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How to Choose the Right Frame for a Picture

The perfect frame will make your painting, photograph, or piece of artwork stand out on your wall. Here's how to find an ideal match.


  • Step 1: Determine the size of your picture Measure the length and width of your picture to determine its size. Make sure to include any borders because the frame will be going around the entire piece.
  • Step 2: Select a matting for the picture Based on the size of your picture, choose a contrasting color for the matting. The matting should be 2 to 3 inches larger than the length and width of your picture to create an attractive background effect.
  • Step 3: Pick the right thickness of your picture frame Choose a frame thickness that complements your picture but doesn't overpower it.
  • TIP: In general, select a thinner frame for smaller pictures, and a thicker frame for larger pictures.
  • Step 4: Measure the size of your picture plus the matting In order to pick the right size frame, you will need to measure the size of your picture plus the matting. Place the picture in the center of the matted piece and measure the length and width.
  • Step 5: Choose the right effect Decide what type of effect you want to create. A frame that has a simple sloping edge or beveled effect will draw the eyes toward the picture, while a more ornate frame will draw attention to the frame itself.
  • Step 6: Choose the right style Choose your style. Antique and wood-stained frames are often ideal for older pictures. Polished wood, plastic, shiny metal, and chrome frames work well with contemporary prints and modern photographs.
  • Step 7: Test against your color sample Make sure the picture truly 'pops' by laying it next to the color sample of your wall. This will give you a good idea of how the picture will look in your home or office.
  • FACT: The concept of frames evolved from the borders on vases, tomb paintings, and mosaics created more than 4,000 years ago.

You Will Need

  • A picture or other form of artwork
  • Measuring tape
  • Matting material
  • A color sample of your wall
  • A keen eye for details

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