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budget friendly

Custom Frame Hack


Custom Frame Hack

Have you ever been given the advice “live in your home for a while before making design decisions”?  Yes, you’re not alone and it’s true, to some extent. When clients are moving into a new house they automatically want to change everything - the paint, the furniture, the bathroom tile, etc. Of course budget plays a huge role, but with budget and renovation projects comes major changes you want to be sure your wanting to make. Small changes within the home can take just as much time as the large ones. Where should I hang my grandmother’s mirror or my favorite framed artwork, or should I buy that art I saw in the retail store down the street? 

Not having a well thought out plan can cost you more money in the long run because you spend and spend purchasing items for your home when you don’t really know what you are trying to achieve. 

Although I can answer those questions in a second in my client’s home, sometimes even I have a hard time making decisions on what to do with some spaces in my own home, so I step back and take my time making these decisions just as I advise my clients.

Case in point. We have lived in our home for 3 years this upcoming March. Not only have we just now selected tile to replace the outdated tiles in our entryway, powder room and laundry room, but smaller decisions have been made as well like the 2 year old question of “what should we hang in our upstairs hallway?"

It’s a long hallway. We painted it white 2 years back but it’s been bare. I knew the design direction I wanted to go but wanted to make sure I did it right and within our budget. Similar to our old home, I wanted to line the hallway with some of my favorite family photos, but this time in a very modern but grand way. I knew exactly what I wanted: large oversized, black custom frames with large white matting and a photo cut out that was off center… (insert record scratch noise)...what??? I know, it does sound odd when I describe it, but in my mind I knew how amazing it would look. My husband just looked at me and knew he had to go along with it because I was going to do it anyway.

I did do it and for UNDER $400.00!!!!! Guess what? I am going to tell you exactly how I did it.

I have fairly high ceilings in my hallway with a chair rail 36” off the floor so I knew I wanted to focus the frames on the portion of the wall above the chair rail. There was still so much wall space so I wanted to find the largest oversized frame I could that would create that modern look. 

I found the Ribba Frames at Ikea. I purchased the size 24" x 35”. These frames come with a matte but they aren’t the matte I was going to use. After measuring the hallway again, I knew I wanted seven frames to fill the wall space. 


Next I went to the local craft store. There are many that offer custom framing, but I went to Hobby Lobby. I met with the framer and gave him my measurement sheet. I wanted a 24" x 35" matte with a 10 3/4” x 13 3/4” portrait cut out off center. I wanted that cut out to start 5” from the top and be centered in the middle (10.83” from either edge). The photos I was placing in the frames were 11" x 14", so I needed the cut to be slightly smaller so that the photo would fit behind the matte. You don’t want the cut out to be the same size or the photo will fall through the opening. Once the mats were ready about 1 week later, I brought them home.

I had previously selected photos I wanted to hang in these frames. Most were from our trip to Italy in September, the others were a few family photos we shot in August. I had those pictures printed in black and white through Snapfish and they were delivered to my door by the time I brought my mats home.

I removed the mat that came with the frame and placed the new mat in. Then I placed the photos upside down in the mat and used a small piece of scotch tape to hold the photos in place and centered. I put the back on and VOILÁ. I had the look of a custom matted frame with a photo for under $50 a piece!

Let me know what you think! Is this something you would like to do in your home? Would you like to see more of these kinds of posts from me? Comment on my Instagram photo, I would love to get your feedback!