When you look at a piece of art, you often know instinctively if you like it or not. Our favourite pieces jump out at us in an emotional kind of way, and we usually don’t have to think too hard about it.

But when it comes to framing art things can get kind of overwhelming.

Firstly, should you frame the artwork at all? Some canvas artworks look better stretched and hung as is without a frame. If you do choose to frame, what frame will go best with the artwork? Bold, colourful and ornate – or thin, minimalist and understated?

Then there’s the problem of matting. Should you use a mat? Should you use two mat boards? Should you go for a colour – or keep it classy and white?

Once you’ve framed the artwork, then you’ve got to make the decision of how and where to display it.

If you’ve ever put off a framing project for weeks, months or years – we don’t blame you! But there is light on the other side of the tunnel.

When a piece of artwork is framed just right and displayed in the best spot, it can transform a room. It can give you chills, make you feel at home or remind you of something special. Framed art is a powerful thing, and it’s worth doing.

Let’s cut the confusion and get down to the decisions that really matter. Here’s your easy-to-understand guide to framing your favourite piece of art!

Choosing the right frame

Choosing the right frame can make or break an artwork. The golden rule to follow is: choose a frame for the artwork, not the other way round. Keep the following tips in mind when picking a frame:

1.   Complement the art

The right frame should make the artwork stand out and not draw attention away from the art.

Consider the era of the artwork when deciding what to frame it in. Older pieces may work better with older style frames and newer pieces with more modern frames. However, there is no hard and fast rule. If you want to be playful, sometimes it works to contrast the artwork with the frame.

Also consider the existing decor of your home when choosing a frame. You will want it to blend in harmoniously with the surroundings.

2.   Go with a custom frame

If you are framing a precious or personally significant piece of art, you should always go with custom picture framing in Perth, rather than a pre-made frame.

Custom frames are designed and built for your specific artwork and can achieve a much better result. Custom framers also use better materials which will protect your artwork for many years to come.

3.   Ensure acid free materials

Make sure the frame is made with acid free materials to ensure your artwork stays in good condition. Materials which are not acid free may cause discolorations and damage the artwork.

You should also look for UV resistant glass to protect the artwork from fading when exposed to sunlight.

Making decisions about matting

Just like with picking a frame, the mat should draw attention towards the artwork and help it breathe. Try and exercise restraint when it comes to matting and keep the following tips in mind:

1.   Should you mat?

Most artworks on paper look amazing with matting, however there are a few exceptions. For example, some large photographic prints look stunning without a mat board, as do vintage posters.

2.   What colour is best?

Remember, the mat board should make the artwork stand out. So in most cases, choosing an understated colour is usually the best way to go. Whites, creams and beiges are often a safe pick. Some artwork looks better with a bold mat, often a colour that is used in the artwork itself.

3.   Float mounting can add depth

Float mounting means the artwork sits on top of the matting instead of being overlapped by it. This technique can look great if the artwork comes completely to the edge of the paper or if there is a special texture on the edge of the paper that you want to showcase. Floating an artwork can add depth for a dramatic result.

How and where to display framed art

If you are planning to install picture hooks in your home, take some time to think about where your artwork would look best. If you aren’t allowed to hang your artwork, for example if you are renting, there are other ways to display your art like leaning it on the wall or on a bookshelf.

Keep these tips in mind when displaying framed art:

1.   Plan your display with paper

Visualising how artwork will look on your wall is essential, especially if you are planning to hang more than one piece. Cut out rectangles the size of your framed artwork on some paper or cardboard and use this to plan out where you will hang the artwork. There are also some apps online that can help you visualise how the final result will look.

2.   Avoid the sun for sensitive mediums

If you are hanging watercolours, textiles or other UV sensitive mediums, go for a location that doesn’t get lots of sunlight throughout the day. Also make sure you use UV resistant glass to further protect the art.

3.   Keep it dynamic

Don’t try and line everything up perfectly. Framed artwork doesn’t have to be displayed in a rigid grid. In fact, the best results usually come when you have some variety and dynamism in the way you display your wall art. That being said, it usually looks best if your picture frames are levelled vertically and horizontally and you can use a spirit level to help you do so.

4.   If in doubt, go with your gut!

At the end of the day, it’s ok to trust your instincts with framing, just like you trust your instincts to pick a good piece of art. And if you make a mistake, don’t sweat it. Most things can be fixed and even imperfections can be embraced. Happy framing!