According to Studio Elwood's creative director and fine artist Tory Burke, art curation is a creative science, meaning there are many things to consider before you add art into your home - including whether you should opt for framed or unframed artwork.
Framing artwork can enhance the beauty of the piece. In addition, certain mediums are fragile and should be framed behind glass using acid free materials to protect, preserve and archive the piece. For example, artworks on paper can be affected by moisture and contaminants, therefore need to be framed.
Photographs on paper also need to be protected behind glass and require a mount to prevent the glass touching the artwork. The image if left touching the glass can stick over time and eventually ruin a piece.
As a rule, keep unprotected valuable artwork out of direct sunlight. If this cannot be avoided, a UV protective glass can be used to protect work and reduce the chance of fading. Be aware that heating and steam from utility rooms can be harmful to artwork, especially if on paper. Choose hardier art works for these areas (kitchens, bathrooms and laundry) such as wall sculptures, resin artworks or if not in the firing line, art prints on canvas.
The good news is, you don't have to frame everything and there are many artworks that work better without! A stretched print on canvas or oil painting, especially if it is big and unfussy with simple lines, are striking on their own.
Framed artwork with glass can actually have reflection issues especially in modern homes with many windows, or that have an integration of indoor/outdoor interior design.
Original oil and acrylic paintings and art prints that have a protective UV coating, don't necessarily require framing or glass for protection. They can be stretched onto a kiln dried stretcher bar, making them a perfect addition to a light-filled room.
Before you start hammering in hooks and hangers, lay out the artwork on the floor first in front of your wall and move the piece(s) around until you are happy with the placement. Consider the other furniture and objects in the room for best results. Lastly, don't hang your works too high; keep them at eye level for greatest impact.
If unsure, it's always best to ask an expert. Finding a professional framer is a good idea; they can tell you the protective options and you can narrow the choices down to your aesthetic preference.