I believe that a great painting isn’t framed by what is wrapped around the outside, it's framed by a great design on the inside!
To get the most out of your subject matter, it is very important to create a good design. If you have something to say, focus on what you are saying (the focal point). The area around the focal point will be the accompaniment.
If a pianist is the central figure in a concert, the piano music is the focal point. All of the other instruments play beautiful music, supporting the pianist, not competing for attention!
I am a big believer in making thumbnail sketches before starting a painting. They are quick, easy, and cause the artist to think through what they're about to do. They are the equivalent to an outline in writing a story. I usually make several thumbnail sketches to see which one I like the best.