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How to choose the best frames for your wall color

by Framebridge Editorial
October 08, 2023
min read

Making your space feel like home takes time. Two of the most important steps? Painting the walls and hanging art. Customers often ask us what frame will look best on their particular wall color, so we’re sharing 5 of our favorite expert tips. While we can’t help you paint, we can help make your framing process easy and even fun! 

A pair of antiqued gold Richmond frames on a blue wall, via Rehabitat Interiors @em_rehabitat;
the natural wood Marin on deep green, via Sarah Sherman Samuel @sarahshermansamuel.
1. Match your paint undertone to your frame 

Almost all paint colors are created by mixing two or more colors together, which means that every shade out there has a mass tone (the color you register the paint, like beige, taupe, or blue) and an undertone. Identifying your undertones will help you choose frames that complement your color palette. For example, if your walls are an off-white or cream, use a paint swatch or color wheel to compare it to red, yellow, and blue-based creams. Your closest match will indicate your undertones. Many colors that are often considered cool (like gray and white) actually have warm bases. Testing it against a known swatch is the easiest way to determine what undertones you’re working with.  

That makes it easy to choose your frame colors. With metallics, we typically pair cool undertones with silver frames and warm undertones with gold frames. For example, a cool pale blue will look lovely with silver frames in a range of tones, from antiqued champagne to sleek true silver. Gold frames, meanwhile, look beautiful in any room with a warm undertone.

The Black Walnut frames on a dark wall, via Sharon Radisch @sharonradisch and Domino Magazine @dominomag
Irvine Slim in white on white walls, via @undecorated_home
2. Try a tone-on-tone look

Here at Framebridge, we love a little bit of tone-on-tone matching, which means choosing a frame color that matches, or is similar to, your wall tone. You can beautifully achieve this with shades of blue, deep greens, and even pinks. A sleek white frame and white mat on a bright white wall is always a good idea–it makes the art the focus, while the frame adds sophisticated dimension and subtle texture. A similar effect can be achieved with black frames on dark walls. For these looks, you can opt for a white mat, dark mat, or one of our favorite modern looks: no mat at all. Some designers might tell you to stay away from black frames on navy walls, but we respectfully disagree. A black and navy pairing can look super chic, and gives your walls just the right amount of edge and definition.

We have lots of black and white frames options, but our most popular are Irvine Slim and Mercer Slim.

The white Irvine Slim with white mat on a white wall.
3. Choose the best white frame

When selecting a white frame for a white wall, you also want to match the undertones. if you have an off-white or cream wall, for instance, a bright white frame will likely look too stark against it. Stay away from super sleek white poster frames, and opt instead for a slightly distressed white frame like our Montauk or Monterey frames. Similarly, an off-white frame is not the best choice for a true-white wall. 

Also, be sure that your mat color works with both the frame and your walls. For example, if you choose a bright white frame (hello, Irvine, Irvine Slim, and Palermo) to complement a true white wall, you’ll also want to choose a white mat. When you select “white mat” for your order, our expert designers will actually handpick the perfect shade of white to complement your art and the frame. Same goes for off-white mats.

Via Zoe Feldman @zoefeldmandesign and Stacy Goldberg @stacyzaringoldberg, featuring the Agra, a mustard-colored frame from The Travel Collection.
4. Look beyond the walls

While wall color is definitely important, don’t underestimate how the colors and tones of other design elements may impact your frame choice. Think about your crown and base moldings, any tile in the room, the tone of wood floors and cabinets, and the colors of your countertops and even furniture. These can all draw out the undertones of your wall color, especially ones that are not immediately apparent.

Colorful frames from The Travel Collection and art by Sam Sidney @samsidney via Brian Patrick Flynn @bpatrickflynn.

Whether you want to complement the vibrant shades of your wallpaper or the gleaming white backdrop of your white walls, colorful frames will make your images pop. Whatever your style, you'll find an array of beautiful colorful frames (some bright, some subdued) in our Travel Collection. These styles are inspired by the most Framebridged places in the world—perfect for vibrant photography and anything you want to accent.

The Richmond frame on wallpaper with art by @kaylaploszantiel, via @elisejoy.
5. Don’t worry about a perfect match

You could spend ages looking for the perfect art to perfectly match your walls, but we suggest simply choosing art that you truly love. Even if that art doesn’t “match” the rest of your interior, frames can bridge the gap between art and wall. A frame with the right color undertones can tie together the art, the wall color, and even the whole room. It’s actually pretty magical.

Shop The Story

art print of women by a pool in vintage bathing suits framed in Richmond gold frame with a white mat


Antiqued gold frame

photo of the dome of a building framed in mustard yellow glazed Agra frame with no mat


Mustard glazed frame

Black and white sketch of an airplane framed in Black Walnut Gallery frame with a white mat

Black Walnut (Gallery)

Solid Walnut gallery frame with black finish