What is the point of matting photos or art?

At Frame USA we offer a wide variety of frame mats that run anywhere from standard mat sizes to to custom frame mats.  A mat is a flat and usually thin piece of material included or sold separately from a picture frame. Mats usually serve one of two purposes; additional decoration to make your art pop or they’re used to separate the artwork from the glass frame. The art of putting mats in a frame is called matting and is an often overlooked aspect that can dramatically improve and protect your artwork.

Matts and Frames
Matted and Framed Artwork

In terms of helping your art pop, matting can be a crucial element. Matting your artwork intensifies the art by adding size, color and depth to what’s being portrayed. The point of the mat is not to distract from your art but to direct the person viewing said art to the main focal point of what they are looking at. Some tips when choosing a mat to enhance your art:

  • When choosing a mat for your artwork, the mat should be lighter than the art or picture but darker than the wall it’s placed on. Great choices for mats most times are simple colors such as gray, white and cream.
  • Using two or three mats will give your artwork a three dimensional look
  • The purpose of matting is to protect artwork & add appeal. To achieve this, the mat border should be 2x the width of the frame.

When it comes to protecting artwork, mats are very important. Mats help keep your artwork safe by separating the glass from the art or whatever it is being framed. Having a mat in between your artwork and framing glass is important because any condensation that might develop on the inside of the glass can be transferred to your art causing water damage, mold or mildew.

If you’re framing pictures then separating your picture from the glass is vital because the surface of photographs are particularly easy to damage. Not only photos, but certain art that can smear or be damaged by touch, or anything of value being hung should also be matted so that the glass and the art don’t come into direct contact.

Matted and Framed Artwork
Matted and Framed Artwork

Head over to our Mat Designer site and make your photos look impeccable immediately.

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At Frame USA, we champion our craft. We make all of our art, frames, and more inside our warehouse. All wood frames produced from Frame USA are 100% made in America! We take great pride with that because not only are we able to produce everything in house, we are still able to offer highly competitive prices.

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  1. I have always wondered what the point of matting artwork was. I don’t understand why you had to have that border around the edges. I never thought about it helping the viewer focus on the artwork. I guess it does help direct your eyes to look into the frame. That is great that it can help enhance the look of your art piece as well. I will have to try and start matting my pieces from now on.

  2. I think a well chosen mat would accentuate the atmosphere of the photograph. I.e. a color that is dominant in the color range of the photograph could emphasize ambiance, or a somewhat contrasting color could set a harsh tone if that is desirable for the particular photograph.

    Yeah, you could go without matting and for some photographs that might make sense. I think its about the choice that photographers have in relation to the desired effect the photograph is intended to create.