Painting, Selling Art

Sell More Paintings: How Frames and Mats Can Help

May 30, 2014
framed paintings

By Alina Bradford

Painting by Natalija Rantasa

Many artists are confused on how to mat and frame their art to get the best look and the quickest sell. The right frame and mat can be the difference between a sell and painting gathering dust. Here are some Q&A suggestions from experts on how to choose the right frame and mat to boost artwork sells.

Q: What are the safest colors and styles for an artist to choose when trying to sell their artwork?

A: Alex Farkas, co-founder of’s says to keep it simple. “Neutral mats in cream, white, or off-white with simple, elegant frames, such as brushed metal in black, grey or gold, are best. You want the framing to appeal to as many potential patrons as possible.

Q: How do artists keep costs down without making their work look cheap?

A: “Above all,” says Farkas, “avoid cheap looking and poor quality standard frames.  They cost more than they should, take away from your art, and will probably be promptly thrown away by anyone who purchases your work.  If you cannot afford quality framing, you are better off selling your artwork unframed.

“For pieces on stretched canvas, it is completely acceptable to hang them as is. You can paint the sides for a more finished look. For works on paper, an alternative method that we ( and other galleries use for exhibitions are silver metal binder clips. You can safely attach them to the top corners of the piece and hang the clips from nails. They are available at any office supply store.”

Q: Is there any general rule of thumb that can used when framing most paintings?

A:  “Black on color or black and white work, silver on black and white, gold on color work,” says independent interior designer and artist framing coach Melissa Galt.  “Keep style simple but well proportioned, nothing skimpy or it looks cheap. I like a minimum frame of usually 2.5-4” with mats of 3” minimum and weighted bottoms for that extra tough. Framing is the stage that the art stands upon, when you don’t create a great stage, the artwork loses importance, impact and salability.”

Q: Is there a general rule of thumb to follow with mats?

A: “Adding color can be limiting so use it sparingly, as in maximum of ¼ inch and often 1/8 or less of second mat,” says Galt. “It is incredibly elegant and classy to use double cream or white mats, or go to a 4ply or 8ply. Another way to limit to one mat (though not my favorite) is to use color core accent mats.”

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