Choosing Colored Picture Frame Mats

gallery wall with dark matting

Matting is just another way to add your own personal touch to your custom picture frames. At Frame It Easy, we have over 75 different matboard colors (yes, 75+! ) to choose from. When designing your frame you will have countless ways to add colorful matting to get just the look you’re going for. And with our interactive frame designer, you get to experiment with them all before you buy! 

Adding a matboard to your piece gives it a decorative touch, accentuates your artwork, and gives your frame a finished and sleek look. With all the choices you have, we understand it can be hard deciding which color mat board, if any, to add. Does your artwork even need matting? Should you keep it simple and just add white? Or perhaps add a bold color to complement your piece? Do you go with a single matboard or double? And what exactly is a core??? 

To ensure you design your perfect frame, we’re here to answer those questions and more. We’re also sharing some of our favorite colored matboards and how to design with them. In our four-step process of designing a frame, we will be giving you tips on how to best use Step 3 to mat your artwork. The best part of custom framing is you get to decide from start to finish! The choices are completely up to you. So let’s get started!

To Mat or Not to Mat

frames with and without matting

When deciding whether to add a mat or not to your artwork, size does matter! Sure, you’re still in charge of the decision-making, but as a rule, a very small piece benefits visually with matting while larger pieces often are their own “border” and don’t necessarily need one. The amount of space you are working with to display your framed piece can also help you decide on whether a matboard will enhance it or make it too cumbersome. For more help on matboard sizing, check out our post on how much matting is the right amount or how to order a separate matboard if you’re going for a very specific look.

Single Matting or Double Matting

double matting

If you have decided to go with matting, Step 3 of our frame designer will then ask if you want a single mat or double mat. It informs you that matting will cover your artwork by ¼” around (not into) it.

A single mat draws the eye towards the framed piece and gives it a finished look. A double mat is used to add depth, or as an accent color for a greater effect. 

This is where you can put your designing skills to work! Not only can you play around with core and color choices (which we’ll get to in a moment), but you can change the measurements on the matting in 1/16” increments. As with every step of Frame It Easy’s design process, you not only instantly see the results of your input, but the cost of your choice as well.

White or Color

colored matting

You may be thinking, “with all these color choices why would I choose white?” Well, white matting has several benefits.

First, it’s a classic! It provides a clean look that matches almost any decor. And, most importantly, it lets the artwork speak for itself! This is especially true with colorful pieces. The eye is not distracted by competing mat colors.

Other pieces are more visually appealing with colorful matting. Use the dominant color of the piece for an outside mat which will draw the eye to the artwork. If you are using a double mat, choose an accent color in the piece as opposed to the dominant color for a stunning display. 

Choosing your Core Color

Red metal picture frame
This frame features Smooth Black (Black Core) Outer Matting and Frosted Gold (Cream Core) Inner Matting

You might notice our matting colors are broken out into “White Core” or “Cream Core” or “Black Core.” The core color is simply the color of the beveled edge of your matting. When you choose a color from one of these categories on our site, this will be the color that borders your art (or a secondary mat). It’s a small part of the matting, but it can have a big effect on the look of your art. White core matting is our most popular, but don’t be afraid to try the other options we offer — you may be pleasantly surprised by the way it changes the look of your art.

picture frame matting

For example, our Black Core comes in either Polar White or Smooth Black matting.  When you’re designing your frame, try experimenting with this core. This combination is often underutilized, but we think it brings an extra pop to your piece, gives it more depth, and makes a dramatic statement.

Final Thoughts

We’re not all mathematicians (and that’s part of the beauty of Frame It Easy; we do the math for you) but with our 75+ matboard colors, there are hundreds of different variations you can choose when designing your custom frame. First, decide whether your piece should have a mat or not. Of course, you may opt not to add a mat at all. Let the size of your art and display space be a guide in your decision. If you choose to add a mat, begin by experimenting with the core colors we offer. It’s a small part of the mat but can have a big impact on your piece. Next, decide on white or color matting. It really is personal preference, but for a clean look white is always a classic choice while using color in matting can let your personality shine through (along with the colors in your piece!) Finally, try either single or double mats with your artwork to get the look you want.

And that’s the best part of custom framing, it’s completely up to you! Frame It Easy’s four-step process lets you try all the options on for size before you buy, so that you can be sure you have designed the perfect frame for you!

Need some more inspiration? Check out our post on the different matboard styles for all your framing projects!

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