Colorful Matting

I love using colorful matting with artwork. It’s an easy change – you could obviously get new mat board cut, but consider painting out your white mat (I’ve had great success with those $1 bottles of craft paint), or maybe investing in a $30 mat cutter to experiment on your own. Also, I see vintage…

I love using colorful matting with artwork. It’s an easy change – you could obviously get new mat board cut, but consider painting out your white mat (I’ve had great success with those $1 bottles of craft paint), or maybe investing in a $30 mat cutter to experiment on your own. Also, I see vintage and antique artwork with colorful mats at flea markets all the time. Here’s a piece my client and I found at a flea market in Pennsylvania (or was it NJ, Sheila?).

One of my favorite colors – that emerald green! I think it’s so pretty with the black and gold accents.

I have a big art wall in my dining room. To mix it up a little I’ve been adding colorful mats to the group. Most of the frames have cream or white mats still, but I’d like to have four or five frames with colorful matting eventually.

I bought this piece at Housing Works for $10:

These pretty pink pictures were spotted at Alt in the ladies room at the Grand America.

Another pretty emerald green mat at a gallery near my house:

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42 thoughts on “Colorful Matting

  1. I do love the way colorful matting can add so much to a gallery….I also love a collection of pure white matting too….on black and white photos.

  2. I love that room in Kate Spade's house. I thought of it right away when I saw your post title. I've thought before of cutting my own matting. Have you ever done it/how complicated is it?

  3. I did this same project this weekend. I painted the matting black and changed out the picture on a thrift store find! I love the idea of a gallery wall with colored mattering. I also heart the colorful wallpaper from Lonny!

  4. The Emerald Green is so beautiful! I have a rose picture I got at a flea market with a pink striped matting that I absolutely love too!

  5. It has never even dawned on me to change the mat color myself! Thanks, Jenny! I'm going to try this in my daughter's pink and gray nursery. I have a bunch of framed Peter rabbit pictures to hang.
    What flea market did you visit in NJ? The only one I know of and go to is the Saturday morning flea at the meadowlands.

  6. The mix of different colored matts is so stunning…I think that one is my favorite! I really think I might try just switching out some matts for an update, thanks for the inspiration!

  7. what a great collection of photos! and you are correct…the RIGHT mat can make all the difference. it's one of those inexpensive and easy fixes that people often overlook.

  8. I have actually painted many colored mats white ( works for my decor). I started with regualar acrylic paint, but found that spray paint is the best. The finish is perfect, doesn't dause the mat to curl up, and is faster than brushed on paint.

  9. Loving those colorful mats! I'm working on artwork for my office re-do and now I'm considering colorful mats intead of white to bring more color into the room.

  10. There is a great antique flea market in Lambertville NJ called the Golden Nugget. It is open Sat & Sun and worth a visit. You can check out my post under the Label Flea Markets at Design Savvy of Great ideas for the frames, just may have to try it!

  11. Cathleen and Denise – We found this pretty print at the Golden Nugget. I've only been twice, but it was a jackpot both times!


  12. I just love picture collages, but never feel like I can pull them off…which seems silly because they're supposed to be kind of random. Any tips that aren't obvious?

  13. Love it! I just came here to ask if there's an inexpensive way to do this. Looks like spray paint is the way to do this. Thanks previous commenters.

  14. Hi Sarah Jane! I think that is SUCH a great question and I do have some thoughts about how to put together a nice gallery/art wall that looks collected and not too contrived. I'll try to do a post on that soon (maybe when I finish my wall and share?)


  15. I couldn't agree more! I'm actually working on a diy project that involves giving white mat boards a makeover with some card-stock glued on top (or any type of textured/colored paper), but I'll definitely have to try painting them too. Great tip on jazzing up mat boards!

  16. Thanks, Jenny! Can't wait to hear your tips. I've already gotten so many great ideas from you….and so…I've given you an "award" on my blog! I hope you'll check it out! And thanks again!

  17. I am now racking my brain trying to remember… have you seen/ do you remember an old Grace Kelly (I think) movie that shows a scene in her apartment with a wall full of framed prints all with different color mattes?? The colors remind me of the Spade home picture you posted. I have always loved that wall display in that movie, I just can't remember what movie it was!

  18. Oh yay, yay! Thanks so much, Jenny :) I've got to watch that movie again.

    I have a four framed floral prints hung symmetrically on a wall (two on each side of our tv), and they need some added interest. With only four prints though, I'm afraid it would look wrong if the mattes were all different colors? Maybe I should make them all the same exciting color.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  19. I MUST visit the flea market in Lambertville!! Philadelphia has some great flea markets too! Infact there is one this weekend! Can't wait! Great ideas!

  20. I have to try spray painting myself. Also, if you're in a pinch, Michael's does custom mats which can be incredibly reasonable when they're running a 60%+15% off sale on custom framing!

  21. This post is SO right up my alley. Amazing how a little detail is just not small. I love noticing things like this; you're brilliant! :)

    I hadn't thought of painting the mats, either; what a great way to do this. We just hung another gallery wall grouping in our family room of stuff I've been collecting, and I have been feeling like it needs more color. I was thinking of painting some of the frames, but my husband really prefers the the neutral, simple wood frames we are using. This would be a great way to add the color. Thanks so much!

  22. At an antiques store, I recently found a pair of pen and ink city scene sketches in small gilded frames. The ink sketches, were pretty, but the mat was covered in a turquoise velvet, and my was it gorgeous! Wish I had bought them, but I think a DIY velvet mat is in order.

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