An Expert Offers Framing Tips for Your Most Coveted Pieces

Wonder walls.

  • Category
    Homes, People
  • Written and photographed by
    Rose Eichenbaum

Montel McClellan, owner of FastFrame Expert Picture Framing in Sherman Oaks, has been offering framing advice and services for 30 years. “I love being a part of the journey to help people preserve precious photographs, mementos and works of art that bring them happiness and joy,” he says. Drawing from his interior design background and in-depth knowledge of the latest styles and materials available, Montel shares some tips on how best to show and protect your art. 

1  Do Your Research  

Before asking your framer to offer aesthetic options that serve your art and budget, ask yourself a few questions. This way you can arrive at the frame shop with a general sense of what style of frame appeals to you. Traditional? Modern? Do you like floaters, shadow box, metal, gilt, or plexiglass box frames? 

2   Think Long-term

Use only acid-free mats and foam backing to prevent chemical changes that over time can cause yellowing and deterioration. And use UV-protective acrylic glass, which is a good alternative to regular glass because it’s lighter in weight, more durable, less susceptible to scratches, and cuts down glare and reflections.  

Acrylic glass is also a great option for pieces hanging in kitchens and bathrooms, where moisture can damage art, and for children’s rooms because it is much stronger and thus more shatterproof than regular glass.

3 Consider Color

There is a misconception that if you surround your art with a white mat, it will make the colors in the piece pop. But accents of color in mats and frames can awaken and enhance the overall presentation in art. Rich, deeper-colored art pieces can benefit from corresponding hues in matting and framing while a pop of color on an otherwise monochromatic piece can elevate the overall presentation.  

4 Reimagine Older Art 

Updating older framed art can be as simple as changing out the mat with a new color or encasing it in a double mat of different hues. Or choose a new frame. Have a farmhouse-distressed or stripped-down wood frame? Why not try a flashy-colored metal frame or a floater frame that will provide a more contemporary vibe? 

5  Get Tactile 

Visit your neighborhood framing store and get individualized attention from experienced framers who can offer an array of aesthetic and creative options. If you shop online, you have to rely solely on what materials are available, without any guidance. An expert framer can help you navigate choices in colors and textures. This way may require a bit more effort, but odds are you’ll be more pleased in the long run.