This is a problem we always seem to struggle with...finding a way to display artwork without paying huge amounts of money for framing. Since the type of framing we choose usually depends on the artwork, we're always having to come up with new solutions to the problem. Along the way, we've found a few cheap frames that we keep coming back to. (Add your recommendations in the comments below.)
Image (Left to Right, Top to Bottom):
• Ribba and Fjallsta Frames from IKEA (No. 1-5)
• Poster Hanger by Jorgen Moller (No. 6)
• Gallery Portrait Wall Frames from World Market (No. 7-8)
• Album Frame from CB2 (No. 9)
• MCS Format Frame from Walgreens (No. 10)
Sources for Cheap Frames:
Cost Plus World Market
We've found some good standard frames here in the $25-$50 range. Many of them also come with pre-cut mats.
The Ribba Frame is a cheap classic - simple, unadorned, available in a variety of colors and sizes (including sometimes hard-to-find square shapes). Ribbas range from $4.99 to $24.99.
Poster Hanger by Jorgen Moller
This is a great solution for a collection of posters, although it doesn't protect the artwork under glass. We like the look for small-scale pieces, but when you go big the artwork can resemble a hanging slideshow screen. $14.95 - $39.95, available online and in several stores, including Chiasso in Chicago.
Their record album frames ($14.95) are a good size for groupings. The square shape works well for framing fabric or patterned papers.
Those thin black plastic frames with the pop-out glass from Walgreens are surprisingly good for framing black and white photos. They're simple, unobtrusive, and if you use a thin mat with them, they look a lot more expensive than they cost. These are the cheapest of the bunch, with most sizes under $10.
Pearl Fine Art Supplies
Not everything here is cheap, but Pearl has a great selection of styles and sizes, and among the more expensive frames you can find some good bargains. If you need to frame an irregularly sized artwork, you can save a little money by having a custom mat made to fit your artwork, then pop your custom mat into a readymade frame. Readymade frames aren't listed online - visit the store to see them.