Frames buying guide

Though your walls can’t talk, the pictures on them say much about your style. But before you consider where to hang that graphic print or contemporary artwork, think first about frames.

In this Habitat Picture Frames Buying Guide, we put you in the picture, helping you with how to measure your artwork, which frames to go for, and where to hang it all.

What types of picture frames are there?

Here’s our go-to list of all those we do, so you can find the right one for you.

Wood frames of oak, walnut veneer, or white or dark stained birch are perennially popular, because they’re natural and timeless.

Floating frames have a cool, modern look. Each is a pane of glass backed with acrylic, so the image placed between them appears suspended. These are cleanly edged with white or black.

‘Frameless’ frames are also contemporary. Formed of a thick acrylic facing with a solid MDF back, they’re held together with tiny corner magnets. Again, artwork seems to ‘float’ because the frame appears not to exist.

Black and white painted-finish frames are a favourite for photography and art prints. Whether going solo or teaming with a mount, they tone in with any scheme style and never date.

Aluminium frames are light-looking and sleek. They come in a black, white or silver colour and are a strong statement look. They’ll work in any type of interior but are particularly well suited to modern or minimalist styles.

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How do you choose a picture frame?

Choosing a picture frame is as much about personal taste as what sits within it. What you go for depends on the artwork, on the room and on you.

Here are some things to consider:

How do I choose a frame for a painting?

This is a three-step process:

  1. Know the size of the image
  2. Decide if you need a mount–if you do, the frame must be larger to accommodate it
  3. Think about the room–should the frame match others on the wall? Do you want it to tone in with a particular style? Or a certain colour?

In framing your painting, consider the medium. Oil paints never fully dry and shouldn’t go behind glass, while watercolours prefer any material touching them to be acid-free.

It’s worth researching the optimum conditions for your painting before framing it.

How do I choose a frame for a photograph?

The same rules apply as above–think image size, mount and intended location.

Photographs tend to wrinkle behind glass. They’re better behind a mount to prevent them touching it.

How do I choose a frame for a print?

As with paintings and photographs, it’s about measuring, mount and position. Like the others, prints don’t favour touching glass. But one tip for framing prints is only to tape them to the top of the back of the mount. The print then ‘hangs’ in the frame, so it can expand and contract with humidity.

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How do I display pictures?

We’ve compiled our top FAQs on the subject to give you all the facts.

Here are some things to consider:

Should all pictures be hung at the same height?

How you hang your pictures depends on the look you’re going for. As a general rule, if all your frames are the same size, hanging them at the same height will achieve a clean, streamlined look.

For frames of different sizes, the same orderly look can be achieved if the pictures are hung so that the centre of each is level with all the others.

Collage-style displays in which pictures are fitted around each other in a pieced-together way are also very stylish. These are useful if you have a few pictures of different size and orientation. This method is often used for groups of family photographs.

How much space should I leave around each picture?

This depends entirely on the size of the frames and the space in which you’re hanging them. As standard though, leaving at least four inches between frames is recommended.

How do you hang pictures to make ceilings look higher?

As a general rule, artwork should be hung at eye level.

But if your ceilings are low, hanging your pictures a little higher will lead the eye upwards, giving the impression of higher ceilings.

Should all of my picture frames match?

This is again down to individual taste.

Artwork in matching frames looks clean. For a more eclectic look, experimenting with mixing and matching styles and colours can be fun.

If you’re unsure about which look to go for, consider the content of the frames. If the artwork or photography shares a similar style, matching frames are recommended. If you’re displaying different styles and mediums of artwork together, individual frames can be chosen based on what you’re putting inside them. This leads quite naturally to a mix-and-match style.

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What materials are your frames made from?

Habitat frames are constructed of a range of different materials – wood, aluminium, plastic, acrylic and glass. For a start, have a think about whether you’d like to use a statement frame or something slightly more subtle, so that your artwork or photos take centre stage. There’s a lot to choose from - bold and bright or neutral and white – we’ve got over 100 styles in-store and online.

A bit overwhelmed by choice? Explore the table below to find the right fit for you:

COLLECTION CONSTRUCTION
ACRYLIC Bangkok Acrylic & magnets
METAL Aluminus, Flossa, Celebrate Acrylic & glass
OAK Ontario Oak & glass
PAPER Cohen Recycled paper
PLASTIC Levie, Candi, Bangkok Acrylic
RESIN Ian, Mazel Epoxy resin coated MDF
WOOD Bacall, Tina, White Birch, Monro, Ontario, Milano, Diagonal, Rona, Monro, Archy, Dark Birch, Aluminus, Leven, White Birch Ayous wood, glass, acrylic

What size frames do you sell?

When hanging artwork or photography, you’ll need to measure and search for the right size frame to effectively display your works of art. As well as the perfect frame, a quality mount can add impact to your photos, posters and artworks. Habitat sells frames as small as 6x4 inches to as large as 70x100 cm (available in store only), covering all sizes.

It’s important to remember that the measurements represent the inner glass area and not the total width and height of the frame. These measurements can be found in the details and dimensions section on the product page, and also in the handy table below.

Habitat stocks frames in the following shapes and sizes:

Rectangle 18 x 24cm A4 (21 x 29.7cm) 24 x 30cm 30 x 40cm 40 x 50cm 50 x 70cm 60 x 80cm 70 x 100cm
Square 20 x 20cm 30 x 30cm 40 x 40cm 50 x 50cm 60 x 60cm

What size mounts do you sell?

