decide on a budget, as framing costs can range from relatively low cost, right the way up to a small fortune.

Here’s some advice on common framing dilemmas –

How much should I spend on a frame?

Your home doesn’t necessarily have to be an art gallery. Art that you own, or have chosen to keep, is due primarily to sentiment. You’ll probably have a broad range of different pieces from kids drawings, photographs, posters, prints as well as original paintings.

Choose which pieces need to be framed well and therefore require a higher priced frame, and which pieces maybe don’t need as expensive frames. This thinking should guide you down the ‘off the shelf, do it yourself’ or ‘professional bespoke’ route.

What colour frame should I choose?

Your picture frame directly links your artwork to the interior colour of your walls. There are no rules around frame colour – much depends on precisely what you’re trying to achieve. Do you want harmony that blends into the background, or are you looking for vibrant contrast?

The colour of your frame should come down to these three things – your personal taste, the colours of your interior and the colours and style of your artwork.

If you’re buying art as a gift, then knowledge of the recipients interior where the piece is likely to hang would be helpful. If you’re unsure, common colours such as black, white or a mid oak might be the safest choice?

What about the style or period of the frame?

Again this is largely down to personal taste and what you’re trying to achieve with your overall interior scheme.

If you understand the piece’s history, then you could select a frame that’s sympathetic to this. However, modern or abstract art often looks striking when framed in a traditional or even recycled frame.

Should I opt for a mount?

A mount (also called ‘a mat’ or ‘matting’ in the USA) is a popular option to highlight and finish off a framed piece. Most pieces (with a few exceptions) look better with a mount, and multiple pieces intended to tell one story look better when mounted.

The mount should be sympathetic to the style and colours used within the piece, and it also needs to sit comfortably with the style of your frame. White or off white works well with just about anything. If the piece you’re framing features lots of white, you could opt for a light grey shade?

As well as colour, the thickness of the mount should also be an essential consideration.

Multiple mounts are an option but can often look fussy. It would be best if you also thought about the material used for the mount. Acid-free, 100% cotton mount boards are available.

What about protecting my art collection?

It makes sense to select a frame and technique to protect your art over time.

Using acid-free mount boards with a dust cover on the reverse are techniques to preserve your collection. Opting for a glass or acrylic front can also make a difference, and it’s essential to shield your piece from direct UV rays. Acrylic is lighter and smash proof but will mark a lot easier than glass.

I recommend hanging your artwork away from direct sunlight as UV rays can damage a piece over time.

What are the current trends in the framing world?

Generally, people now tend to make bolder statements with their choice of material and colour for frames. One school of thought is to ignore fashionable trends and opt for something more timeless.

Ultimately you should choose a frame that you’re comfortable with.