They say a picture tells a thousand words – but the story these words weave will be impacted enormously by the structure that surrounds them.

Choosing the right frame for your new acquisition is almost as important as the picture itself. Of course, the artwork should always be the primary focus of any hanged picture, but the right frame can work harmoniously with its colours, subject matter and themes to accentuate certain aspects and divert attention where necessary. In this manner, the perfect frame will maximise the artistic potential of any picture it adorns.

Here are some top tips on how to go about selecting the frame that’s right for you, depending on the specific picture and its location in your home or business.

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Keep it relevant

The most successful frame choices take inspiration from the picture itself. Nature shots often work well with wood finishes, for example, while more modern or abstract pictures function better with metallic, minimalist frames. Crucially, it’s important to remember that the frame should not distract attention from the picture or detract from its effect, but flow in tandem with the artwork to bring out subtle nuances and styles.

Opposites attract

While establishing a link between the picture and its border is a good rule of thumb when it comes to selecting a frame, you can sometimes inspire a positive juxtaposition by going against the grain. For example, a clean, uncluttered image could benefit from being surrounded by a highly-crafted, ornate frame, with the picture perhaps enclosed inside a single or double mat to add intrigue. Meanwhile, if the photograph is already busy enough, a more simplistic approach can provide an aesthetically pleasing contrast.

Coordinate colourfully

An invariably successful trick is to pinpoint one particular colour from the picture itself which you’d like to highlight and then choose a frame of the corresponding shade; this technique works particularly well in bolder images to enhance their dramatic impact. On the other hand, selecting a frame which mimics one of the background colours of a piece can help to highlight the focal point of the image, drawing the eye to it and underlining its importance.

What’s in a material?

As mentioned above, choosing a wooden or metallic frame can have a direct bearing on how a picture is interpreted and this stylistic impact is certainly worth taking into account when deciding upon your frame material. However, style isn’t the only aspect to consider here; the practical qualities of the frame should also be taken into consideration. For example, the type of mat can affect degradation of photographs, while different forms of glass will have varying non-reflective and UV absorption properties… and of course, different price tags.

Location, location, location

Speaking of materials, the type of frame used can become extremely pertinent depending on where the artwork is to be on display. In a bathroom or kitchen, atmospheric moisture can play havoc with a piece’s longevity, while glare from sunlight or indoor lamps can bounce off certain types of glass unpleasantly and tarnish a picture’s aesthetic effect. Think carefully about where you plan to hang the piece in your home and choose a frame (and interior glass) that will suit its location accordingly.