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Choosing The Perfect Matboard Color For Your Custom Framing Project

UPDATED: November 9th, 2022

Matting is just another way to add your own personal touch to your custom picture frames. At Frame It Easy, we have 67 different matboard colors (yes, 67!) 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 a 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 of the frame designer — adding a matboard to 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

dining room decor

First, you will need to decide if you want to add a matboard to your custom frame or leave it blank. For this step, just remember, 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.

Sunset photos framed

Single or Double Matting

Ornate gold framing

If you do decide to go with matting, Step 3 of our Frame Designer will then ask if you want a single mat or a 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 design 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.

The next step is picking the perfect matboard color for your framing project — so let’s get right into it!

White or Color?

Colored and White Matboards

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

First, it’s a classic! It provides a clean look that matches almost any decor piece and interior design style. 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 may also notice our matting colors are broken out into “White 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 our black core matting — you may be pleasantly surprised by the way it changes the look of your art. The black core is often underutilized, but we think it brings an extra pop to your piece, gives it more depth, and makes a dramatic statement.

picture frame matting

Off-White Matboards

Off-white colors are a great way to bring that classy, contemporary look to your home, without the matboard being too stark in contrast with some of the darker colors in your art. It can also complement more muted colors better than plain white could. So there are lots of uses for it. You might have a problem, though: What matboard color is the best for your project? Which is the most white and which is the least?

Cloud

cloud matboard

If you want a matboard that’s mostly white, but not quite totally, our Cloud matboard color is a good option for you. This matboard is most similar in color to our backing. So if you wanted to float your art in the frame, but weren’t sure what exact color the backing would be, this would be around the color you’d be getting.

Are you looking to mix an ideal matboard color with a gold frame? Cloud might be the color that works for you. It’ll get you that great regal, but contemporary look.

Antique White Matboards

Antique White matboard

This is our median. If you’re looking for something that’s noticeably not white but is also not almost yellow, our Antique White matboard color is the way to go. It has a really soft tone to it, so it would go great with prints that have similar tones. This gives off a warm, welcoming feel to your photos.

What frame should go with it? Well, that’s obviously up to you. But if you wanted some guidance from us, we recommend our Derby or Dayton frame styles. Both of those frame styles also have that warm, hospitable feel to them. So they would be a match made in, well, your home!

Papyrus Matboards

Papyrus matboard

This is our final, least white matboard. Papyrus is named after the Egyptian parchment art from thousands of years ago. When looking at this matboard, you’ll likely see that it’s almost yellow. If you’re looking for something that only has a tinge of white in it, this is the one for you. Maybe you’re looking to frame something that is old, or even just looks old-fashioned. If this is the case, this color is for you. It would likely add to that worn look and make the whole display look great.

What frame color would go well with this, though? We would recommend silver. The contrast would work really well. Satin silver, in particular, would work very well. And that color is available in all five of our metal frame styles.

Metallic Matboards

Classic Gold Matboard

We have three metallic matboards. Silver metallic matboard, Classic Gold and Frosted Gold. Our Classic Gold is more of a deep bronze gold, while our Frosted Gold is more of yellow gold. All three of our metallic matboards will give your photo the extra POP it was looking for! Whether it’s a framed photo of your pet or a simplistic line art photo. Adding a metallic matboard can take a special piece and turn it into the star of the room!

Patterned Matboards

patterned matboard

We offer one patterned matboard, and please don’t let the name scare you! Ready? It’s Belgique Antwerpen. This is a fun way to add a pop to your black-and-white print or just a simple photo.

When you search the word “Buildings” on Unsplash 215.4 thousand options will come up. There are tons to choose from, whether they are aerial views from New York City or the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Buildings are a great option for framing because they are simple, yet can add so much character to your home decor. 

Of course, if you have a busy print that you want to make even more chaotic (in the best way possible), go ahead! There are no real rules to this; as always we’re just giving our recommendations.

Matting It All Out

travel photography

Our matting is the perfect decorative complement to just about any frame. We stock tens of thousands of uncut matboards in a variety of colors and cores, and each mat is alkaline-buffered to be acid-neutral, which slows the aging process of the mat as well as the artwork it comes in contact with. It is made with 4-ply, fine-quality surface paper that is highly fade and bleed-resistant. Please be assured that our metallic and patterned matboards also meet these quality standards.

The best part about custom framing with Frame It Easy, the design is completely up to you. From the size, color, style, and matting, you get to design it how you want. Whatever look you are going for with your frames, simple, modern, fun, or just unique, you can do it all! Adding a matboard to your frame is an added decoration that draws your eye toward your artwork and elevates its appeal. Matting can be white, black, colored, metallic, and even patterned. As you see, even just a small strip of color can make a big difference to the overall look.

If you used either our metallic or patterned matboards, don’t forget to share them with us on social media! We would love to see what you have come up with for your custom frames.

This post first appeared as Choosing The Perfect Matboard Color For Your Custom Framing Project on Frame It Easy - Learning Center for Custom Picture Framing.

Choosing The Perfect Matboard Color For Your Custom Framing Project

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