Why are we weighting?

Picture framing is not generally a weighty subject, pardon the pun… But in most cases we ‘weight’ the frames. No we don’t add lead weights to a frame as a diver might to keep themselves on the bottom of the ocean, no no. We add a little more space at the bottom of an artwork, where we use a mat to enhance the look of the frame, provide some space from the frame edge and to keep the glass off the image.

This extra space on the bottom of the mat provides a visual foundation for the image to ‘sit on’. Usually people find they notice this after the piece has been on their wall for a while, it does not displease them so much but it can leave them wondering why.


In the past when wall heights were much greater than today, it meant that the weighting provided an optical illusion as the viewer looked up at the framed piece. The bottom wider edge of the mat now looked ‘normal’ due to forced perspective.

Over time the practice has been passed on and is commonplace today. So, if you are looking and wondering why, hopefully I have provided you with the answer you sought. Your friendly picture framing professional should be able to tell you the answer to all manner of questions, especially on picture framing, ones about rocket science might need a little research before we can give you an answer.

Regards – Steve Gray –

Picture Framing Specialist

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