Design Trend: Soft Elegance/Modern Luxury

Soft metallic finishes, gentle monochromatic color schemes, and the incorporation of luxurious textures embody this trend in décor. Contemporary is here to stay, but is moving toward the inclusion of more opulent elements that more commonly found in traditional décor, yet in a very spare way. We saw this last year with the emergence of the Rustic Chic design aesthetic, which fused stripped down industrial/urban design with modern farmhouse. This year, the simplicity continues, but with a touch more lavish materials.

So what does this mean for framing artwork? This means it’s time to add some elegant features, where they work (of course). Let me expand.

When designing your frame, always keep in mind your purpose or the reason you’re framing a particular work in the first place, and style, which defines the genre in which you want your art to fit. When you need to frame, the number one priority is to frame in a way that stays true to the artwork, with an eye toward where the art will live.

If you happen to be faithful to  classic gallery frames using wide white mat boards and simple Nielsen metal profiles, try softening the look with a frosted metal finish. For the same low prices you’ve come to expect, metals become muted and take on a more elegant feel than their shiny counterparts.  Certain collections like NeoReflections and Currents are all about texture, which boosts a frame’s elegance quotient. Even Standard, our most popular collection, offers Florentine Finishes in gold and black, adding subtle sophistication to the finished look.

Image via Lauren Liess
Designer Lauren Liess is a thought leader in her industry. Lauren designed this beautiful montage using our Radius Frosted Gold frame –Beautiful, Easy and Accessible. 

Wood frames take on a whole new role when finished in beautiful soft shapes and tones. In keeping with this trend, we’ve added several new frames to our Nuance collection which fuses classic elegance with modernity featuring frames with metallic hand leafed finishes.  Larger works can carry the strength of Allure, a collection of muted silvers and golds in simple, carved profiles; old favorites by Larson Juhl.  Look for new additions coming mid-February to Mode, our collection of high style shapes with unusual finishes.

Another way to add instant luxury to your frame treatment is to use a textured mat board. Linen and silk mat boards are especially glamorous on watercolor paintings, drawings and Asian ink wash paintings. We offer a collection of Bainbridge® Alphamat® Artcare™ Linens in 5 beautiful, natural shades, my favorite being the AlphaLinen Sake as it is a versatile shade and easily blends with a wide range of mouldings.

linen mat boards

As artists, designers and art lovers of all kinds; We frame what we care about, again for a purpose. As design evolves, so must we, and that is both the challenge and the fun. I’ll look forward to your thoughts on how YOU might be trying some upscale elements in your next framing project.


AubreyK | 1/26/2015 2:59:15 PM | 4 comments
American Frame

Sake is number 4412. You can find it here:

On the lefthand side, under the image of the mat, click "add sample to cart"
2/10/2015 9:26:13 AM

Those linen mats are beautiful? Which one is the sake that you mentioned? HOw can I get a sample of it?
2/6/2015 10:36:42 AM

American Frame
It's a stunning display!
1/29/2015 9:47:26 AM

What a great idea. I'd love to see this in person.
1/29/2015 9:32:13 AM

About this blog

Laura Jajko

Join in and let’s bond over our love of art and framing. Here, I’ll be sharing design inspiration and decisions, twitter chat summaries, and happenings with the company, among other things. With more than 40 years of practical experience, I bring a unique perspective in a straight-forward style that I hope will spark lots of interesting and relevant dialog in our online community.

For more tutorials and articles, take a look at our other blogs -  Ask Mike or At Your Service

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