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Upscale Your Existing Art to Create a New Space
Fourteenth Musing

by Ms. Terious

You love your living room, dining room, or bedroom, but you’d like to make some changes that won’t cost you a fortune. There are various approaches to this, some as simple as changing the color of your walls, moving your furniture, or buying a new accessory.

What about changing your art? That doesn’t mean you need to go out and replace the art that you have.  What if you gave your art a new look with new matting and framing to bring a fresh look to an existing space?

The possibilities to update your existing art are endless with hundreds of mat colors and framing styles, not to mention a plethora of combination ideas.

Let’s start with a beautiful watercolor on paper by artist Rosanne Wolfe and make a few framing and matting decisions to create a work that can fit in with any room, décor, or wall color.

The unframed piece is beautiful and delicate in its theme of a quiet tea time. It is already a beautiful work of art that is ready for embellishments that suit you, the owner.

The first reframing would be lovely in a formal dining area. The piece is double matted with an inside mat of crescent blaze to catch the color of the orange and reference the tea poured in the cup. The outer matting is in a suede blue cobalt for a touch of texture and a reference to the blues. This is built upon an embellished wooden frame in Prague silver.

Using the same matting but creating a slightly different look, the silver frame is switched out for a wooden frame in a chestnut hue to create a totally different feel, that emphasizes a traditional look.

Another idea is a triple frame done with no matting. This would be beautiful in a kitchen or country style dining room. The inner frame has a grey hue that coincides with the off-white lace doily. The middle frame is a distressed wood in white which adds a bit of texture, followed by an outer frame in a soft blue to complement the blues in the painting.

Framing comes in many widths and styles from a simple flat, to a cube or scoop and many shapes in between. Even a simple change such as changing the dimension of a frame can have unique results.

If you prefer a simpler look, this version has been done with an inner fillet in a dark silver to add a touch of shine, matted with an antique slate mat and framed by a simple flat frame in a deep shade of sea blue.

Are you ready for a ‘cuppa’ and relax while viewing this beautiful painting in your home?

Stuart Leask has painted a beautiful bridge scene in acrylics and it is ready for some framing fun.

In framing an acrylic or oil it is important to remember that matting is not an option, unless the painting is done on paper or unstretched canvas. But even without matting there are many ways of creating various looks.

The first frame appears to be a series of frames, but it is one frame that is a scoop style in various layers for dimension in a black and silver. The black refers back to the subtle shading in the tree trunk while the silver accentuates the bridge.

Another idea is using a triple stacked black and gold framing combination, it gives the painting dimension by using the gold as accents sandwiching a larger black frame. This look is often times  used for plein aire paintings. This framing is more subtle than a solid gold with its thin inner band of gold and then a larger outer band of gold framing the black mid-section. This combination makes it richer.

Perhaps a brown wood is a better fit in your surroundings. In this case try a filet in a subtle red/orange to highlight the barn and colored leaves and add a frame in a beautiful tortoise pattern with a rounded look.

For a different look in brown and gold this idea uses a fillet done in gold which surrounds the painting and then a beveled frame in variegated dark cherry to accentuate the tree and barn roof.

The choices are endless in creating a framing that can range from simple to opulent. Again, the decision has to do with your personal preferences.

Photography? Why yes, a beautiful photograph is certainly worthy of beautiful framing and remember, a photo can be printed on canvas, matte, or gloss paper to achieve various subtleties.

In Stuart Leask’s lovely bridge photo that is a potential duo with his above-mentioned bridge painting, there are two suggestions for framing ideas.

The first is a triple matting with a beveled edge on all the mats. In creating a beveled edge, the inner core is white unless you specify that a color core better suits your taste. Also, remember that a mat can be almost any width that works well with the painting or photo itself.

 In the triple mat, a forest green is used as the bottom matting, followed by a tandoori shade to bring out the barn, followed by another shade of green in a textured suede mat. Using two shades of green creates the subtle differences in the leaves and grass and the suede matting speaks to the texture of the leaves. The frame is in umber shades which are related to the bark of the tree.

Perhaps a more simple contrast has appeal and speaks to your designing creativity. This framing is done with an inner black fillet followed by a wide matting in peat moss, which brings out the tree bark. It is framed in a simple black wood. Yes, this would certainly pop on any wall!

These are only a few examples of the thousands of various combinations that are available to refurbish any piece of art you may have. Let the staff at The Smith Gallery design a framed piece just for you, always mindful of where the painting will live.

The Smith Gallery & Fine Custom Framing has the area’s largest selection of mats and frames to complement any work of art!

Stop in, bring a piece of art that is ready for reframing, and have a lovely creative experience with the experts at the gallery and immerse yourself in viewing the many beautifully finished artworks available there to garner even more ideas.

Please visit the The Smith Gallery to view more art by these artists and many other talented artists and view our ArtTalks videos for conversations with artists.


The Tenth Muse was created to give inspiration, information and confidence to the reader.

This publication celebrates The Tenth Muse that is alive in all of us! She gives us the confidence to embrace going beyond the nine original muses.

Ms. Terious explores many subjects related to art and framing that can be used in the real world as you explore your own personal tastes and experiences without boundaries.

See all Tenth Muse articles