To mat or not to mat? That is the question we ask ourselves. Or, more likely, forget to ask ourselves. See, though matting is just as important as the frame, it’s often an afterthought—or a completely overlooked step—for many rookie apartment dwellers looking curate the perfect gallery wall If you’re currently realizing all your frames are filled edge-to-edge with prints and photos, don’t worry. You’re definitely not alone. There’s always time to reframe, rehang, and rework—if not in your current space, then the next. In the meantime, here are 15 things to consider before your next framing project.
mix and match
Just like you can mix and match frame materials and widths, you can do the same for mats. This gallery wall is the perfect example.
there are no rules
You can go extreme and add five inches of matting to your photos, opt out altogether, or mix and match.
If you need to fill a bigger frame or want to cover more wall space and fall in love with a smaller print, matting will easily solve your logistical issues.
Depending on what color mat you choose, the vibe of your artwork or gallery wall could be seriously altered. We love these bright mats paired with black and white prints.
visualize your space
When you start collecting prints, visualize how a mat will change the appearance of your photo, how it will look hanging (or leaning) on your wall, and if you will add matting to your other framed collectibles.
the large print
One oversized, standalone print tends to look better sans mat. It makes more of a visual impact, especially if your print features bold or bright colors.
Again, there are no rules. This looks cool, too.
If you’re looking for a uniform look and want all of your framed prints to have the same mat width, you can buy in bulk. If you’re looking to customize each individual print, buy mat board, a cutter, and DIY your own.
it’s not required
It’s okay if you don’t like the way your artwork looks matted. You can opt out and still have a stunning gallery wall.
create clean lines
Framing items like magazines and tear outs can be tough. Use a mat to make rough, messy edges clean and crisp. This also applies to kids artwork, mementos, and any other nontraditional items you want to hang.
blocked gallery walls
Adding matting to your grid-like gallery wall creates even more symmetry.
Choose to vary your mats in a neatly arranged gallery wall to add another element of visual interest.
make it unique
Don’t feel like you have to center everything. Tweaking your matting will add a personalized touch.
create added contrast
Instead of allowing your black print to fade into a black frame—or choosing a white frame that would blend into the wall—opt for a thin white mat to create a border.
perfect for tiny pictures
Adding a mat to a polaroid or small printed Instagram will make it sizable enough to frame.