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Ask Casa: Framing Fine Photography

Hi Casa,

I am adding, for the first time ever, fine photography to my apartment. However I am at a loss when it comes to framing styles and arrangement.

One set of four photographs is horizontally-oriented and black-and-white. I'd like this set in my bedroom but don't know how to arrange them so they look more interesting seeing that they're all horizontal. Tips? Regarding framing them, I'd like to know which types of frames (color, matting, etc.) you recommend for my room seeing that the walls are white but most of the accessory pieces in my room are either antique brown wood or a few wood pieces I've painted bright coral and Yves Klein blue. Are white frames my best bet? Can you frame b&w photographs in brown wood?

The other set of photographs are two color photographs, also horizontally-oriented, that will be nearly facing each other on opposite walls. Tips on framing, matting, and color? They need not match, do they?

I appreciate any tips you might be able to offer me!


To see my suggestions for Daniela,


Hi Daniela,

How exciting! First of all, I wouldn't worry too much about making them "look more interesting" — adding fine art to your home will instantly give it a face-lift regardless of how it's arranged! But, I'll give you a few tips.

As for color, I do think white frames are your best bet. They won't compete with the artwork, and they go with everything. But, you can also go with silver or stainless steel for a more contemporary look. And yes, you can definitely frame black and white photography in brown wood. Another option is to use frameless glass clip frames, which have a more contemporary, minimal look.

I'd say for the set of four photographs, keep the frames cohesive. If you want to choose two different mat colors for the set, you can do that to give it a little edge. But don't get too crazy, maybe go with a gray mat.

For the set of two color photographs, go with a white or off-white mat. For the frames themselves, you can do two different colors or finishes if you like seeing as they'll be on different walls. Select colors that will make the images pop. But make sure the two colors don't clash.

As for arrangements, one option is to use picture ledges. This style allows you to easily move around your photography when it's feeling stale. You can also add a smaller piece of artwork, or even a knickknack, to play with scale. A layering effect (setting one frame slightly in front of the other) is nice, too.

You can't go wrong with a box-shaped arrangement. Just make sure you keep them evenly spaced.

You can also hang two rows of frames a bit off-kilter from one another. It should be enough that the arrangement doesn't look like a mistake, but not too much that the bottom frame is hung between the top two. If you choose an off-kilter arrangement, make sure the distance between the top two frames and between the bottom two frames is the same.

Or, if you happen to have a really long wall, you can hang the four of them side by side. This will give you more of an art gallery effect.

Hope that helps!
Cheers, Casa

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