A picture paints a thousand words, and that’s why you should take care with how you frame your precious artworks. A mount board used within a frame can add to and enhance the appearance of your artwork or photograph, drawing the eye to the image. The helpful table below provides the external dimensions of Habitat mounts, and the diagrams illustrate the internal aperture size – use this table to purchase the correct mount for your frame.

FITS PICTURE FRAME SIZE INTERNAL APERTURE SIZE DIAGRAM AVAILABLE IN
21 x 30cm / A4
(8 x 12")
12 x 18cm
(5 x 7")
a4 Black
White
30 x 40cm
(12 x 16")
18 x 24cm
(7 x 9")
30-40 Black
White
40 x 40cm
(16 x 16")
24 x 24cm
(9 x 9")
40-40 Black
White
40 x 50cm
(16 x 20")
24 x 30cm
(9 x 12")
40-50 Black
White
50 x 50cm
(20 x 20")
30 x 30cm
(12 x 12")
50-50 Black
White
50 x 70cm
(20 x 28")
30 x 40cm
(12 x 16")
50-70 Black
White
60 x 80cm
(24 x 32")
40 x 50cm
(16 x 20")
60-80 Black
White
70 x 100cm
(28 x 39")
50 x 70cm
(20 x 28")
70-100 Black
White
30 x 30cm
(12 x 12")
5 apertures:
3 measuring 6.7 x 6.7cm
(3.8 x 5.7"),
2 measuring 9.6 x 14.6cm
(2.6 x 2.6")
30-30-multi Black
White
40 x 50cm
(16 x 20")
7 apertures:
9.3 x 14.3cm
(3.7 x 5.6")
40-50-multi Black
White
60 x 80cm
(24 x 32")
20 apertures:
16 measuring 9.6 x 14.6cm
(3.8 x 5.7"),
4 measuring 12.2 x 17.2cm,
(4.8 x 6.8")
60-80-multi Black
White
70 x 100cm
(28 x 39")
32 apertures:
14.7 x 10.2cm
(5.8 x 4")
70-100-multi Black
White

How can I hang my frame?

Let us count the ways! Our ranges of frames have a lot of different wall fixings, based on their design.

To give a minimal look, the fixings on our frames are positioned to ensure they’re not visible once the frame is on the wall.

Depending on the range, the frames can be hung in three ways: using a metal wire; using the edge of the frame; or hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw with the help of the metal fixings on the back of the frame.

To help make sense of the choices, we’ve highlighted the type of wall fixings we have by range and it’s worth pointing out that all of our frames can be hung horizontally or vertically. Handy!

When hanging any frame, it’s wise to use 2 hooks, nails or screws to keep the frame straight and ensure it stays on the wall.

Bangkok – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw using the metal fixings in the direction the frame is required – horizontal or vertical.

White Birch – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw either by the edge of the frame or the metal fixings in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned – horizontal or vertical.

Dark Birch – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw either by the edge of the frame or the metal fixings in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned – horizontal or vertical.

Rona – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw either by the edge of the frame or the metal fixings in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned – horizontal or vertical.

Leven – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw either by the edge of the frame or the metal fixings in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned – horizontal or vertical.

Diagonal – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw either by the edge of the frame or the metal fixings in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned – horizontal or vertical.

Milano – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw either by the edge of the frame or the metal fixings in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned – horizontal or vertical.

Ontario – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw by the edge of the frame or the metal fixing in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned. Or, a metal wire can be attached to the fittings running down the sides of the frame and then hung horizontally or vertically.

Aluminus – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw either by the edge of the frame or by a metal wire attached to the metal fittings running down the sides of the frame and then hung horizontally or vertically.

Bacall – Must be hung directly onto a hook, nail or screw by the metal fixing in the direction you’d like the frame to be positioned – horizontal or vertical. In this case it’s best not to hang directly onto a hook, nail or screw as there isn’t a groove for the frame to sit within. Metal wire shouldn’t be used here either as it would be visible - this frame gives the effect of a picture floating within the frame.

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Which frame is suitable for each type of wall?

Think carefully about where you plan to hang your frame because you don’t want it to fall off the wall or indeed damage the wall itself.

For more detailed advice, have a look at the Habitat ‘Guide to Wall Mounting & Fixings’. It’ll help you figure out which type of wall fixing you need based on the type of wall you’re planning to hang your frame on.

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How do I look after my frames?

You only need to use a soft dry cloth to clean your frames. Take special care when cleaning the surface of acrylic frames however, because they’re more easily scratched.

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How sustainable are your frames?

We’re happy to report that all of the timber used in our wooden frames is covered by the European Timber Regulations. This means that any wood imported into the European Union for use in manufacture of picture frames must be checked to ensure that it’s been obtained from a sustainable source. These checks follow a chain of custody right back to the forest of origin, which guarantees that every step of the way is legal.

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Picture frame care advice

All styles of frame can be cleaned with a damp cloth and then wiped dry.

Glass cleaner works well on glass frames, but it shouldn’t be used on acrylic–they’re better with the damp cloth method.

Remember to keep an eye on artwork, photographs and prints. If you see signs of wrinkling or fading, they may need to be reframed or moved to a different location.

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How does Habitat ship frames?

We are careful to ensure our frames are wrapped well enough to avoid being damaged when they reach you.

Each is individually shrink-wrapped and includes protective corners. Our frames are encased in thick bubble wrap and larger sizes are sent in an individual cardboard box.

Smaller frames are individually bubble wrapped and then grouped together for shipment in one box.

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