For most people, getting the basics of a room is not so difficult: You can find a couch or bed or dining suite you like, and there's plenty of free decorating help for the details. But when it comes to stuff to hang on the walls, some people simply panic.
And for good reason--there are rules, fairly mysterious rules, covering the best way to frame and hang pictures, photos or prints.
Here are some tips from Deck the Walls, the Houston-based custom-framing company with stores around the country:
It's best if art complements your decor, but it is usually more interesting when it stands out a bit. Framed art needn't match all the wood tones, colors or styles in a room, and it needn't match the period of the furniture. Abstract art can be sensational in a traditional room. The main principle is that the art must be the focal point, not the frame.
If the work is to be matted, start by identifying the focal point in a picture. To make the mat and the picture harmonize, use a similar color for the mat. If you want to emphasize the focal point, make the mat color closer to the background colors. Avoid mat colors that are lighter or darker than the lightest or darkest color in the art.
You can use a series of mats, or fillets (a decorative piece such as an inked line or frilled edge) to dress up the framed picture and pick up colors.
If you're using textured elements in the matting, make sure they don't compete with or overwhelm the art.
Match the frame color to the artwork and to the mat. Art with strikingly different colors can be framed with a dramatically different color from the mat. Or, if the art is more muted, the frame color should also blend to avoid distracting from the art.
The frame should also harmonize with the style of the art. A plain black modern frame might detract from a rococo print, while a rococo gilt frame on a stark modern work could be jarring.
Large artworks generally don't need large mats, but smaller pieces are sometimes greatly enhanced by broad matting.