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How to Choose a Frame for a Painting? Step-by-Step

how to choose a frame for a painting

It might seem like a simple task but most people have no idea how to choose a frame for a painting. Most of them just slap on any old frame that they can find in IKEA on their paintings and they wonder why it somehow seems to “look off”.

Choosing the right frame is an artwork in itself. You will need to take a couple of factors into consideration when choosing a frame. If you are willing to learn, this article will teach you how to choose a frame for an oil painting or whatever kind of artwork you have.

Step-by-Step guide on Choosing a Frame for a Painting

There are many different kinds of frames for paintings, giving you several choices and allowing you to select one that is truly what you want. You can also make your choice from a wide range of colors, materials, and styles. You just have to make sure that you pick the ones that complement your painting, which is easier said than done.

Step 1 – Choose the Right Style

choose frame style for painting

Choosing the wrong frame might take attention away from the artwork. With that said, choose a frame that is less eye-catching than the painting.

One of the rules of thumb when learning how to choose a frame for a painting is that it is best not to choose ornate frames for now. However, you should not also go too minimalist. It is a good idea to think about the frame as an extension of the painting like it just feels natural for you.

Speaking of styles, do not be afraid to choose different styles of frames for different paintings. You can go with a gallery wall where the paintings are hung in a group. In this case, different frame styles look better than a homogenous group.

Step 2 – Pick the Right Color

choose frame color for painting

Now, let us focus on how to choose frame color for painting. When you are choosing the style of the frame, choose one that is similar to the painting. The opposite goes when you are choosing a color. Make sure that the frame somewhat contrasts with the painting.

For instance, if you are framing a light-themed painting, you need a frame with a dark color and vice-versa. If you are on the fence about adding colors to your frames, you can just pick between black and white.

Step 3 – Take the Room into Consideration

Where will you be hanging the painting? Will it be going up in an industrial chic living room? Or will it be going into your neutral and relaxing bedroom?

Consider the color of the walls and the overall style of the room. You would not want a frame that would clash with the room that it will be hanging in, so keep it in mind when you are out shopping.

Step 4 – Choosing the Right Size

The size of the frame you will be using will usually come down to personal preference. One thing that you need to know when selecting the right size frame is that it will affect how people perceive the painting.

For instance, if you want the painting to stand out from the rest of the decor, you should get a larger frame. On the other hand, if you want the painting to fit in almost seamlessly, pick a frame with a slimmer border.

Step 5 – Consider the Preservation/Conservation of the Piece

A good frame will be able to protect your valuable painting, preserving it for many more years of enjoyment. With that said, aside from the frame, you should also pick quality art glass to cover the entire piece.

Art glass does more than just protect the painting from gathering dust. It will also help protect it from discoloration due to the sun’s UV rays. In addition, it can provide a bit more protection against heat.

In terms of heat exposure, you should consider not placing the painting over active sources of heat, such as radiators or fireplaces. Also, even though the art glass provides a certain degree of protection against UV rays, do not hang the piece where it is exposed to hours of direct sunlight every day.

Tips and Advice

  • When choosing a wooden frame, make sure that you are getting the real deal. If a “wooden” frame is actually made from MDF, you should not get it at all. Not only does MDF not last more than a couple of years but it also does little to protect the artwork.
  • Don’t stress too much about getting the exact color of the frame for your painting. Instead, consider the overall theme and tone then choose a color that roughly matches it.


Learning how to choose a frame for a painting is not exactly easy, but it is not overly difficult as well. You just need to have a good eye for color and for figuring out overall themes. Ultimately, it all boils down to you picking a frame that enhances whatever is placed inside it and makes you happy.