Choosing a Frame Style For Your Artwork

Frame art and photos online in a way that best suits your art (and you)

With so many options available, choosing the right custom frame and mat combo for your artwork or photo can be confusing.

The good news is that with online framing, it's easy to come up with the right style to match whatever you are framing as well as your home decor

We've outlined some of the differences between several options, including tips and recommendations to help you end up with a final result you will love.

Full-Bleed, or Straight Fit

Full-bleed printing is when the image covers the paper from edge to edge without any borders or margins.

Full-bleed framing, or a "straight fit", is when you frame around the full paper dimensions without any matting. Only a thin margin of the print is overlapped by the lip of the frame on each side.

Custom Framed Artwork - Level Frames

The Grand Tour from Invisible Creature and Nikola Tesla from 2046 Design

When your poster or print is a full-bleed, the frame can act as the border around the art.

Movie posters and any prints with a lot of negative (or white) space around the main image look great in this full-bleed frame treatment.

This can also work well for large and especially oversize pieces, for which a mat may not be necessary or recommended.


A mat is a classic way to enhance the artwork within the frame.

Level is committed to using conservation-grade mat boards that will look great and safely preserve your art for the long haul.

It's essential that the mat you choose is archival, as cheaper mats that are not acid-free can yellow paper-based artwork in even a short period of time.

Custom Framed Photos - Level Frames

Our Simply Gifted framed photos come with 1.5" of matting around a 7.5" x 10" print

When should you opt to add a mat?

It's a great call with anything small or when framing items such as memorabilia, personal photos and various artistic prints.

Matting adds more impact, allure and focus to your artwork or photo, creating extra space around it to give the eye breathing room and naturally draw it towards the center.

Dandelion Wine by Dan McCarthy, with 2.5" of matting per our 'Golden Ratio'

If you have decided to add a mat, how do you determine the right mat width for your art? We have the perfect solution!

When you customize a frame for your print, we present a 'Golden Ratio' button that optimizes the mat width for you in a single click based on the the full dimensions of the art being framed.

This will lock in a nice balance between the width of the frame, the size of the mat and your artwork. Of course, it's only a recommendation; you can deviate from our golden ratio to choose a profile and mat width that works best for you and your space.

Sizing a mat to expose the signature of Elliot McDowell at the bottom of "Ancient Mariner"

A final note on matting: If you have a specific size you'd like for the mat window opening, just let us know and we'd be happy to accommodate.

Sometimes this is necessary if your print has a very wide border, or if there is a signature or edition number on the print that you would like to display.

Float Mounting

Depending on the aesthetic of your print and the type of paper it's printed on, we may recommend floating as an option.

Floating a print means that it will sit on top of the matting with space around the edges, as opposed to being partially overlapped by the mat.

Diamond Girl by David Welker, framed in an elevated float mount

When a print has deckled or uneven edges, we typically suggest this treatment to emphasize and showcase the texture and shape of the paper.

Floating artwork creates a subtle but dramatic effect that can enhance the overall beauty of the artwork and look great on any wall.

If you are curious about float mounting, you can learn about the different ways we can float your artwork.

The Profile

Among the many frame styles we have to choose from, our Gallery Collection is comprised of modern and timeless frames that'll match almost anything you're looking to frame, the Rustic Collection is filled with weathered woods that have plenty of character, and our Classic Collection will visually elevates your artwork and photos with a vintage touch.

Unsure about what frame or framing style work best?

Send us a picture of your art along with the dimensions. Without having to leave your house, we'll provide a free consult plus selection of mock ups to help you decide. It's one of the reasons why online custom framing is so convenient.

And sometimes it helps to see what other people are framing and the choices they've made for their own artwork and photos. Our Instagram feed chronicles many of the framing projects we're proud of and highlights some of the final results our customers have been kind enough to share.

Level Frames on Instagram

We constantly strive to make framing more intuitive, interactive and fun, and hope this post has given you a better idea of the various framing options available and what might work well for your items.

If you are ready, you can get started on customizing your perfect frame.