Solutions: Framing trends turn toward cleaner lines


As design elements continue to evolve, the decorative frames that enhance our artwork tend to do the same. “Just like fashion, framing trends have been somewhat cyclical,” says Nicole Rafaill, who owns State of the Art Framing in Ferndale.

Styles from the ’80s, like metal frames, are being replaced with the same clean and simple lines in wood finishes. “They become more in line with the furniture trends of the times,” she says. “Ten or 15 years ago there was a lot of oak and now there’s a lot of bamboo. American hardwood like cherry is also coming back into favor.”

Metallics are also making a comeback. “Gold fell out of fashion and silver became cold, like chrome, and hardwood fell away,” says Rafaill. “Warm silver is popular now and people are back into gold again, so the change goes back and forth.”

With custom framing, she says it doesn’t matter what’s popular because you can create any look you want and today’s consumers are becoming more adventurous with the objects inside the frame.

“Family heirlooms are always popular and a lot of people bring in what you wouldn’t call artwork. It’s not a painting. It might be a piece of old tattered cloth,” she says.

They’ve also seen an uptick in the preservation of vintage newspaper ads discovered during home remodels while removing drywall.

One customer, who was renovating a bathroom, found an old underwear ad that had been used for insulation and had it framed to hang in the finished bathroom.

“People find a lot of whimsy in vintage newspaper ads and old takeout menus like the one we framed from a Chinese restaurant that was in Detroit back in the day,” says Rafaill.

The shadowbox frames they create display anything from military uniforms to swords and people often turn to custom framing for a specific size mirror to go above a sink.

Other considerations, like matting and glass, have shifted as well. Regular and non-glare glass are no longer the only options. As Rafaill explains, non-glare glass is not good for the artwork because it absorbs UV light.

Conservation glass helps to preserve your piece so that it doesn’t fade, and museum glass is a step above the rest. “It looks like there is no glass, so there’s no glare and no distortion,” she says.

Recent matting trends lean toward cleaner lines. While double and triple matting was popular in the past, single styles with more color and texture are now preferred. “There are so many variations other than linen and suede and people are definitely more adventurous when it comes to color. It adds more drama,” says Rafaill.

For those who want to highlight something sentimental, they offer high-quality large format printing. “We can take that digital shot from your vacation and put the image on canvas,” she says. “It’s such a personal piece of art. People really want to feel that meaning and connection.”

For information, call (248) 582-9999 or go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at