Adding pictures to a room is one of the easiest ways to add atmosphere and style, but poorly-framed, or un-framed pictures can ruin the mood – bringing to mind student digs rather than sophisticated homes. Any picture, whether is an original work of art, or taken from a magazine will be vastly improved by being placed in an appropriate, well-chosen frame. Making frames from scratch, or adapting them, if you're handy, can be a fun hobby. You will need some proper tools to produce a great job, including a mitre (for cutting angles).
It is much easier to consult a professional framer. Framers can be found in most towns, usually attached to galleries or printing companies. They should talk you through the different options and provide you with a quote based on the materials you have chosen. These vary a lot in price and you don't always have to pick the most expensive products to produce a dramatic effect. They will most likely have some frames and mounts on offer at a discount price, so ask about them. Even if you are planning to do the framing yourself, it is well worth spending a fair bit of time trying out your picture against different combinations of mounts and frames in a framing shop. Mounts Choosing a bold or dark mount, especially an oversized one, can add to the cost of your framing, but it is often well worth paying a little more, as this can dramatically change an ordinary picture into something unique. Pick a deep colour that contrasts and compliments one of the main colours in the image, as well as the colour of the frame you have decided on. It can be easier to think in terms of seasonal colours when taking this approach. So, autumnal maroons and coppers look great together, as do springtime pastels in pale yellows and greens. If the picture suits, you could choose to have two different coloured mounts, perhaps in different shades of the same colour. This is especially effective with old photographs, such as sepia toned ones. This is not to say that a plain white or ecru mount necessarily looks cheaper – that would be an ideal choice against an image with lots of depth of colour, and set next to a dark coloured frame. An oversize mount can make a small picture stand out, so it is really good option for postcard sized images – especially if you mount a group of themed pictures together in one frame. Raised and bevelled mounts can add even more drama, but don't get carried away. These can suit traditional artworks more, being a classical style – modern art often looks too "busy" if set against intricate mounts of any kind. Frames While there are no fixed rules, these types of frames often work best with these types of pictures. Posters – a simple black frame, approximately an inch wide, works well with posters of all types. Nature scenes – whether photographs or paintings, a scene of a beach or landscape is often complemented best by a simple unvarnished wooden frame. Watercolours – while wooden frames often look great with water colours, it's definitely worth considering a coloured painted frame. Pick out one of the colours in the picture and match it to a matt frame in the same tone. Abstract works – these can be the most difficult to choose frames for as any kind of frame can work against the piece. Choose something as simple as possible and for a large picture, select a thin, unobtrusive frame. Metallic frames can add a lot of drama to an ordinary picture and if you have a traditional piece of artwork, but don't want to have an "old fashioned" frame, then a bold, blocky metallic frame is a great option. Decorated frames, with patterns, are generally the most expensive to buy – and can look amazing, but they should really be limited to statement pieces of art. Coloured frames can be effective for lots of different artworks. As well as watercolours, they can work very well with colour photographs, especially landscapes. If the sky or sea dominates, then choose a blue frame for added impact. Deep-set frames are not necessarily more expensive, it depends on the material used and they can give a simple painting or image more prominence. Working well for your decor The simplest way to make pictures work well is to have a pair of them with the same frames, covering similar themes, in the same room. Or more generally, to keep to a certain framing type for similar types of pictures throughout the house. Ask any professional interior designer for a tip and they will tell you that where you hang your pictures is of vital importance. Keep the tops of pictures at the same level – and that should be the same height as either the door frame or window in the room. Simply following this rule makes pictures look so much more stylish. Above all, when choosing frames, indulge your creative side and look at different styles – you might be surprised at which combinations will work best.