Should Picture Frames All Be The Same Color?

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Your choice of pictures when decorating your home can make or break the design and can put the finishing touches on a room. But do all the picture frames need to be the same color to look right? For your convenience, we brought you the answer.

While many people choose to do so, you don’t have to match all of your picture frames. Many designers say you should select the proper frame for the picture, whether it matches the rest of your frames or not. In fact, some people go out of their way to mix up their frames because of the variety it adds to the room. The design of the room and your personal tastes will dictate whether you choose to match all of your frames or not.

If you still have some additional questions about coordinating picture frames, don’t worry. In this guide, we’ll discuss the topic in greater detail. We’ll talk about the best picture frame option for black and white photos, whether or not you should hang two identical pictures on the same wall, and much more. Just keep reading!

futon sofa with pillows against a gray wall with assorted picture frames, indigenous basket hanging on the wall. Should Picture Frames All Be The Same Color

To Match Or Not Match Picture Frames

You’ve got most of your room set just the way you want it, and you’ve even selected the pictures you’re going to display, but you just aren’t sure about the frames yet. Should they all match, or should the frame go with the picture? 

Some people insist that all picture frames should match, especially within the same room. Others like variety and insist that each frame should stand on its own. There are a variety of opinions on this, and all are certainly valid. But here we’ll discuss some different approaches to steer you in the right direction.

Matching All Frames

Some people choose to match all the frames to unify the room, making it all fit well together. 

Collection of art pieces on the wall with matching frames

While all of the images framed have a similar theme, if you select frames based on the images within you may get quite varying frame colors. One frame may be vivid green while others would be a warm gold. Some of the frame colors could clash.

Instead, they have made this all seem as though it is almost one unified art piece by framing each image with the same frame color.

The same can be true for your room. You can pull all of your images together a bit by using the same color across all of your pictures. This even goes for pictures that aren’t all presented in a single display, like in this example. By matching the frames you get a sense of unity and comfort.

The frames don’t have to match exactly for this to work, they can just be in the same range. If all of your frames are varying shades of the same color, for example, you would still pull things together because of the similarity of frame color. This is true even if the frames are of different designs or sizes.

assorted sizes of empty wood frames on a wall

Unmatching Frames

Some people prefer a little variety in their space. Maybe the room has too much of a unified feel and you need to shake things up just a bit. Your picture frames can do that for you, and they can still look good while doing it.

Many designers say the frame should match the image first and foremost, all else is secondary. 

Each picture has a frame that works very well for it. There is variety, yet everything works well together because each of the frames not only fits with the image it contains but also works well with the room.

There are times when you want a little variety, but you don’t necessarily want to pull from the image for your inspiration but rather you just want a set of frames that work well together. You can do this by sticking with more neutral designs.

Each of the frames shown is very neutral. By sticking with natural wood, white, and black everything fits well, but some variety is retained.

It’s important to note that frames made of the exact same materials as those shown may not work as well together if some of them had ornate designs or carvings that clashed.

With all this said, if your home needs a bit of whimsy, grab that eclectic mish-mash of frames and go for it. Get out those safety orange metal frames, toss in a few homemade seashell frames, and finish it all off with that gold thing your aunt pulled from her attic. This is the perfect time and place to give it all a try. It’s a simple way to add a bit of fun, and you can easily change them out later.

How Do You Choose A Frame Color For A Picture?

There are a couple of different ideas when it comes to choosing a frame color for your picture. The important thing is to think it through and make your choice with purpose.

Match Existing Frames

Many people aim for a unified look with their frames. They choose a frame that is an exact match to the rest of the frames in the room. This can pull varying pictures together and unify them all.

Other people opt for frames in a range. They may choose wood frames that are all stained in dark but varying shades. You still unify things by doing this, but it can offer a slightly more relaxed feel.

Match Picture Within

One line of thought on frame color is that it should match the picture within. According to this thought process, they shouldn’t necessarily an exact match, just a shade in the range of one of the dominant colors of the image. This creates a unified look to the picture and frame, making them one piece of artwork.

This can also set the tone for a picture. Whatever color chosen for the frame is amplified within the picture. Sometimes a black frame can accentuate the stark black within an image, or a yellow or gold frame can make the yellow flowers or sunset pop out more.

image of beautiful misty forest in wooden painting frame over white background

In this example, you can see that the gold frame really plays up the golden hues within the picture itself.

Mismatch Frames

Sometimes you want a picture to stand on its own. One way to do that is to intentionally give one picture a frame that is drastically different from the rest of the frames in the room. Make one frame black if the rest are white and the black frame will draw the eye more and pull attention into the picture.

Contrast Picture Within

By contrasting the picture within you can make things very dramatic. Instead of trying to unify things like you would if you matched a color, you are intentionally making things look different. This can make the picture more noticeable. Consider a black and white picture in a metallic gold frame, for example.

What Is The Best Color Frame For Black And White Photos?

When it comes to black and white pictures, almost any color of frame will work, but there are a few standards that work particularly well.

Light Wood

These work well, especially if you have wood features in the room already. They keep everything light and natural.

Click here to view this frame on Amazon.

Black

You can’t go wrong with black. Most black and white photos have a variety of shades, so black works well. A black frame can really make the black within the picture pop, and it goes with almost any room.

Click here to see this frame on Amazon.

White

White lacks the drama of a black frame, but it blends well to almost anything and gets out of the way, letting the picture speak for itself.

Click here to see this frame on Amazon.

The colors above just work, and that’s why they’ve been used for so long. They aren’t the most flashy, but they are classics that work with almost any picture. Runners up to the colors above are darker woods and silver or gold metallics.

Can You Hang Two Identical Pictures On The Same Wall?

If you have two identical pictures you may be wondering if you can hang them on the same wall. You can, and it creates a symmetrical look. Matching up your pictures this way can make everything feel harmonious and balanced. One idea is to place one on each side of a fireplace, for example, to keep the room perfectly in balance. While this is not something everyone will love, in some cases it works very well.

Do Gallery Wall Frames Have To Match?

Frames on your gallery wall do not have to match. In fact, trying too hard to match may make any slight, unavoidable mismatches stand out. Variation can be great on a gallery wall. Some people will choose to stick with matching, but you shouldn’t feel locked into it.

If you want the sense of matching but don’t want as much constraint, try picking a theme, such as all woods, all metallics, etc. As long as there is an obvious method to the madness, it will create some of that unity you seek.

A lot of designers say you can throw every rule out on a design wall. Throw bright colors with dark, small frames with large, color prints with black and white. Everything is open, so you can have a little bit of fun.

In Closing

While there are times when having the same color picture frames can unify a room and make it more pleasant, there are no hard rules. We’ve given some examples of how mismatching frames can work well for you and may even improve the room. It’s an easy way to vary your decor, so be willing to try things out and see how you like them for your home.

Be sure to check out these other guides that might be of interest:

How To Hang Heavy Frames Without Nails [3 Easy Ways]

How to Hang Art on Staircase Wall [Inc. Picture Arrangement Tips]

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