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Floating Frames (What You Need to Know)

A wall adorned with various floating frames.

When decorating your home, pictures and hanging art can feel like the last thing on your mind. However, these final accessories are really what bring a space to life. Wall decor can make your home feel finished and like your own. There are many options to choose from when it comes to decor. From gallery walls and canvas prints to macrame hangings and floating picture frames, everyone has a different style that suits them.

Picture frames are just about as basic as it gets. However, they have recently made a modern upgrade that has caught the attention of homeowners and designers alike. Frames now come in designs such as floating frames, which are created to make it seem as though the piece of art is actually gloating within the frame. Floating frames, often used by art lovers, seem to be popping up at retailers everywhere as of late.

Related: Types of Picture Frames | Alternatives for Wall Decors | Half-Wall Decorating Trends | Picture Frame AlternativesLiving Room Wall Decors 

What Are Floating Frames?

As implied in the name, floating frames are created to make art appear as though it is floating within the frame instead of pressed behind a piece of glass. This illusion allows viewers to see a sort of three-dimensional view of the art. A float frame is generally used to display a print or canvas piece to give it more depth.


Floater frames are supposedly evolved from the 1950s. In the 1950s and early 1900s, oil paintings on canvas were very popular. Because of this, a style called “stripping” began in the art community. This style was meant to finish the look of oil paintings by sealing them.

“Stripping” style called for four thin pieces of wood, usually plywood, to be framed around the painting. Although the thin wood frame created a finished look at the paintings, it did not provide any protection to the piece. Because of this, floating frames were created.

When Should You Use Floating Frames?

A close look at a wall filled with floating frames bearing family pictures.

You can really use floating frames for any type of artwork you might want to display in your place of living. There are a few scenarios where you might want to use a floating frame.

If you live in a small apartment or home you might want to use float frames to maximize your space. Unlike normal frames which generally have mats that are a few inches per side. With a floating frame, you are just getting your frame and piece of art, so there is no added space that is being taken up. Unlike normal frames, floating frames do not take up 2+ inches of space on the sides.

Having a modern or contemporary style home can sometimes be difficult to find artwork for. Although the artwork is not hard to come by, finding pieces that won’t break the budget can be tricky.

That is why floating frames can be such a great additive. Floating frames are modern by nature. They are generally simple and sleek, which is perfect for a modern home or when you are trying to highlight an art piece. A good frame can either make or break the look of your art piece.

Pros of Floating Frames

As previously mentioned, floating frames are perfect when you have a smaller wall space to work with. Living in smaller spaces, such as apartments, can sometimes give you less to work with. If you are not a home buyer and live in a small space you may not have a ton of wall space to decor.

This can be a good and bad thing. Using floater frames can help you save space because there is no matte overlay on your prints. All you will need is a canvas print and your frame— perfect for a minimalist look.

Canvas without frames is fairly common in most homes. However, adding a floating frame can give it a more finished look. That is why you will see frames around canvas’ in most art museums. Another reason to add a frame to your canvas is that it could help prevent the canvas edges from warping. The frame will act as a shield where the canvas is most likely to be damaged.

Cons of Floating Frames

Floating frames are slightly limited in their ability to be used. These types of frames are generally only used for one style of art, canvas’. If you do not love canvas art, you will most likely not have a need for floating frames. As a lover of print art, I find my need for floating frames to be minimal. Prints can not be attached to floater frames, as they were specifically made for canvas’.

If you want to add prints, photographs, documents, or any other kind of flat artwork, you will need to use a regular frame or float mount your piece. Float mounting may sound similar to a floating frame, but it is not. Floating frames are a product, while float mounting is a technique.

Materials Used For Floating Frames

A close look at a wooden frame being constructed.

Similarly to every other type of picture frame, you can use various materials to create a floating frame based on your personal preference. Floater frames are most often made out of either metal or wood. In terms of sizes and materials, float frames are fairly versatile.

They can be made to fit just about any size canvas, but are usually made thinner to highlight the art inside and to take up less space. Because floater frames are created to help accentuate and protect canvas’, they need to be perfectly matched with the stretch canvas that will be placed inside. The easiest way to do this will be to work directly with a retailer to match the frame and size of the canvas.

Float Frames

  1. Floater Frames — Holton Studio Frame Makers
  2. Canvas Floating Frame — Amazon
  3. Wood Canvas Float Frame — American Frame