Canvas vs Framed Print | Guide to Wall Art Options

So you’ve received all of your beautiful photos from your photographer, and you’re ready to print them out to enjoy in physical form. Where do you start? When it comes to wall art, there are a lot of different options to choose from. You can go with a traditional framed print, an unframed canvas, or even metals and acrylics. So, which is the best option for you? In this guide, we will compare Canvas, Framed Prints, Metals and Acrylics to help you decide which is the best choice for your home or office. Here are the primary considerations when making your decision.

Image Interchangeability

framed wall art
Image by Lin and Jirsa

Framed prints allow you to change out the images within the frames as you wish over time. For example, after your wedding, you might choose to showcase your favorite wedding photo. But after your first child, you might be more inclined to showcase a newborn photo. As you experience major milestones in your life, your priorities and what you want to see every day on the walls of your home might change. The images on canvas, metal and acrylic prints are permanent, so your decision is final. As a result, you may struggle to find a place for all of your prints, or you may end up with a “canvas graveyard” over time in your storage.

Matching The Style of Your Home

gold metal wall art
Images by Lin and Jirsa

With any wall art options, the images you choose should match the overall style, mood and decor of your home or office. For example, bright and airy, pastel-toned photos match well in bright and airy rooms with similar color pallets. The same goes for other styles like boho/moody, bold/vibrant, and others.

In addition to the actual photos, your frame vs canvas decision also plays a role. Canvases, in general, can fit in any room so long as the photos themselves match the room. Frames, on the other hand, require that you also match the the material of the frame to its surroundings. For the best look, match the color and materials with the color and materials of your decor and accent pieces in the room.

While these rules can be broken tastefully, here are some general guidelines to follow. Metal and Acrylic Prints work well in modern and contemporary homes. Wooden frames work well in mid century modern and farmhouse style homes. Canvases are versatile and can be used in many different rooms. And in general, you can mix and match to taste.

Matching Image Styles for The Photos

canvas photo cluster
Image by Lin and Jirsa

Often times, you’ll want to place many pieces of wall art next to each other in an image collage. With framed prints, the material on the frame can tie the photos together nicely, even if the images inside of the frames have slightly different post production styles and color themes. On the other hand, different images styles and colors may clash on borderless prints like canvases, metals and acrylics with no borders, so you’ll need to plan out collages a bit more closely.


Pricing for framed prints have a wide range. The prints themselves should be relatively inexpensive, but a designer frame can quickly exceed your budget. However, you can easily find tasteful budget-friendly options at Ikea, Target, or Home Goods for a good price. Canvas print options are also affordable, with many inexpensive consumer options like Shutterfly, Costco and other. The most expensive will likely be your Metal and Acrylic Prints.

For example, here are the prices of the 20×30 options from the Costco Print Center:

  • Print – $9.99 USD
  • Canvas – $57.99 USD
  • Acrylic – $113.99 USD

Pricing may vary depending on when you view this article and where you are located.

When you get into the professional printing services, like our sponsors at Bay Photo, the pricing increases (as well as the quality).  However, the percentage differences between each of the options is pretty similar.

Size Factors and Considerations

large metal print
Image by Lin and Jirsa

The last factor in choosing between framed prints and canvases is the size of the final product.  While all options can be made very large (beyond 20×30 and even 40-60), frames can have a limit on how big they can get before the glass inside them becomes too heavy.

However, here’s a useful tip for you.  If you’re looking for a really large piece of wall art, consider canvases, metals or acrylics. You can even choose to utilize “splits,” where you split an image up into multiple pieces. This can add an element of artistry to the image.

metal wall art lin jirsa
Image by Lin and Jirsa


Ultimately, the best wall art option is a personal decision that factors in your overall home decor style, if you plan on changing out the photos often and other factors mentioned in this article. The most important thing is to be sure to print something! In our digital world, it’s easy for images to get lost in the cloud. Get them onto your walls and in albums to fully appreciate them and the memories tied to them.

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