Picture frames come in many different shapes, sizes, material, colours and designs. The variety can be overwhelming to the eye however; choosing picture frame is an easy task once you know what elements should influence your decision.

What size should my picture frame be?

This is probably one of the basic questions that should be answered before shopping for a picture frame.  Most people believe that the picture frame should entirely surround the picture however, this isn’t always necessary. For example, if you are framing a poster of a large size it would be overpowered if the frame entirely surrounds it. In this case, it’s best to have smaller frames on each side with the poster centred in between two of them.

Picture Frame Size Guide

There is never one correct size for all your pictures framed because different factors come into play but there are some general rules of thumb when choosing picture sizes that can help you get started:

Small pictures or small images will look better proportionally with larger frames. The ratio between width and height is important avoid making your image look stretched out horizontally or vertically. This rule also applies to small images, because it’s best to use larger frames.

Large pictures or large images will look better proportionally with smaller frames. Again the ratio between width and height is important here too but this time you don’t want your image looking like an oval shape.

Framing square or rectangular pictures: avoid using a frame that significantly protrudes from the face of either side of the picture (the “leading” of the frame). This draws away from your image and make it look compressed in one dimension (either horizontally or vertically) where as you would like to highlight all dimensions and enhance them instead.

This rule applies when framing photographs, art prints, paintings etc; however not when framing mirrors. Mirrors are usually framed by themselves instead of being surrounded by a frame.

Material, colour and design 

When choosing your picture frame material it’s best to choose something that is appropriate for the room you are planning on putting it in. For example wood or metal frames would look great in rustic decor whereas black metal or white painted wooden frames will fit nicely into modern decor. If you’re looking for more classic style then antique gold or silver frames will be perfect as they come in various designs such as rococo, baroque and empire styles. Colour is somewhat linked with design so these two factors should be chosen together when considering new picture frames.

Lastly remember that larger images generally require bigger and deeper (thicker) frames while smaller pictures can be fitted into smaller and shallower (thin) frames.