Choosing a picture frame is not that complicated, the selection must follow a simple kind of dialogue between the picture subject and the décor of the space where the picture will be placed.
Pictures dress the house and just like the dresses we wear they do not have to be expensive to look good. One can choose to display collectible art and valuable art, prints and posters, vintage images and photography, or even display one’s own work of art. What really dresses the house with class and elegance is the selection of picture frames, the particular way they are positioned on the walls and how they are illuminated.
It is a common habit to select picture frames to chromatically echoing some pieces around in the décor such as the colors of pillows, walls or rugs, but that’s not the end of the story. Few elements play a high role in the beauty of picture displaying, the first is the subject of the picture itself.
Is there a perspective point in the picture? In this case it is best to choose a concave frame to envelop the eyes and bring them inside the picture. The opposite effect is obtained with a convex frame for a picture which does not have a perspective point. The eyes will go to the frame and will be distracted by the flatness of a picture without a perspective.
The dominant color and tone inside of the picture is important for the coloration of the frame. Generally warm colors inside the picture – red, yellow, brown, purple – are suitable for golden tone frames and cold colors in the image – blue, green, grey, white – go well with silver tone frames.
Modern art, abstracts or geometric representations require a light frame with a linear structure; traditional, classic and valuable art almost always require an important, massive and convoluted frame as shown in one of my client’s home who likes antiques mixed with some contemporary art. I designed for her a variety of gallery walls with different picture frames which live together very harmoniously.
To maintain the quality of classicism, a traditional frame always need a passepartout, which is an interior band, generally made of canvas or velvet, wraps around the frame and balances the luminosity of a picture, the chromatic tones and keep the picture away from the glass.
There is much to say about shaping a wall with pictures. Your eyes will determine the rule, the only thing you must remember is to design in scale. If dealing with botanical prints, photographs, magazine covers, or vintage images, their frames look great if they are all the same size, shape and colors, then you can produce a gallery wall, just like an art exhibition. Examples of places for a gallery wall are a long staircase, a large, or long wall, a study room, a corridor, just to name a few.
Add life to both pictures and frames with grazing lights, wall washers or small directional spotlights. Light is life, as I always say, the least unpretentious picture will feel interesting on stage with the right light shining on, but be careful with neon or fluorescent lights, they will change the feel of the picture. Also direct sun light on the picture and frame will damage and change colors and life of both. To avoid the mirror effect which will hide the image in the frame, it is suggestible to have a non-glare glass.
Selecting picture frames is a fun activity, indulge in your creativity and make it personal, the choices are endless and so is your fantasy.
So, OK the top and bottom pictures are the views of some corners in my studio, not exactly falling into the common decorating rules, but I can afford to be different.
I am ready to help and offer you my services if you like to be different.
Copyright © 2010 Valentina Cirasola, All Rights Reserved
Valentina Cirasola, is the principal designer and owner of Valentina Interiors & Designs. She is a trained designer and has been in business since 1990. She works on consultation and produces design concepts for remodeling, upgrading, new home design, décor restyling and home fashion. She also offers consultations on-line. Check out her books on