July 18, 2024

There are a few large things that can make a huge impact in a room—the right-size rug, a fresh coat of paint, statement lighting—but there are also a lot of small ways to give your space a glow-up without dropping a ton of dough on big pieces. 

One of the best ways to do that is by adding the perfect piece (or pieces!) of artwork to your wall—but choosing the right frame is key. To help us figure out why it’s so important, and how to pick the best one for your art, we spoke to Framebridge’s founder and CEO, Susan Tynan.  

The Right Frame Highlights Your Piece and Stands on Its Own

According to Tynan, framing has two design purposes. “It can shine a spotlight on what’s in the frame (whether it be art, photos, or mementos), or it can be a design element of its own,” she says. “In other words, frames can either ‘get out of the way’ and draw the focus to the art or photo, or they can add a fun, decorative element themselves.”

For example, choosing a clean, simple frame won’t steal your artwork’s thunder, but adding a hand-painted, burl wood, or brightly colored one can help to complement certain pieces, while also making a statement. A bright, cherry red frame, for example, adds a nice pop to a gallery wall, but it’s also bold enough on its own.

Photo Courtesy of Framebridge.

Framed Art Can Serve as a Gratitude Journal

“Frames are a great way to make sure your room has truly personal elements in it,” Tynan says. While she points out that social media is a great tool as it gives us so much design inspiration, it can also mean many of our rooms can start to look the same! 

Adding a custom frame can meaningfully personalize your space. “I really believe that framing can act like a gratitude journal—a way to reflect on the highlights of your life,” she adds.

Mats Add a Lot to Your Art 

Mats bring another layer of sophistication and help draw the eye to what’s being framed. If you’re choosing a framing option with a mat and don’t know what color you should go with, Tynan says to go with classic white.

“Colors can be fun, if done intentionally, but you shouldn’t feel you need to add color just to match a color in the art,” she advises. “Let the art shine and create some visual distance with a white mat.” 

If you’re feeling a little maximalist, try your hand at DIY patterned mats. For example, we love marbled paper for this treatment. Just trace the mat shape on the paper of your choice, cut it out, adhere it to the mat with a touch of glue, and pop it back into the frame. Voilà!   

Photo courtesy of Framebridge.

More Unique Ideas to Personalize Your Walls

“Float mounting is a framing technique where the art sits on top of the mat board. It’s perfect for art that has deckled edges or to get a more modern, dimensional look,” says Tynan. She also suggests framing “artifacts from your life” like matchboxes, restaurant menus, and marathon bibs.  These personal pieces will not only make you smile when you look at them, but the unique shapes and dimension can help add texture and variety to your walls. 

And keep in mind that frames look best when they have a collected feel—although you may want to fill up a wall fast, buying all your art at once and using the same frame may make your space look impersonal and straight out of a catalog (and not in the best way). Instead, update your walls over time, little by little.

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