Frame is the finishing touch to a piece of art. If done correctly, it will really lift the artwork and enhance its visual appeal, while the wrong one might end up becoming a distraction, diminishing both the appearance and value of the artwork.

However, choosing the right frame for an artwork is a task often overlooked by many.  For some framing art seems pricey while others find themselves overloaded with options—molding for an exquisite gold embellished artwork bought from a Tanjore paintings gallery or golden frame for the extravagant piece? Maybe no matting at all?

Confused? Don’t be, we have got you covered!

Remember, framing is an art in itself, no matter if it’s an abstract piece or a traditional Tanjore painting, you need to follow some basic tips and tricks to get it right always. When choosing the frame, apart from taking into consideration the aesthetic features of your painting, you also need to accommodate factors such as the environmental nitty-gritty that may impact your artwork in the long run. Let’s get further into the details by exploring this guide below consisting of expert tips on finding the perfect frame:

  • Frame isn’t just about style

Remember that getting a frame for your painting is not just about choosing a color and a material that strikes you. It’s about considering how a frame can not only present your favorite piece of art most effectively but also safeguard it from any damage and degradation in the long run. So, take time to seriously contemplate where the painting will be displayed — if it will be hung in the study or gallery of your home, or is it going to be placed in the same place for long, or will it be required to be shifted to another place soon? Comprehending all of these questions beforehand will guide you in choosing the right frame.

  1. Be sensitive to the period

When framing a painting, knowledge of the work’s past can prove to be a useful design guide. Perhaps, you should take time to research its history, exploring how it has been framed in the past — considering the input of gallerists, curators and friends who have good knowledge on the subject and sometimes the artists themselves will be extremely helpful. You need to go a step further in this research, it’s very important to explore exhibitions and shows — take a physical visit or register a virtual tour, this can equip you with knowledge and be an excellent guide for hanging works ranging from Old Masters to traditional works such as Tanjore art to contemporary pieces.

  • Try creating an artificial environment

Quite often it happens that paucity of space leads to displaying artworks in less than ideal environmental conditions — in a place which is particularly humid or receives high levels of sunlight. In such cases, you can use the frame to regulate and counter the external conditions or even attempt to create a specific microclimate to protect the artwork. Make sure that the materials you select during framing help in managing the microclimate, such as you can ask the framer to put artsorb sheets to control humidity and use a microchamber board to keep the painting free of pollutants.

  • Choose glass carefully

Don’t get too involved in choosing the glazing that you forget to decide on the design of the frame itself. So, while searching the most appropriate glass to cover the painting, take these five important things into consideration.

First and perhaps the most important is the UV filter. You can use double glazing to protect your artwork from degrading or fading due to the most damaging form of light. Secondly, it’s vital that you choose a low-reflective material that won’t interfere with the surface of the painting when it’s displayed and impair its appearance. Thirdly, take safety also as a concern and select a material in the frame that allows to handle the artwork with minimal risk of breakage. Fourthly, don’t overlook the weight, some materials make a frame incredibly heavy and inconvenient to hang or move. However, there are acrylics that reduce the weight of frames by 50 percent. Lastly, the cost will be a reflection of all these above choices you make, and would depend on your priorities for the art piece.

  • Don’t be afraid to be unconventional

Remember, a conventional frame isn't the right answer for every artwork, don’t hesitate to try something out of the ordinary. You can come with some creative solutions to display your valuable art for example, get a  custom lightbox to display a mesmerising stencil by Banksy. Or for a very old and incredibly fragile piece of art bought from the collection of Tanjore paintings gallery which is to be displayed on a high wall, you can get a folded stretcher frame manufactured — allowing the piece to be safely folded and unfolded — get a big, ornate gold or silver frame made in two sections added.

  • Framing isn’t always necessary

Sometimes you might realize that a frame is not necessary, so just go bare and display your piece of art unframed, maybe on a tabletop against the wall. You can also opt for a panel of the right depth, shape, which sits just perfectly well on the wall.

Remember, there are no hard and fast rules in framing, and the best frame can be no frame at all — it’s all about choosing one that puts your art in the spotlight.

Today, frames are available in a multitude of different styles, the choices are practically endless, proving to be overwhelming for many. To help you further we have compiled a precise list elaborating on what kind (style, color, or material) of frameworks best with the type of art you own.

