Merchandising and Interior Design Tips

Designer Tips to Frame Art Like a Pro

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While strolling through the Arts District, you wandered into a gallery and came across a piece you had to have. Perhaps a creative friend gifted you with a work, or you discovered a piece at an estate sale. Maybe you spotted a print online that would be perfect in your new home’s great room.

Whatever the case, you now have artwork that needs framing. A task which inspires questions regarding matting, framing, and the overall effect on the artwork and space. This is enough to cause some to pour a glass of wine and set the whole project aside for another day. But, before that happens, read on! Our designers and expert framer are dishing designer tips to frame art like a pro.


Gallery wall of framed art.
Gallery wall of framed art seen at Citrus Court at The Orchards.


The Big Picture

Framing, matting, and the art itself all together have a wonderful way of bringing life into your space. Our wonderful framer, Molly from DSG, says a good place to start is with the size of the wall. If you have large artwork and an open wall, the choices you make as far as frame and mat size will be different than if the same piece is hanging on a small wall. And of course, you don’t want to bring your lovely new piece of art home to discover it’s now too big to hang on the wall you had planned.

Next, Molly suggests allowing the art’s style, theme, and color to guide your decisions. Though it’s tempting to focus more on perfectly matching it with your existing home décor, it’s equally important that the frame and mat are harmonious with the piece itself. When considering framing options, ask yourself how they influence the art. Do the frame and mat make the work feel fancier? More traditional? Contemporary?


Series of framed canvas art.
Series of framed canvases seen at Citrus Pointe at The Orchards.


Framing Don’ts

Though art and framing certainly have a lot to do with personal preference, our designers have two rules to frame by. First, when choosing the shade of mat, our designer Miori recommends bypassing color. Hues of white and ivory look significantly more modern. Second, if you’re framing a piece that you plan to hang in a space folks will walk through, such as a hallway or stairway, our designer Nancy advises against a bulky frame. They make the space appear smaller and affect flow.


Coordinating framed gallery wall.
Oversize gallery wall seen at The Estates at Del Sur.


On Cost

Molly advises that you start by using the price paid for your artwork as a guide for how much should be spent to frame it. If you purchased an inexpensive print at a farmer’s market, you might not want to invest in museum-quality framing. That said, the value of art is not always equal to the amount paid. If the piece is precious to you or something you plan to pass down, it should be framed like the treasure it is. On the other hand, if the piece was purchased to fill a need or for a specific space, perhaps a significant framing investment is unnecessary. Finally, when working with a framer, ask questions and let them know what you envision for the piece. There are so many factors that affect pricing that it’s best to know all your options. As a rule, Molly likes to provide frame molding options in a variety of sizes and price points, as well as details about cost variables such as Plexiglass versus glass, UV coating, and other add-ons.


Framing prints.
Framed print seen at The Estates at Del Sur.


On Matting

Deciding on a mat for your art can be as bewildering as choosing paint colors for your new home; there are so many choices and options. All of which can have a major impact on a room. Our Senior Designer and Brand Manager Roseli’s matting guidelines will simplify things enormously! Though it depends on the size of the art, Roseli says that a 3” mat on the sides and top is pretty common. However, that’s not a hard and fast rule. Roseli’s personal preference is to bottom weight her mats between 6” and 12” (or even more in special cases), which increases the overall visual drama.

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#CalAtlantic Homes, #William Lyon Homes,
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