Choosing the right colours for your photo frame

The colours you choose for your photo frame and mat board heavily dictate the personality of your art piece. When you set out to get your favourite photo or painting framed you would have some colours in mind but it is important that they evoke the feelings that you desire them to. The colours also need to fit the main subject well – the photo or art – so there a few things to think about before you rush into anything. This blog will make the process a bit easier for you by providing a few handy colour tips.

Image credit: Fishpond


One of the main things to think about when deciding on a frame colour is the décor that the piece must fit into. Carefully study the surrounding colours of the room or area and write them down. If you want the frame to seamlessly fit in, ask for similar colours on the frame and matboard as the room. If you want it to stand out then choose colours that will complement the room, i.e. complementary colours but aren’t directly in use already. High contrast colours such as black and white are a safe choice and will usually go with anything as will an off-white matboard.

The subject

Then you have to consider the colours in the artwork or photo itself. Identify some of the colours in the subject. Don’t choose any of the dominant colours but rather look at the secondary colours and utilise those in the frame and/or matboard. Having too many dominant colours in both the artwork and frame/matboard can be overwhelming to the viewer. The key is striking a balance between complementing the subject without going overboard and taking attention away from it. A special frame case would be for historical paintings or those representing a time period such as the Victorian era. While the matboard you choose can be in accordance with the tips given above, a golden or silver coloured ornamental frame is a suitable option too.


You may also want to take into account the general theme you are going for (if you do have one). For example if you are looking to create a display that fits the season of Autumn, warmer colours are going to be featured such as red, yellow, orange and brown. Along with the theme comes the mood that the piece needs to evoke. As a customer this is up to you to decide – it could be used to brighten up a room where bright colours such as light greens, blues and yellows should be used or be a solemn tribute where dark colours such as brown or black are more appropriate. Generally this is where the flexibility of the mat colours are great but there are a decent range of colours for the frames too.

Image credit: Oliver Brothers Frames


The material/design of the frame and matboard can also have an influence on the colours you choose. A metal frame is always going to be a bit more ostentatious and stand out more than a wooden frame. So if you want a metal frame but don’t want your frame to stand out that much, then go for a duller colour such as a dark grey or black. Some metal and wooden frames also have a design on them so consider choosing lighter colours if you would like those patterns to be prominent. Matboards can also either be made of standard cardboard or suede which reflect light differently. So carefully take a look at the sample colours in store before making a decision.

Hopefully these tips help you in choosing the perfect colours for your framed piece. Of course if you come in store we will assist and work with you to pick the colours but it’s always good to have a vision of what you want in mind!