PRIZED etching, million-dollar masterpiece, elegant calligraphy or just a simple print - there is artwork to suit every taste and every pocket. Yet many people simply don't spend enough time thinking about how to present it or scrimp on the framing. For whatever the art, putting it in the right frame requires almost as much taste and judgment as choosing something decent in the first place. 'Often people who have a very elaborate setting in the house and have lots of gold, brass and chrome feel that they want an equally ornate frame to go with the picture, but that's the mistake they make. They forget to let the picture speak, not the frame,' says Jjanjri Trivedi, managing director of Gallery 7. A good frame can draw the eye into the image and give it an air of significance. Prints, for example, can cope with bold frames, says John Jarman, director of the specialist print and poster dealer Rogues Gallery. 'When framing prints, you can use gold or bold chunky frames, veneered wood or marquetry frames. Painted frames are also ideal for prints,' he says. By contrast, 'posters by nature are usually strong graphic images and require frames that are simple, in order not to detract from the message. Frames that work well include simple metal frames.' The mount and frame should be viewed as a complete composition. As a general guide, experts say, a picture 20 cm to 25 cm high, and 60 cm to 75 cm wide, will require a mount of between 5.5 cm and 7.5 cm. The style and content of the artwork also reflects what kind of frame should be used. Landscapes, modern or historical, are best framed in a concave shaped profile which leads the eye into the picture. A portrait or still life that is without much perspective should have a convex frame, which will bring the painting towards you, giving an illusion of depth. The size of the frame can help draw attention to a piece. A small oil painting can be lost on a wall, so using a proportionally wider frame can grab the viewer's attention. Another option for small pieces of art is to put them in a box frame. This protects the artwork while presenting it as something special. Heavy gold frames do not always enhance a picture. Water-colours or paintings in pale tones cannot stand up to harsh gold. If gold is part of your decor, then consider a fine gold frame with a cream, buff or white mount. Classic oils are usually best framed in classic gilded frames. If you are re-framing an old oil, the painting may have to be re-varnished, protecting it from dust and pollution. Jonathan Wattis, owner of Wattis Fine Art, warns: 'After a picture has been around for 100 years or so, it will have attracted a lot of dust ... all old pictures at some time will need some restoration work.' Wattis buys most of his period art from Britain and arranges for specialists in either oil or paper restoration to restore the works. 'Be it on paper or canvas, the important thing is to keep them out of the sunlight. If you are going out of your way to buy an Old Master, it's worth your while to invest in filtered light, similar to the lights used in museums or galleries.' He also weighs up the pros and cons of glass. 'It is a question of choice. You can lose up to 30 per cent of the image with matt glass, but some people don't like the reflection you get from plain glass.' Clever lighting can bring out the quality of the work or provide a dramatic effect at night, and adds shadow and depth to sculpture. Low voltage tungsten-halogen spotlights on tracks offer flexibility to spotlight one or more pictures, and allow you freedom to reposition your pictures later. Modern oils, often brighter and stronger than old paintings, should avoid sharp, strong coloured frames. 'A simple float frame is often the easy choice,' Trivedi says. A common contemporary style is grouped paintings, with a theme or story running across two or more canvases. Presenting works in this way gives the owner the opportunity to adapt the paintings to fit the location by adjusting the space between each canvas. For these paintings, an uncomplicated frame is needed so as not to interfere with the theme. A buyer can ask for help when purchasing a new piece, and the art dealer will normally offer advice as part of the service. Most galleries will have framed their paintings to suit their display requirements, which is not necessarily the same as for the home.