Picture frames have a variety of uses: first and foremost a frame defines and set offs an image, drawing the eye to it; frames are also functional in so much as they are a means of display and they protect and preserve. They are also an ideal way to give photographs, posters, medals, certificates and souvenirs a sense of importance.
The key to successful picture framing is of course the choice of frame – but how do you choose the right frame and what choices of frame do you have?
The different types of picture frame
The first step is to familiarise yourself with the different types of picture frame available. These include:
• Black. Available with many different finishes including grainy and glossy with different edges. Black works well with artwork, prints, photography and watercolours.
• Colours. Choose from a wide variety of shades, but stick to a colour that complements your decor. These can work well with prints, photography and water colours but remember to match the frame colour to the picture.
• Finished woods. A good all round frame; choose from a range of finishes including mahogany, flat teak colour veneer and veneer lacquered moulding; also available are reverse profiles that slope away from artwork and are available with different gloss and edges. These work well with traditional artwork, mirrors, prints and posters.
• Gold. Particularly popular for mirrors, certificates and photographs.
• Silver. A very diverse finish that can work well with everything from artwork to water colours, oils and smaller mirrors.
• Unfinished woods. Can often be painted, waxed, stained, or left untreated. Unfinished woods such as oak age well and work well with prints and originals.
How to choose the right picture frame
Though there are many varieties of frames, they can loosely be categorised as traditional (such as wooden frames), modern (such as metal or coloured frames) and transitional (minimalistic). Think about the theme of the room in which the picture or item will be hung and choose a frame that will complement the colour scheme and room style. Old-style gold frames are well-suited to a more formal or traditional environment; while in a more eclectic room you may wish to marry the colour of the frames with accessories or furniture.
If you want a versatile frame then wooden frames are a good choice. They work with all types of décor and as such they are easy to move from one room to another.
The key is to find a frame that enhances rather than overwhelms the subject, which should always be the primary focus. Choosing matching frames for groups of pictures can be a good way of uniting them.
Custom framing, mounting and other things to consider
Custom framing services give you access to a far wider choice of frames and mounts – you can have frames made-to-measure and even have old frames refurbished. It is well worth investing in the skills of a specialist picture framer as the overall finish can turn an otherwise ordinary subject into a striking thing of beauty.
If do you opt for a readymade frame, be careful with your measuring techniques and always give the size of the glass when ordering a frame for a mirror; and remember when measuring oil paintings that canvasses are not fully square and so you should always measure the widest part on each side, allowing around 4mm for canvas work and 2mm for board work.
Generally, unless artwork has a high value it will be covered under a standard home contents insurance policy. If individual pieces of artwork do have a high value, for example in excess of £1,500 per piece, then they will need to be identified on the policy as separate risks. Also, if you have numerous items in a collection that individually don’t have a high value but collectively do so (for example £5000-£10,000), then again you should inform your insurer. Always check the insurance limits that apply on a policy before you agree to its terms.
Remember also that a home insurance policy with accidental damage cover will protect against damage caused by accidents and other such mishaps, for example an expensive picture frame being smashed during a home decoration project.