Picture Frame Buying Guide

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Picture Frame Buying Guide

Picture frames have a long and storied history, from simple blocks of wood used centuries ago to the more familiar frames used today that were developed during the Renaissance. Few homes are without at least a few pictures artfully displayed on walls with complementing frames. Frames come in a number of sizes and can be used for paintings and art prints as well as for photographs. Picture frames can be readily purchased both in art stores, as well as online via eBay.. However, purchasing a picture frame is about more than simply buying one at random.

Before buying a picture frame, it is helpful to examine the materials that a picture frame is made from, the size of the picture frame, how to find the right picture frame for a specific picture, and what to consider when buying an alternative picture frame. Keeping all of these factors in mind can make it easy for anyone to reduce the time they spend looking for the right picture frame, and spend more time finding the right pictures.

Picture Frame Materials

Picture frames come in a number of different styles, in order to fit the endless style requirements of the modern home. Most of these styles, however, are determined in a large part by the materials that the frames are made from. When buying picture frames, it is helpful to find frames that might complement existing furniture or wall colours. Popular materials include wood, metal, and plastic.

Wooden Picture Frames

Wooden picture frames are quite versatile and can be found in many places. Wood is easy to work with, and most wooden picture frames are made from four different pieces of wood, cut at angles and glued together. This type of construction makes wooden picture frames fairly durable, and easy to repair if they are broken. Wood is also useful in that it is fairly easy to match with existing furniture that is either made from wood or has wooden trim. Wooden frames are also unique in that they are often custom made and can come in unique sizes. This is not to say that wooden frames do not come in standard sizes, but that for mounting a picture and creating a more interesting visual dynamic.

Metal Picture Frames

For the most part, metal picture frames are made from aluminium, which is lightweight and fairly durable metal. In some cases, an aluminium frame may simply have the appearance of burnished metal. This may be more difficult to match to furniture unless metallic accents are already present. Some metal picture frames are painted, which may provides more options.

Plastic Picture Frames

Plastic picture frames are generally quite inexpensive and come in a variety of shapes and colours. For the most part, plastic picture frames are advised if there are a lot of bright colours in a home, or if the frames are meant to fit a certain style. Plastic picture frames are less durable than wood or metal and can be difficult to repair if they are broken or scratched.

Picture Frame Sizes

Pictures come in a number of different sizes. Even photographs can be developed in a number of sizes, and this does not account for custom picture sizes, or pictures that have been cropped or enlarged. In order to find the right frame for a picture, it is helpful to be aware of standard sizes.

Standard Picture Frame Sizes (cm)

24 x 30

30 x 40

40 x 50

50 x 50

50 x 60

50 x 70

60 x 80

It should be noted that standard picture frame sizes are based around standard picture sizes. For those interested in mounting a picture, it may be helpful to look for a picture frame larger than the picture or one that is a custom size.

Mounting a Picture

Mounting a picture is basically the process of placing the picture on another surface within the frame. For the most part, this takes the form of adhering the picture to a mat.. Most art or framing stores offer mounting with a mat as a common and popular alternative to simply using a frame alone. Mounts are helpful in terms of creating a visual distance between picture and frame that can enhance the image and make colour stand out better. Some picture mounts involve multiple mats in different colours that create a layering effect.

Fitting a Picture Frame to a Specific Picture

One of the many challenges that comes from buying a picture frame is finding the right picture frame for a specific picture. This is in addition to the difficulties that come from finding a frame that fits existing decor and deciding between mounting a picture or not. When attempting to match a picture to a frame, it is helpful to match prominent colours in the picture to the frame. There are several ways to do this. One of them is to use a colour wheel, which can help the eyes identify matches. On cases where the picture contains rounded shapes, it may be feasible to use a rounded frame.

Buying an Alternative Picture Frame

While the standard picture frame is extremely popular and suitable for a wide variety of pictures, there are more options available. For many people, a regular picture frame is not enough, and they wish to buy an antique picture frame using older artistic stylings and craftsmanship. Others may find that the bulk of their pictures are now in a digital format, which prompts a search for a digital picture frame.

Antique Picture Frames

Antique picture frames are any picture frames that are at least a century old. These picture frames are different than replica picture frames, which are newer, less expensive, and only mimic older styles. It is important when buying an antique picture frame to verify that it is indeed an antique and not a replica. It should be noted that in many cases, antique picture frames may display cracking and warping caused by changes in humidity and temperature over time.

Digital Picture Frames

Digital picture frames are quite versatile, especially since they can display an entire slideshow of pictures rather than just one. For the most part, digital picture frames are designed to be placed on a table, or other surface rather than hung on a wall. This should be taken into consideration when purchasing a digital picture frame. Along with style considerations, it is important to look at resolution and memory capabilities when buying a digital picture frame in order to be certain that it can display the right amount of pictures in a clear, crisp manner. It is also helpful to evaluate any other features, such as Wi-Fi capabilities, or the ability to play sound and video along with still pictures.

How to Buy a Picture Frame on eBay

An incredibly wide variety of picture frames are available from sellers on eBay.. Many of these picture frames are antiques, or are unique in a number of other ways. Potential buyers can also discover many examples of digital picture frames on eBay as well. Anyone looking for the perfect picture frame for their home or office can find what they are looking for by using the search bar that is accessible from any eBay page. A simple search term, like 'picture frame' should provide a list of many different options. Potential buyers can also modify or adapt the search term to fit their specific needs.

Be Thorough

It is helpful with any eBay purchase to be thorough in researching and understanding a product. A major part of this process is reading the product description that accompanies each item. The product description is particularly helpful when buying an antique picture frame, as it can provide details of an item's history and make note of any warping or cracking, along with other damage or defects. Careful research can make it easier for any buyer to purchase with confidence.


A picture frame can be a wonderful way to display photographs, or other artwork in a home or office environment. Picture frames can not only protect a picture, but they can also provide a useful contrast or complement to an image. When buying a picture frame, it is helpful to be aware of the materials it is made from and how these materials may look in a room. It is also helpful to evaluate these materials for durability and the ways that different materials can be used.

Popular materials for picture frames include wood, metal, and plastic. It is also important when buying a picture frame to evaluate the size of the frame in terms of the picture that may be displayed. In some cases, the picture might fill the whole frame, and in others, the picture can be mounted on a mat in order to provide contrast. Along with matching a frame to the surrounding environment, it is helpful to make certain that the frame complements the picture as well. Keeping all of these factors in mind can make it much easier for anyone looking for a picture frame to make a wise purchase.

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