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How to Choose the Right Picture Frame Size

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How to Choose the Right Picture Frame Size

Choosing the right picture frame size can transform your artwork or photograph, enhancing its visual appeal and ensuring it complements your interior décor. Selecting the perfect frame size involves considering several factors, such as the dimensions of the artwork, the matting, the frame’s style, and the placement of the framed piece. This guide will walk you through the steps to choose the right picture frame size for your needs.

Understanding Frame Sizes

Before diving into the selection process, it’s important to understand standard frame sizes and their applications. Here are some common frame sizes:

  • 4×6 inches: Ideal for small photos, postcards, and snapshots.
  • 5×7 inches: Suitable for personal photos and small artworks.
  • 8×10 inches: Perfect for larger photos, certificates, and small prints.
  • 11×14 inches: Often used for medium-sized art prints and posters.
  • 16×20 inches: Great for larger prints, family portraits, and artwork.
  • 20×24 inches: Best for large photos, posters, and substantial pieces of art.
  • 24×36 inches: Typically used for posters and large art pieces.

Measuring Your Artwork

The first step in choosing the right frame size is accurately measuring your artwork or photograph. Use a ruler or tape measure to determine the dimensions of your piece. Be sure to measure both the width and height, and note whether you want to include a mat (a border around the artwork) in the framing.

Tips for Measuring

  • Use a straight edge: Ensure your measurements are accurate by using a straight edge or ruler.
  • Consider the orientation: Determine if your artwork is portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal) oriented.
  • Account for borders: If your artwork has a white border, decide if you want it visible or hidden by the frame.

Deciding on Matting

Matting is an important aspect of framing that can enhance the presentation of your artwork. A mat is a piece of thick paper or cardboard that sits between the frame and the artwork, creating a border. It adds a professional touch and helps protect the artwork from touching the glass.

Matting Considerations

  • Size of the mat: Common mat widths range from 1 to 4 inches. Choose a width that complements the size of your artwork.
  • Color of the mat: Select a mat color that enhances the artwork. Neutral colors like white, cream, or black are versatile choices.
  • Multiple mats: Layering multiple mats of different colors can add depth and sophistication.

Choosing the Frame Style

The style of the frame is crucial for complementing your artwork and home décor. Frames come in various materials, colors, and designs. Here are some popular frame styles:

  • Wood frames: Classic and versatile, suitable for most artworks and photos.
  • Metal frames: Sleek and modern, ideal for contemporary pieces.
  • Ornate frames: Decorative and elaborate, perfect for traditional art and vintage photos.
  • Minimalist frames: Simple and clean, best for modern and abstract art.

Matching the Frame to Your Décor

Consider the overall style and color scheme of the room where the framed artwork will be displayed. The frame should complement the décor rather than clash with it. For instance, a rustic wooden frame might suit a cozy, country-style room, while a sleek black metal frame might be better for a modern, minimalist space.

Placement and Proportions

The placement of the framed piece in your home can influence the frame size. Larger frames can make a bold statement in living rooms or hallways, while smaller frames may be more suitable for intimate spaces like bedrooms or offices.

Proportional Balance

  • Groupings: If you plan to create a gallery wall with multiple frames, consider the overall balance and spacing.
  • Centering: Ensure the framed artwork is centered at eye level, generally about 57 to 60 inches from the floor.
  • Spacing: Leave enough space around the frame to avoid a crowded look.

Practical Tips for Frame Selection

Here are some additional tips to help you choose the right picture frame size:

  • Custom framing: For unique or irregularly sized artwork, consider custom framing to get the perfect fit.
  • Test samples: Many framing stores offer sample corners that you can use to visualize how different frames will look with your artwork.
  • Budget considerations: While custom frames can be more expensive, they offer a tailored look that might be worth the investment.


Choosing the right picture frame size involves careful consideration of the artwork dimensions, matting, frame style, and placement within your home. By taking these factors into account, you can ensure that your framed piece not only looks stunning but also enhances the overall aesthetic of your space.


1. How do I measure my artwork for framing?

To measure your artwork for framing, use a ruler or tape measure to determine the width and height of the piece. Consider whether you want to include a mat and measure accordingly.

2. What is the purpose of matting in picture framing?

Matting adds a border around the artwork, enhances its presentation, and helps protect it from touching the glass.

3. Can I use multiple mats for framing?

Yes, layering multiple mats of different colors can add depth and a sophisticated touch to the framed artwork.

4. How do I choose the right frame style for my artwork?

Select a frame style that complements your artwork and home décor. Consider the material, color, and design of the frame.

5. Where should I hang framed artwork in my home?

Hang framed artwork at eye level, generally about 57 to 60 inches from the floor, and ensure it is centered and has enough space around it for a balanced look.

By following these guidelines, you’ll be able to choose the right picture frame size and style that enhances the beauty of your artwork and fits seamlessly into your home décor.