You are here:

Decorative Arts/Refinishing picture frames


QUESTION: My bedroom walls are natural tan, furnishings are rustic white-wash (shades of gray, creamy white and beige).  I have a gray metal bed.  The 3 pictures hanging in the room have a gold frame. Yuck.  It will be expensive to reframe them because of their size so I'd like to try and refinish myself.  Should I go for silver? Gray? Whitewash? Help!  The pictures were rather expensive and have special meaning to me so I don't want to ruin them. Design ideas are greatly appreciated as well as help on how to refinish them - easily, I'm a novice!

Thank you!

ANSWER: Hi Donna
Nice to hear from you.
You have asked about my favorite subject.
I have redone so many pictures I have lost track.
And you are so right to want to keep them but make them match better.
So heres what I do in all cases where I am going to keep the pictures but re-do the frames.
First, the colors in the picture should be a guide to what color the frame will be. It does not need to be the predominate color in the picture, in fact its better if its not.
Next take into consideration the room and decor colors.
The color you choose that is contained in the picture should then pick up the colors of the room. Hope that is not confusing.
In your case, with your decor colors, I agree the gold should go.
I consider silver to be a nuetral color and I think you have a good eye so first try that (you can always change with no problem).
The painting is simple, I remove the glass and picture and spray paint.
Some colors you will have to brush on but silver, black & gold you can get spray lacquer.
Use colored craft paints for brush on. You may need 2 coats.
If you hesitate to remove the glass & picture, tape off the glass and paint.
Good Luck
Great project, and great question

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Thanks for your reply, Eileen!  You say I should pick a color from the picture?  The 3 pictures are water colors by the same artist of beach scenes from Cape Cod, MA.  The base color of all 3 pictures is blue or blue/green - water.  The headboard in my room is distressed gray metal.  I wonder if silver is too different for the frames?  Also, the pictures were framed by the artist. The backing is paper - I'm afraid to remove it, the glass and the pictures so I would most likely tape it and paint the frame.  Do you think it would be a better choice to paint the frames white or beige and maybe paint small amounts of the other color on the frame.. Making it look more weathered or distressed! I think silver makes it look more formal.. I'd like them to be more casual now that I have them in the bedroom vs living room.  Again, I appreciate your time and responses.
Thank you,

Hi again Donna
Remember, whatever color you choose, it can be easily changed if you choose wrong the first time.
And if the back is papered certainly leave it on and tape. If you happen to get a bit of paint on the glass it will scrape off easily after it dries.
Now to color.
You do not want the frame to detract from the picture but you want the frame to enhance it.
If there is any type of texture in the frame I will paint it, and then do a wash over the paint when its dry, in a contrasting color and wipe the wash back before it dries. The wash will settle in the dips and crevices.
Silver with black is nice and it will look like distressed metal like your headboard.
Make the wash by mixing a few drops of water with a teaspoon of craft paint. Paint on and wipe back before it dries with a clean cloth. Wipe back as much or little as pleases you.
Now I want to do some frames myself LOL.
Good Luck

Decorative Arts

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Eileen Cronk


If you are decorating your home on a budget I can answer most questions about what to look for when buying "good old stuff" at garage sales, yard sales or auctions. I can answer most questions about the refinishing, and repairing of wood items. I have had lots of experience in this area and made lots of mistakes over the years which I may help you avoid.


I have been haunting auction sales,flea markets etc. for 30 yrs. I have worked extensively at refinishing, and repairing all the old stuff I bring home. I also work for other people, and do repairs and refinishing for several antique stores.

©2017 All rights reserved.