How to Choose the Right Frame for Your Art

Following on from our guide on how to frame a picture, we want to answer another question we get asked a lot: “How do I find the right frame for my artwork?” While there’s a lot of room for personal taste and matching your home decor to your framing choice is important as well, here are a few easy suggestions to get you started!

modern art framesSo many frames to choose from!       Source: Art&Culture Blog

Choosing a Frame for Seascapes

For a stretched canvas we would usually recommend a tray frame, which means that it wraps around the back and sides of the artwork but doesn’t cover any of the front.

main_dappled-waters-in-sun-park-bluethumb-artDappled Waters by In Sun Park

With a painting like In Sun Park’s Dappled Waters (above), most artists paint a larger area than what is intend to be seen front on, or they paint a stretched canvas and make sure the painted area goes all the way around the sides, so you don’t really need to cover the front of the painting at all.

Favourite colours to go with seascapes are silver, and a light natural timber.

Source: Darbyshire and Keen-Art Media


These lighter, brighter colours work together with the usual colours in a seascape – blues and yellows – and lift them up.

Choosing a Frame for Pop Art

Pop art – or anything bright and modern – goes best with a clean, square, white or black frame. For a minimal look, choose a matt finish. These kinds of frames finish off your artwork without taking anything away from them.


The Reader by Amanda Cameron will look great in a high gloss white frame

To add a little more to the finished package, we would suggest a high gloss white frame.

Chunky AND Glossy!     Source: Ready Made Picture Frame Company

This style of frame can be effective both in a box frame (above) for works on paper and a tray frame for works on canvas. Dennis McCart‘s paintings on bluethumb are all framed in the latter and look fantastic.

large_kawabe-town-dancers-dennis-mccart-bluethumb-artKawabe Town Dancers by Dennis Mccart

Choosing Frame with Bright Colours

For an artwork that you love and want to keep for a long time, avoid colours. a brightly coloured frame or matt board can actually distract from your artwork and can become dated very quickly.

il_570xN.552748199_5fwlPerfect for fun, bright children’s artwork.     Source: etsy

However, if you’re buying artwork to decorate a child’s room, a colourful frame is a fantastic idea.

Choosing a Frame for Still Life and Landscape


Still Life – Copper Pot & Blue Vase by Ishbel Morag Miller

A classical-style still life painting like this one by Ishbel Morag Miller is a chance to really go to town with your framing choices. It’s one of the few times we would recommend getting a traditional style frame, that is – gold with lots of ornamental features.


Gumtree Gaze by Rex Woodmore

A landscape like Rex Woodmore‘s is another that we would recommend getting framed in traditional ornamental gold. Not all landscapes suit this kind of frame – you’ll notice the similarities in these artworks is in the colours. The greens, browns and golden yellows are made richer and more vibrant by gold frames.

Look at all those landscapes in the NGV Salon Room!    Source: Arts Diary 365

A fun fact about gold frames: In the 18th century, art salons were a popular way to buy and sell art. A “salon hang”, as we call it now, involves hanging as much artwork on the walls from floor to ceiling. Picture framers and artists (sometimes one and the same) wanted very much for their work to be seen and sold, but if you had your painting put at the very top of the wall, it might not even be seen, let alone sold. So artists started putting bigger and bigger, brighter and more ornate gold frames on their artwork in an effort to have it be noticed.

This tradition of putting large ornate frames on paintings lasted well beyond the salon hang, but as we discussed in How to Hang A Picture, the gallery wall style of hanging has recently had a modern-day resurgence!

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