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Checklist for Buying the Right Print

Checklist for Buying the Right Print

If you aren’t sure what you’re looking for, it can be hard to decide which image to buy, what size to choose, and which surface to have it printed on. There are several factors to consider, and it’s important to take the time to think them through before making a purchase. We want you to love your prints, which is why we want to help you choose the perfect one(s) for you!

Measure your wall space

An easy first step is to measure your wall space. Wherever you plan to display your print, whether it’s a statement piece above your couch or a small print to fill a space, you need to know how much room you have to work with. This will help you decide what size print you want, and if you want one single print or multiple. There are a few factors that will also affect what size print you order, which we’ll cover, but getting a measurement of your space is crucial for making the rest of the decisions you’ll need to make.

If you are trying to find something to fit a small space, you can check out our helpful guide to using prints to decorate small spaces to give you some ideas!

Decide how many prints you want

If you only plan to hang one print in your space, this will make things a little easier for you, as you’ll have a little less math to do to make sure your prints fit in the space you have. If you plan to hang multiple prints, you’ll need to consider how large of a gap you want to have between each print. There is no hard and fast rule about what size that gap should be and generally comes down to personal preference. If you have a large space in which you’d like to hang two prints, for example, it’s generally recommended to space those prints out evenly, but the exact about of space between them will depend on what size the prints are. If you prefer the style of having a large number of prints or other items hung on a wall close together, you may choose to leave minimal space between each one.

Consider framing options

Two square canvas print reproductions of black and white vintage photographs

If you are planning to buy a canvas print, you can skip this step entirely! Our canvas prints are stretched on hardwood, 1.5” depth stretcher bars, and come with hanging wire already attached. Our canvas prints are ready to hang on the wall as is, with no additional framing needed. This means that you can buy a print in a size that fills your entire space, without having to consider the extra size that framing adds.

Love this image of the Van Horn Range and Emerald Lake? Click here to shop this image!

If you are planning to buy a paper print, you’ll want to consider your framing options and preferences before deciding on print size. Matting and framing can add quite a bit of size around a print depending on your personal preferences. Generally larger prints look best displayed with a wider mat, making an already large print even larger. You don’t need to know exactly what mat and frame options you’d like for your print before buying, but it is helpful to have a general idea of your preferences to make sure the final, framed size fits within your space.

Custom framing 

With custom framing, the options are endless. You can choose between a large number of mats of varying sizes, as well as varying frame options. Custom framing also accommodates any size print. We try to offer as many of our images as possible in standard sizing to make framing easier, but depending on the original size and composition of the image, this isn’t always possible. If you are open to custom framing, which will be more expensive than buying a pre-made frame, you won’t be limited by any size restrictions and can choose a non-standard size.

Pre-made frames

If you’re on a budget, or simply prefer the convenience of using a pre-made frame, you’ll want to be extra careful with the print size you choose. Pre-made frames are offered in standard sizes. While the majority of our images are offered in standard sizes, there are some that stray into nonstandard sizes when the original proportions and composition simply don’t allow for any standard size options. You’ll want to avoid the nonstandard sizes if you plan to use a pre-made frame. 

Framed print on wall

When choosing pre-made frames, you’ll still have the option of whether or not you want a mat and a frame, or just a frame. Some pre-made frames do not include a mat at all, so the total paper size of your print would need to be the exact size of the frame. The pre-made frames that do include a mat will have a standard-size mat opening so that the image fits perfectly within the mat window. In this case, even if the total paper size isn’t the exact size of the frame, you can attach the print to the back of the mat using archival framing tape to ensure that the print stays in place, with the image centered in the mat opening.

Click here to shop this image.

Consider your existing decor

If you already have a statement piece of decor, or have quite a lot of wall decor, you’ll want to take that into account when choosing which print to buy. Some people like to have an eclectic decor style, mixing and matching pieces of different styles, while others prefer to have a cohesive look. 

Black and white prints 

Black and white prints can fit in with just about any decor style since they aren’t going to clash with existing colors. If you have a brightly colored statement couch, a black and white print hung above it won’t distract or clash. If you like a neutral aesthetic, with subdued colors in your existing furnishings and decor, a black-and-white print will be right at home.

Black and White Print on Bright Yellow Wall

Color prints

Color prints can be more of a statement. If you’re looking for a pop of color in a bedroom with neutral-toned bedding and furniture, a large, full-color print will be the perfect centerpiece. A color print can also help brighten up a room that doesn’t receive much natural light. 

Check out our collection of color images here!


Browse our collection to get inspired

Whether you need a large print to make a statement, a small print to fill a specific space, a pop of color, or a neutral image, we’ve got you covered. If you know what subject matter you’re looking for, you can browse our curated collections or use the search bar. If you’re unsure, you can browse the entire collection and see what speaks to you. We are always adding new images, so check back frequently! 

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