Choosing frames for prints

Owing to their easy accessibility and affordability, prints have become an incredibly popular medium among art lovers who use it often to fill up the wall space in their home. While selecting the frame for prints, take into account the spectrum of colors it has and choose the frame in a hue that matches that.

The same rule applies while finding frames for photographs. The dominant colors in the photograph should immediately stand out at you at first glance itself. Generally, black or white frames should be used for black and white photographs while for colored photos, the dominant colors should match to its frame, letting the photo stand out.

Choosing frames for oil paintings

Been around for centuries and maybe longer before humans managed to produce glass so big so as to cover the entire canvas of oil paintings. So, to learn how to frame oil paintings, it is important to get a clear understanding of their characteristics and then move. Unlike acrylic or watercolour which dry with water evaporating out of it, oil dries through the process of oxidation. You might feel that a finished oil painting is dry and possibly safe to touch and handle after a few weeks or so of completion, it is likely that pigment is still not completely dry for decades. Also, note that the thicker the layer of oil paint applied on canvas, the more likely it is to crack, as the pigments are still unstable.

The best part is that three are endless possibilities while deciding on framing for an oil painting. The factors to take into account are once again to pay attention to the dominant colors of the composition and how a frame can complement the overall visual appeal of the work. But, this all settles to personal preference and taste.

Though oil paintings give you more flexibility in selecting bulkier conventional wooden frames, you should also adhere to what the imagery evokes, its weight, and the space that it will be placed in. Hence, it is always advised to avoid glass in the framing of oil paintings as it is likely to trap the moisture behind it, leading to its canvas rotting.

Choosing frames for drawings and illustrations

First and foremost, examine the medium in which the drawing and illustration works you bought have been made with. Mostly, these are made with more organic or perishable mediums such as graphite or charcoal and maybe pastel, which make these works to be more delicate. Hence, these artworks look best when framing with the amount, or mat wherein mats help in protecting the more dainty and fragile artworks in the long run.

Another important point to keep in mind is that make sure that the glass never touches this delicate artwork directly, and the mat done should help separate the two allowing the paper to breathe. For example, if a graphite sketch is placed in a manner that it rubs against the glass, it is likely to cause condensation and severe damage to the paper.

Remember that the whole idea of matting is to put more focus on the art itself, so while choosing the mat color, practice restraint. For example, an understated white-colored mat or in off-white hue will look astounding with almost everything. But, if you want to incorporate drama or your work maintains a uniformly white hue, you can go for a contrasting gray or black mat to set the effect off.

If you like to add an accent mat—a second mat that is placed inside the primary mat creating a thin outline around the actual artwork. Make note that this accent mat is not a necessary element in framing and it can ruin the already perfectly framed painting. But if you still go for it, choose a color that is a part of the composition itself— for example, a bit of red you might like to highlight or draw focus on the gray undertone from the sky above.

Choosing frames for mixed media

Choosing the frame for mixed media works is quite difficult to achieve as they span across every art medium. However, taking into consideration artworks from all the mediums that have been mentioned above, you can decide on what frame to go for each. In some cases, mixed media works may have three-dimensional characteristics, so ensure to consider the bulkiness or lightness of frames as well.

Conservation tips

Regardless of the medium, every artwork experiences adverse changes if exposed to extreme conditions such as humidity and heat. You may find mould forming on canvases, paper, or even in the paint itself if the frame expands and allows exposure of the artwork to external conditions. This might lead to paint loss, and even the pigments may fade potentially. Making a note of these few things will help protect your artwork and increase its longevity, be it a folk Tanjore painting or a contemporary graphite drawing or something else:

-Never hang the art over sources of heat, such as above a working fireplace, heater, induction stove or even an oven.

-If you are planning on placing the artwork in a space with a working fire, ensure that it is protected in glass so that the smoke does not damage the surface. This also applies to rooms where you use candles frequently.

-Almost every pigment across mediums is volatile to direct sunlight and electric lights. So, avoid displaying the artwork too close to sources of light, unless they are good-quality LED lights.

-Do not hang paintings on walls which are damp or recently plastered, particularly if air vents are nearby.

-Never store an artwork that is valuable or sentimental in an attic.


A good frame can completely transform your art. Finding the right frame is really about harmony. It is important when you first see the work framed, you should be drawn immediately to the image itself. Secondly, you should be able to make a connection with the object as a whole as even a slight imperfection on the frame, or a minute imbalance in color will distract you from your ultimate enjoyment.