How to decorate with antique frames

Vintage picture frames are often works of art in themselves, their beautiful carvings and ornate finishes are all you need to bring a decorative flourish to any room

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
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Create the air of an artist’s studio with a selection of gilt frames in varying sizes and shapes. Arrange them against walls and items of furniture to give an impression of casual curation.

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
V&A panel VAA0142 £65 per sq m, Surface View. Distressed Antique Whisky engineered oak flooring £47.50 per sq m, Luxury Flooring. Ziegler-style carpet £930, Artique. Red velvet curtains £90 per pair, Paul Michael Farnham. 1940s Spanish sycamore sofa £2,800, Brownrigg. Early 19th-century still life watercolour £700 for a pair, Rag & Bone Bristol. 1880s English gesso gilt on a wooden frame (large frame behind sofa) £250, Trilogie Antiques. Frames on sofa (left to right): early 20th-century English carved wood and painted frame £195, Turners Decoratives; 18th-century English George III carved oval, £200 Hubert Antiques; antique French frame c1850 £160, Charles Daggett Gallery; late 19th-century French carved oak and gilded frame, in Louis XIV style, with original oval spandrel £650 Charles Daggett Gallery. Gold curtains £90 per pair, Paul Michael Farnham. Antique French frame c1880 (on floor) £320, Hubert Antiques. Vintage oak Glamor haberdashery chest of drawers £495, Mustard Vintage. On drawers: mid-century brass crane £45, Mustard Vintage; A Dellaux vase £85, Focus on the Past; feathers, stylist’s own. 1920s English waste paper basket £395, Brownrigg. Wallpapers in basket: Harvest Hair; Squirrel and Sunflower each £66 per roll, both Mark Hearld at St Jude’s. Vintage Italian brass flower bowl £120, Lorfords.
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Decorative wallpapers can be pieces of art in their own right. Place samples of your favourite designs in ornate antique frames to create a coordinating display on a mantelpiece or shelf.

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
Wall panel and flooring, as before. Floorstanding lamp base £88 and shade £85, both Focus on the Past. Frames on floor (left to right): early 20th-century English carved wood and painted frame £195, Turners Decoratives; large 1950s carved wood frame in 18th-century style £850, Brownrigg; 19th-century frame £195, Trilogie Antiques; a very rare English carved and gilded rococo frame with pierced centres and corners c1770 £850, Charles Daggett Gallery. Fire surround £345, Cotswold Stone & Masonry. Frames on mantelpiece (left to right): English Regency period plain moulded frame £75, Turners Decoratives; 19th-century bird’s eye maple frame with gilt slip £95, Sutton House Interiors; French Charles X-period neoclassical revival gilded frame c1830 £275, Charles Daggett Gallery; small Italian gilt frame £300, Turners Decoratives; 18th-century English carved wood George III-style oval (completely unrestored) £85, Turners Decoratives; 19th-century French composition frame £100, Turners Decoratives. Wallpaper in frames (left to right): New Contemporary Malabar; Archive Anthology Chippendale China; Albemarle Aldwych each £1.50 for a sample, all Cole & Son. Books; Mason jar; paintbrushes, all stylist’s own. Watchmaker’s glass c1910 £375, Brownrigg. Velvet curtain, as before.
3

Make a focal point of your smaller frames by displaying them in groups of odd numbers within a much larger, standout frame.

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
Wall painted in Pink Ground Estate Eggshell £25 for 750ml, Farrow & Ball. Flooring, as before. 19th-century fruitwood daybed £2,250, Lorfords. Velvet curtains £90 per pair, Paul Michael Farnham. Books, stylist’s own. Art deco pressed glass cake stand £25, Focus on the Past. Cushion £29.99, HomeSense. Frame on wall (left): an exceptional English carved and gilded neoclassical fluted frame with knurled top edge c1790 £1,250, Charles Daggett Gallery. Inside frame: 19th-century French composition frame £100; 19th-century English silver gilded oval (one of a pair) £90 each; late 19th-century rococo frame £110, all Turners Decoratives. Frame on wall (right): early 18th-century English carved wood centre and corner frame £485, Turners Decoratives. Inside frame: 19th-century English floral corners frame (one of a pair) £125 each; 19th-century carved Italian Florentine-style frame £225; late 19th-century English plaster frame £100, all Turners Decoratives. Frames behind sofa (left to right): a carved and gilded English Carlo Maratta pattern frame c1780-90 £700, Charles Daggett Gallery; carved wood Italian frame £1,275, Lorfords; gilded Empire-style French neoclassical revival fluted frame c1840 £325, Charles Daggett Gallery. Frames in front of sofa (left to right): 19th-century English composition frame £125, Turners Decoratives; French Charles X-period neoclassical revival gilded frame c1830 £275, Charles Daggett Gallery
4

Oversized antique frames work well with delicately detailed antiques for a sense of grandeur, while the combination of blush pink and gold adds romance.

