Tips for Choosing Mats and Framing for Pictures

When you have a picture that needs special protection such as a piece of very fine artwork or an old photograph, you want to have it professionally matted and framed. Mats and frames you choose from a retail store may not work to actually protect the picture or artwork itself, whereas professional matting and framing will mean providing an airtight seal that won’t allow in moisture and other damaging elements. Custom framing also means being able to create or choose a frame that works specifically for this piece of art, according to its colour, size and other details. Note a few factors to consider when choosing mats and framing for pictures and artwork you might own.

1. Let the artwork stand out

A frame is meant to do just that: frame the art and not overwhelm it or compete with it for attention. A larger piece of art may need a larger frame just for the sake of proportion, but choosing an overly ornate frame or one in a very dominant colour can mean downgrading the art or picture. If you hold the artwork up to a potential frame and notice the frame more than you notice the picture, or suddenly the picture is not so striking, you probably need a more subtle frame. This may mean one that is smaller or one in a lighter shade.

2. Choose a complementary colour

It’s common to look for a frame that is in the same colour family as the dominant colours of the artwork, but this too can make the frame compete for attention. It may be good to look for an accent colour in the artwork, or opt for a complementary colour instead. As an example, if the artwork is mostly a sepia tone because of its age, you might choose a frame in a dark brown rather than a sepia shade. If the artwork has strong orange colours, opt for a black frame rather than another shade in the red family.

3. Invest in protective quality

For expensive artwork or photos you want to protect, be sure you invest in quality materials. This would include acid-free backing for the mat and the frame itself. Other materials may be specifically used on antique photographs to keep them from curling or decaying. Ask the picture framing company where you visit to make a recommendation for the artwork itself, based on its age, value, materials and other factors.