How Much Matting Is the Right Amount?

large frames
Frames featured: Derby in White with an Art Size of 14″ x 17″ and 5″ of matting in Smooth White (White Core)

You already have the poster, piece of art, or photo that you want to frame, but you also want to add a matboard. You might even have the color picked out already, so that shouldn’t be a big issue for you. But then you hit a bit of a hold up: how much matting should you include in your frame? Is there a technically-sound “proper” amount? What would look good? Will there be an amount that is too much and distracting? Should you do a single or double mat?

There are tons of questions you might have when it comes to matting. Thankfully, we have those answers for you. We will be breaking down the different sized matboards and what might look best with your framed piece.

The Most Common Matting

Frame featured: Derby in Wheat with an Art Size of 22″ x 28″ and 2″ of matting in Smooth White (White Core)

Most customers add around 1 1/2″ to 2″ of matting in their picture frame when they order from our site. This is standard, as it does a good job of decorating the piece, without overly dominating the art and distracting the viewer. It makes what’s being framed the centerpiece while giving a little extra color or space.

This size matting would be great if you have posters, a basic photo or print, or a piece of art that’s within a relatively reasonable size. (Pro tip: Here at Frame It Easy we can provide matting for art up to 28″ X 36″ in “Art Size.”)

The part we love most about custom framing is there are no rules. Whatever you think will look best hanging up on your walls, we can make for you. Generally speaking, however, the larger the piece you are framing, the larger the matting around it should be.

Art SizeTypical UseTypical Matting
Up to
5″ x 7″
Small photos,
Instagram prints
1″- 1 1/2″
Up to
8 1/2″ -x11″
Medium phots,
small prints
1 1/2″ – 2″
Up to
11″ x 14″
Large photos,
small posters & prints
2″ – 2 1/2″
Up to
18″ x 24″
Medium
posters & prints
2″ – 3″
Over
18″ x 24″
Large and very large
posters & prints
2″ – 5″

Once you are finished designing your frame, use the frame preview to make sure your frame looks perfect to you, even if the matting options don’t agree with what is typically used above.

Double Mats

double matted picture frames
Frame featured: Ashford in White with an Art Size of 9 516” x 12 18” and 1″ outer matting in Smooth White (White Core) and 12” inner matting Smooth White (White Core)

Have a photo to frame, but don’t want to add just one matboard? You might even have tons of color in your photo, and want to pack as much as possible of it into your frame, or maybe it’s a simple piece that you want to add a bit more flair to. Either way, double mats would be the way to go.

Double mats aren’t just one item with the illusion of layering ‚ they are two different matboards stacked on top of one another, cut to the exact dimensions you want to showcase your piece.

With that being said, most customers get less inner mat showing than outer. The outer mat (again, typically around 1 1/2″ to 2″) is often the most pronounced. The inner, though, is often ordered with around 1/4″ of it being visible. We get a lot of orders of 3/8″ visible for inner matting, too, but those are less common.

There are occasions where the inner mat is the more visible one. While this is uncommon, it has worked for people looking for a more unorthodox aesthetic in their frames. Plus, it’s called custom framing for a reason — you’re free to do whatever you want with the frame you design. When it comes to custom framing, there are no real rules!

Small Photo, Large Mat

small photos with large matting
Frames featured: Ashford in Gloss Gold with an Art Size of 1 12” x 3″ and outer matting dimensions 8″ x 10″ in Smooth White (White Core)

Adding a lot of matting often makes for a more contemporary design. These days, some people like to make their matboard larger than the art itself, making the entire frame a striking display piece.

The only thing to note here is that our matboards come in 32″ X 40″ pieces, so at a certain point too much matting might exceed our limits. (We cut the opening of our matboards around the “Art Size” that you enter, and then expand the frame to accommodate the extra space needed for the mat — so if the matboard size that you want to get would expand the frame past 32″ X 40″, we unfortunately, wouldn’t be able to cut it. Sticking to this method for smaller art and something that’s under 10″ on both the width and height will probably be your best bet!)

For more ideas, check out our post on framing small pieces of art with larger matting.

Matting Your Way To Success

gallery wall with large matting
Frames Featured: Ashford in Satin Gold with an Art Size of 5″ x 5″ and 3 34” of matting in Smooth White (White Core)

The best part about custom framing is that you can make your wall art completely yours. With our site, you design your frame from start to finish, the exact way you want it to look in your home.

So lets recap:

  • If you want something that shows off the whole frame and not just the art, get a matboard that has margins much larger than the piece itself. This looks great if you plan on making a gallery wall with them.
  • Most people get 1 1/2″- 2″ of matting in their frame. If you want to go with the crowd, that would likely be your best bet!
  • Double mats can add an extra bit of color and layering to your display. And there’s no right or wrong way to incorporate it into your frame! Most people get much less inner mat exposed than outer. But this doesn’t mean you have to do that.

We understand that matting can be a difficult subject and you want to get it right. That’s why were here to help. If you have any more questions feel free to reach out to our support team and we’ll be more than happy to walk you through the steps!

Inspiration

Below are more examples to help you with ideas for framing and matting your own pieces. Picture framing is a learn-as-you-go art in itself, and as we mentioned, there are no rules. Do whatever you think will make the perfect display in your home!

large frames
Frames featured: Derby in Wheat with an Art Size of 18 58” x 27 1516” and 1 12” matting in Smooth White (White Core)
colorful outer matting
Frame featured: Granby in Silver frame with an Art Size of 8 38” x 10 716” and 1 12” outer matting in Grape (White Core) and 14” inner matting in Smooth White (White Core)
large matting with small art size
Frame featured: Derby in Wheat frame with an Art Size of 7″ x 5″ and 6″ matting in Smooth White (White Core)
gallery wall
Frames featured: Ashford in Satin black frame with an Art Size of 5 12” x 5″ and 2 12” matting in Smooth White (White Core)
frame with colored matting
Frame featured: Hanover in Blue frame with Art Size of 7 38” x 9 716” and 1″ outer matting in Cloud (White Core) and 14” inner matting in Bottle Blue (White Core)
small frames
Frames featured: Derby in Rustic Oak frame with an Art Size of 5″ x 7 12” and 1 12” matting in Smooth White (White Core)
gallery wall with large matting
Frames featured: Derby in White frame with an Art Size of 8″ x 8″ and 6″ Smooth White (White Core) matting
frame with colored inner matting
Frame featured: Ashford in White frame with an Art Size of 10 12” x 13 12” and 1 12” outer matting in Smooth White (White Core) and 14” inner matting in Buttercup (White Core)

Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for more daily inspiration!

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