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
Wall and flooring, as before. Early 20th-century pitch pine classical bust £1,950 for a pair, Brownrigg. Swedish dining chair £3,300 for six, Lorfords. Fabric on chair: Anastasia linen in red/ aqua £345 per m, Mulberry Home at Lorfords. Frames on floor (left to right): mid 18th-century Venetian carved and gilded Canaletto frame £750; 19th-century English carved and gilded Lawrence-style portrait frame £1,650, both Charles Daggett Gallery. Frames on wall (left to right): Regency-period English oval frame with knurled top edge c1815 £250; carved and gilded French ‘swept’ drawings frame c1860 £300, both Charles Daggett Gallery.
5

Draw the eye towards a statement wallpaper. Where artworks might conflict with the wallpaper, empty frames can make a feature of it.

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
Designers Guild Caprifoglio panel wallpaper (two panels) £273 per 3m roll, Wallpaperdirect. Flooring, as before. Badshah rug £1,900, Hemghar. 1930s Italian painted commode £1,850, Brownrigg. Early 18th-century Italian gilded chair £2,800, Brownrigg. Royal Garden velvet £149 per m, GP & J Baker at Lorfords. 19th-century French carved wood and gilded candlestick £295 for a pair, Chloe Antiques. Church candle; teacup and saucer, all stylist’s own. Jug £38, Focus on the Past. Frame (on floor) carved and gilded French ‘swept’ drawings frame c1860 £300, Charles Daggett Gallery. Frames on commode (left to right): 19th-century French composition frame £100; 19th-century English composition frame £125, both Turners Decoratives. Frames on wall (left to right): Regency-period English oval frame with knurled top edge c1815 £250; Charles X-period French neoclassical revival gilded frame c1830 £275, both Charles Daggett Gallery
6

The gilt edging on antique frames cries out to be paired with a chandelier in a bedroom. Add sumptuous velvets for a lavish mix of textures

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
Wallpaper, floor and rug, as before. 1940s chandelier £110, Rag & Bone Bristol. Charming Directoire bed £1,495, Lorfords. Quilt £30, Salvage Style. Cushion £150, Lorfords. Velvets (on bed) Rossini £139 per m, Mulberry Home at Lorfords; curtain £90 per pair, Paul Michael Farnham. 19th-century mannequin £960, Lorfords. Vintage velvet in slate blue £69 per m, GP & J Baker at Lorfords. Frames on floor (left to right): early 18th-century English centre and corner frame £485; early 20th-century English carved and painted frame £195, both Turners Decoratives. Frames on wall (clockwise from top left): late 19th-century French Barbizon pattern gilded frame £285, Charles Daggett Gallery; late 19th-century rococo frame £110, Turners Decoratives; French ripple frame c1860 £140, Hubert Antiques; 19th-century floral corners frame £125, Turners Decoratives.
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Juxtapose your frames against a rough textured brick or stone wall (or appearance of one) for added drama, allowing them to take centre stage and shine even more.

Antique frame feature shot in the studio
The Scullery II accent mural £65 per sq m, Surface View. Flooring, as before. Ziegler-style carpet rug £795, Artique. Curtain £100, Paul Michael Farnham. Suitcase £35, Focus on the Past. Frames inside suitcase (left to right): 18th-century English George III carved oval £200; late 19th-century English ivy leaf oval (one of a pair) £90 each; Regency-period English plain moulded frame £75; 19th-century English silver gilded oval (one of a pair) £90, all Turners Decoratives; Charles X-period French neoclassical revival gilded frame c1830 £275, Charles Daggett Gallery; antique French frame c1850 £160, Hubert Antiques; late 19th-century rococo frame £110; 19th-century English silver gilded frame £70, both Turners Decoratives. Books, stylist’s own. Frame (on floor) 19th-century carved Italian Florentine-style frame £225, Turners Decoratives. Artist’s table £360, Lorfords. Large artist’s palette £25, Old Albion. Small artist’s palette £20, Rag & Bone Bristol. Artist’s mannequin £290, Brownrigg. Morro pot £16.95 for two, Nkuku. C1930s Anglepoise lamp £195, Trilogie Antiques. Paintbrushes, feathers, paint tubes, all stylist’s own. Artist’s studio still life painting £300; portrait of man reading £120, both Rag & Bone Bristol. Artist’s easel £500, Lorfords. Large frame (on easel) late 19th-century carved and gilded Louis XIV-style centre and corner frame £750, Charles Daggett Gallery. Blue velvet single curtain £40, Paul Michael Farnham.
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