When people consider buying a work of fine art, they usually focus on what kind of artwork they prefer - whether sculpture, painting or photography would be best for the space they have in mind - and then the details of what would be right within the medium, for example whether to choose a wooden sculpture or a metal one, an abstract painting or a figurative one.
All of these decisions are important, and getting them right is the only way to end up with something you're really happy with at the end of the day. It's worthwhile taking your time, discussing with friends or family, and going around galleries or searching online, such as on Art-Mine.com, to see what's out there.
However, once all of these decisions have been made, there is often another decision, which is also important but often not given the consideration it deserves. That is the question of framing. Of course, this generally won't arise if you've chosen a sculpture for your room, but paintings and photographs, for example, do usually require framing.
The kind of frame you choose will have more of an impact than you might think. It actually influences the impression of the work itself, and how it looks on the wall and the kind of atmosphere the piece as a whole contributes to the room. For this reason, it's important to choose the right frame - right for the piece, right for the room, and right for you.
In some ways, picking a frame is a personal decision in the same sort of way buying art is something special to each individual. Some people can't stand gilt frames, or anything ornate, while others hate thin frames, or dark ones. Never choose something you're not going to be happy to see on your wall every day.
However, there are also aspects of the artwork that need to be taken into account. Not every frame will suit your piece - for example, sometimes a detailed, visually complex work will be best set off with a plain frame, as an intricate one will only detract from what's most important - the work itself.
Your own sense of what is appropriate will be valuable here, but for guidance or for an indication of what sorts of factors are worth considering, you can speak to the person or organization you bought the work from. An artist will be able to tell you what he or she imagined for the piece when they created it, and although this isn't necessary binding, it's definitely something to consider. Similarly, a dealer or gallery director will be able to explain the formal considerations they take into account when framing works in their own space. They'll also have years of experience which will help them work out what's suitable and what's not.
Another aspect to consider - and to let the artist or director know about if you're talking to them about the issue - is the wall that the painting is going on. If it's a yellow wall, for instance, you might not want a light wooden frame, as the colors might not show the painting or print to advantage. Or, if it's a relatively small wall, you might not want to go for a thick frame, which could clutter your visual space. Take a photo of the space in question, and show it to the person you're asking for advice, so that they have an idea of what to suggest.