Why Are Picture Frames Important?

April 02, 2020 4 min read


Why are picture frames important?

Why Are Picture Frames Important?

Picture frames - who needs them? It's the picture we're interested in, isn't it? It's the picture we want to look at, concentrate on, learn from or be entertained by - so why do we need to bother with a frame?

Well, there are several good reasons why picture frames are important.

(1) Protection of Wall Art

Picture frames protect your wall art. Whether your pictures are personalised prints, family photos or magnificent oil paintings worth millions, they all benefit from protection. Free standing pictures sometimes get knocked over. Even pictures hung on the wall take a knock every now and then - especially if, like us, they're hung on the wall all the way up the stairs.

A frame protects the edge of the picture as well as the front and back. A frame helps your valuable picture stay valuable (whether that's sentimental value or monetary value). 

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(2) Separation of the Art from the World

Picture frames separate the picture contained within from the room outside. A frame acts as a visual barrier so that when you're looking at a picture, you know immediately where the edge is and you aren't distracted by whatever surrounds it. The thicker the frame, the stronger the barrier. A frame helps you focus and concentrate on the picture.

One online article described a frame rather neatly as 'a perimeter that defines where the art ends and the rest of the world begins'. And in this sense, a frame lets you know what the artist wanted you to see - it's a boundary between what's important (the art) and everything else.

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(3) Part Of Something Bigger

Picture frames help your pictures become part of the room where they hang. It's almost the opposite idea of 'separation' above. Pictures have a message of their own but pictures also exist within a larger space - usually a room (if you're thinking big the room might be a whole gallery).

The frame not only separates the picture from the space it's in, it also joins it to that space, so picture frames are an important part of the interior decor of a room.

Historically, according to the Met Museum, frames were determined more by the rooms in which they hung than by the pictures they contained. Art was regularly reframed according to the surroundings where it displayed. Frames were largely influenced by architecture and interior decoration: 'pictures have always been required to live unobtrusively among furnishings of a period not their own, and frames have always been the vehicle enabling them to do so'.

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(4) Frames Are An Extension Of The Art

A picture frame can act as a compliment to the picture inside, so the frame becomes an extension of the artwork.

You can do this with colours; a gold coloured frame might compliment a picture that includes a visually important golden element.

You can also do this with the frame style (whether it is plain or fancy, for example). An artwork in a plain, simple, narrow black frame has a very different feel to the same artwork displayed in an ornate, extravagent, enormous golden frame.

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(5) Frames Are An Expression Of Personal Preference

Picture frames, like all home decor, say something about the person who chose them. Perhaps your personal style is higglegy-piggledy (a bit 'all over the place') or perhaps it's neat and tidy (where everything has to be 'just so'). Whatever, your choice of picture frames, as well as the pictures they display, shows your personal style. Frames, like wall art, make a statement.

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(6) For Gifts, A Frame Is A Finishing Touch

If the picture is a gift, a frame is a lovely finishing touch as it means the recipient only needs to choose somewhere for the picture to hang, they don't need to go out and find a frame as well.

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Can We Do Without Frames?

Yes, we can! And we often do! Most canvas prints aren't framed (but you can get a frame it you want). The same goes for acrylic prints and metal prints. All these forms of wall art are much sturdier than the kinds of artwork traditionally protected by frames. 

Walk round an art gallery and you'll notice that older artworks tend to be framed while newer artworks are often not framed. So 'to frame or not to frame' is a personal choice.

For practical purposes, the very first reason on the list above - the protection of the artwork - is a very good reason to opt for framing, unless your wall art is made of material that can withstand a knock or two.


Framing of Personalised Prints

Personalised prints, like those designed here at elevencorners, are no different to any other wall art when it comes to framing. The subject matter of a personalised print differs from most artwork - it's about who we are, what milestones we've celebrated, what music we love, what places are special to us - but the framing choices remain the same.

Read more about the differences between personalised art and traditional art.

Read more about framing personalised wall art here

 personalised family names crossword


Frames art important, but they aren't all-important. A frame exists to support a piece of art - to protect it, to separate it from and join it to it's surroundings. 

DO you have any other insights about the importance (or not!) of picture frames? Leave us a comment!

4 Responses

Michaela Hemsley
Michaela Hemsley

September 21, 2021

Thanks for detailing why picture frames are important. I like that you said that they can be an extension of the art you’re displaying. I think it would help to get custom frames for some things to make sure it really matched what it was displaying. https://riveroaksframing.com/custom_picture_frames.html

Charlotte Fleet
Charlotte Fleet

August 13, 2021

I love how you said that picture framing can complement the artwork and become an extension of it. My sister recently purchased a beautiful piece of art that she wants to hang on her wall. I will suggest that she have it custom framed beforehand to add to the visual when she hangs it up. http://expressartandframe.com/store-services/

Charlotte Fleet
Charlotte Fleet

May 14, 2021

I appreciate you mentioning that a frame for a pedicure is the perfect finishing touch that allows the recipient to only need to find a place for it on the wall. My sister’s and I had a beautiful family portrait printed out for our mom’s birthday next week. We will have to find a reputable picture frame supplier to purchase one from that will add a great finishing touch to our gift. https://artoriginals.com/mirrors-%26-framing

Taylor Hicken
Taylor Hicken

September 07, 2020

It’s great when you mentioned that picture frames can protect your wall art because we want to preserve our belongings as long as possible just like how we preserve a picture in a frame. I also agree when you said that they become an extension of the artwork as they act as a complement to the picture inside. My mother is in the midst of decorating our house now and I will tell her to get good quality picture frames to protect the wall as well as displaying the photos in a nice way. https://clareframe.com/framing/

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