Q: I found a bunch of really nice charcoal drawings and watercolors at a yard sale, and a lot of them will need to be framed. My husband thinks the frames should match the pictures themselves. I think the frames should go more with our decor. Who’s right?
A: Adding any kind of art to your decor is a great way to express your personality, no matter your style (especially if you didn’t need to pay much for it in the first place). If you truly love the art, a frame will protect the piece and help it blend with your decor.
As to whether the frames should match the art or your decor, it depends. So you and your husband are both right. An easy compromise is to choose a dark neutral color for the picture frames that will coordinate with your decor for at least each room, and the art. Fortunately, this isn’t as hard as you’d think. Have you ever wondered why it’s so easy to find frames in black and either natural wood or metallic tones including gold and silver? It’s because these colors are timeless, classic, and quite literally go with everything.
Having all your art -- especially photos, drawings, and anything else fragile or on paper -- professionally custom framed will enhance and protect each piece, but it can be expensive. To save some money, get an idea of the sizes you’ll need and keep tracking down those yard sales. It’s OK to buy already framed art if you just want the frame!
Keeping it simple is a good strategy, and remember each frame in your collection doesn’t need to look the same. It’s fun to mix and match shapes and sizes of similar colored frames. An attractive choice would be to have all distressed vintage-look wood frames or mostly black, some with a silver or gold accent, and some that are all silver or gold. You can be as eclectic as you want, including leaving art painted on canvas completely unframed. However, if you want a feature wall of several works that are similar either in size, color, or theme, consider using the same style and color of frame. This will help the mini-collection cohesive.
Whatever you choose, the frame and mat, if you’re using one, should be secondary to the art itself. The idea is to see the art first, not the frame. Have fun with this and let me know how it goes!