Simple versus complex: how to decide which frame is right for your painting

Written by chris pink on June 19, 2015 in Picture Framing

You’ve decided on the wood. You know where it’s going. There’s just one more thing to consider: your frame’s profile, and how it’ll affect the art-work that will go inside it.

Take a picture frame moulding and turn it so that you’re looking along the length of it.

What you’re seeing is the frame’s profile, which shows a cross-section of how many grooves the frame has, if it’s rounded or if it’s square.

Here’s our guide to choosing the right profile for your picture frame:

Step 1: take a close look at your art-work

Forget the colours of your painting for a moment, and focus on the texture. Are there intricate lines?

Does the painting feature buildings? Does it depict a grand, Victorian theme or is it a pen-and ink sketch of a busy market one-hundred years ago?

In that case, you may want a frame with more detail and grooves within its body.

Step 2: deciding on squared-off or round edges

Take another look at your art-work. Is there a softness about the piece?

Is it a landscape which has woodland, or a painting that speaks of natural pleasures like a walk amongst some woodland?

In that case, you may want to go for a profile which is rounded as well as made up of grooves.

Step 3: or should you go with a frame that slopes in?

If you’re looking for a frame that leads the eye into the middle of the picture, a flat frame which descends towards the picture could be a nice idea.

These frames often have a narrow inner edge that’s gold or can be painted gold or another colour, adding contrast and enhancing the piece as it hangs on the wall.

Step 4: when to go with something more complex

Some picture frames have very complex mouldings which have many deep grooves, high and low elements, and intriguing corner sections with swirls and patterns.

These frames are rarely cheap and can be very heavy, but if you have a particularly special family portrait, for example, they can be the ideal choice.

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