Modern Picture Frames

Written by Mark Rogers

Today’s modern picture frames tend to be minimalistic, lacking details or flourishes that could detract from the framed painting or photograph. One of the most popular contemporary framing trends draws inspiration from Scandinavian design. Although it has been around for decades, Scandinavian design still embodies the “modern” look. This look combines functionality, simplicity, and minimalism, and it achieves grace and beauty by using high quality materials that require little embellishment.

Modern picture framing concepts now feature a variety of frame materials, including natural woods whose natural grains are unobscured by paint or dark polishes. Frames are carefully cut, mitered, and sanded to perfection, but each is unique due to the natural wood used in its construction. In some cases, “imperfections” in the wood are allowed to remain, adding a note of interest to an otherwise sleek item. Regardless of the type of wood employed, the finish of these clean, simple wooden frames emphasizes the beauty of the grain.

modern picture frames

While beautiful themselves, this style of frame offers an understated look that not only blends in with contemporary décor but may also provide an unexpected ‘pop” in a more traditional setting. The most important concern is, of course, that the frame, while gorgeous, must allow the art to take center stage.

Various Styles of Modern

In terms of design and engineering, the modern aesthetic often requires precise implementation since there is no “fluff” to disguise imperfections. Edges may be slightly rounded or squared. Wood grains may or may not show through. With metal frames, texturing is sometimes desired, although a matte or flat look also works with the modern style. What matters most is impeccable construction, meaning corner angles meet properly and outside edges line up.

Despite the common perception of “modern” as all metal and plastic, wood frames done up in colors and stains also play a large role in the look. Some of the more popular colors used for contemporary themes draw inspiration from hues found in nature; browns and grays regularly prove to be quite popular when it comes to modern picture frames. However, black remains a perennial favorite in modern designs. Any of these hues lend a sophisticated and sleek vibe to any frame, and coordinate well with just about any color scheme both inside the frame and in the room where it hangs.

Modern Picture Frames Frame Destination

Many interior decorators are even going with modern picture frames made with “distressed” wood. Lumber salvaged from old structures or torn down barns often possesses character not found in most woods available today, often because the wood came from original old growth forests hundreds of years ago. While in use in barns or houses over the years, salvaged wood gained even more character. The same is true for salvaged marine wood, where years of ocean use results in unique characteristics.

As for the ever-popular modern metal frame, some designers now favor dark, burnished silvery toned metals over flat or high sheen black. Metal frames are often the most popular choice for photographic images, and dark tones beautifully set off both black and white and color images. Depending upon the framed item and the décor of the room, certain textured metals also work well and have been gaining popularity in recent years. Some popular “distressed” metals include a soft hammering or a “pebbled” look, or even a slight patina on the metal.

In the end, it is all about one’s personal taste. If you are going to create a frame from scratch using old barn wood, you had better be a craftsman of considerable skill and experience. For us mere mortals, Frame Destination carries a wide variety of framing kits and materials enabling framers of all skill levels to create a modern picture frame for paintings and art photography. We carry only the finest, acid-free mount boards and regular mat boards, as well as a wide selection of glazing in both glass and acrylic. Framing kits are also available in wood and metal, and we have resources available that can help you make your framing project a success.

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