Our Frame of Mind

A collection of tips, framing techniques and artist insights.
Gallery wall of photos framed with custom wood picture frames and mat boards

A Mixed and Balanced Gallery Wall

A woman setting up a gallery wallA woman setting up a gallery wall
Setting up a gallery wall

In home décor, the most comfortable and beautiful spaces seamlessly mix different styles together. You never question why or how something ended up in the space. It all just seems to work perfectly.

An example of a mixed gallery wallAn example of a mixed gallery wall
A mismatch of different frame styles can add interest to your display

Yes, matching picture frames look elegant and chic, but purposefully mismatched frames can add interest and keep the eye lingering on your work. You can create a similar effect with a gallery wall or a grouping of photographs and artwork.

Here are some tips to achieve a visually balanced design while mixing frame styles.

A gallery display on a blue wallA gallery display on a blue wall
Mismatched frames in use 

Use the Rule of Odds

In a composition, people are more attracted to odd numbers than even ones. Objects arranged in odd numbers are more appealing, memorable, and effective than even-numbered groupings because your eye is forced to move around, which makes for a more interesting visual experience. So try using five frames instead of four, or three instead of two.


Complement Your Art

Picture frames and mat boards should always support, not compete with, the art. Choose a color present in the artwork to make it pop, like a beige frame to draw the eye to a bit of sand in an ocean scene. Or stay within the same aesthetic as the work. A Baroque-style painting, for example, would look right at home in an ornate gold frame, while modern art is more well-suited for a sleek metal frame.

A gallery wall with white frames and white matboardsA gallery wall with white frames and white matboards
An example of how to use matching frames 

Mix it Up

While it’s best to choose a frame that pairs well with the art inside of it, you don’t have to stick to the same style for every piece on your wall. Mixing types of artwork, such as an oil painting with sketches or prints and watercolors with photography, will keep viewers interested.
 

Strive for Varied, but Balanced

Vary the colors, styles and sizes of your frames, but make sure the pieces are balanced. If you have three treatments with yellow mat boards, for example, don’t hang them all on one end of your wall. Spread them throughout the display to maintain visual interest. The same is true of several frames of the same size, color, or material. 

A varied selection of gold frames on a gallery wallA varied selection of gold frames on a gallery wall
(Katherine Frey/THE WASHINGTON POST)

Repeat, Repeat, Repeat

Repetition is key. One white frame in a sea of black frames looks like a mistake. But two or three looks intentional. So if you have a white frame that you love, find a few more white frames in different sizes or styles to include in your grouping. Or if you have multiple frame styles and colors, consider using the same color mat board to visually tie them together.
 

Space it Out

When hanging your gallery wall or grouping, leave the same amount of space between the frames so it doesn’t appear disorganized. Too much or uneven space between frames can make the arrangement look cluttered.
 
Not sure if a frame will work with your gallery wall? Order a free sample. For more help, use our complimentary Art Assistant™ program

November 29, 2019
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