Choosing the Right Picture Frame

Picture frames are important decorative elements that highlight your photographs and also give your walls, shelves and table tops a distinctive look. However, there are literally thousands of picture frame styles and designs. There are antique picture frames, modern picture frames, shabby chic frames, frames with simple moldings and frames with elaborate moldings. There are also frames in a wide range of shapes. These include oval, square, rectangular and round picture frames. There are even heart-shaped, hexagon-shaped and cathedral-shaped frames.

So, how does one choose the right frame? You need to answer the following questions:

  • What is being framed? The item to be framed will help determine what kind of basic frame you need. Flat items such as pictures, cards, posters or paintings are pretty straightforward. You need a standard picture frame for this. However, 3-dimensional objects such as flowers, coins or sports jerseys will require specialized display cases or shadow box frames.
  • What is the theme of the item being framed? The picture frame should complement the item being framed. It should reflect the overall tone and theme of the photograph. For instance, happy vacation pictures can be offset by colorful but simple frames. Old photographs are best displayed on antique picture frames. You can even go one step further and add convex glass to complete the vintage look. Wedding or graduation pictures will need a more classic, timeless look.
  • What is the picture’s overall color scheme? Again, the picture frame should complement the color. When a picture has an overall dark color scheme, a dark frame can only overwhelm the photo or make it too crowded. A frame with a lighter shade can serve to direct the eyes to the photo. Of course, the picture frame should also use a related color and shade. The frame’s color does not have to be the exact same shade as the photograph’s dominant color. Rather, the frame can be a complementary color. The Victorian Frame Company provides up to 3 sample moldings for you to see how a particular shade would work.
  • What are the dimensions of the picture? The picture’s size will determine the thickness of the molding you would choose, as well as the shape that will put the picture at its best light. Be careful in choosing the frame’s thickness. If the picture is small or medium-sized, a thick frame can overpower the image. If the picture is big, you also need a thick-enough frame to support its size and the overall weight of the frame.
  • What is the room’s overall look? It is important to choose a frame that would first complement the picture. However, you should also give consideration to how the frame’s design and color will look in relation to other decorative elements in the room and the wall where the frame is to be hanged. If you will be using more than one frame on the wall or shelf, you also need to consider how these frames will harmonize with one another. The frames do not have to be a perfect match – some frame suppliers may discontinue a particular design or color in the future so you need to have a bit of flexibility in this area. However, the various frames do have to complement each other.
  • What other additional elements do I want for my frame? Decide whether you need to add glazing to the picture frame. The glass serves to protect the frame from dust and grime, as well as from fading and discoloration. Of course, this will also affect the overall weight of the frame and you may need to provide additional frame support. In addition, you can add matting to the frame to add more layers of color and texture. However, take note that additional matting will affect the size of the frame, as well as the width of the rabbet that holds the glass, matting, picture and mounting board securely to the frame. The rabbet should be deep enough and provide enough space for the desired layers of mounting boards. As a rule, the matting’s width should be 20% of the photo’s smallest dimension (i.e. the height or the width). 
10th Dec 2014 Eric Morgan

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