In Which Direction Should You Hang Wallpaper?

hanging splashy wallpaper

For many homeowners, hanging some splashy wallpaper in one or more rooms is a fun way to give the premises a style boost. A brand-new wallpaper pattern will be instantly noticed by family and friends visiting the home, and can even make the house more valuable on the market if you should decide to sell.

But as DIY installers quickly find out when they begin their home renovation projects, there’s a certain amount of planning that must be done before that attractive new wallcovering can be applied. This includes an often overlooked aspect of wallpaper installation: the direction in which the material is hung on the surface. Many people do not even realize that there are multiple valid options that they can select from. Let’s take a closer look at this topic.

Factors to Consider When Deciding Which Direction to Hang Wallpaper

Woman hanging stylish wall paper sheet indoors

Choosing the right direction while hanging wallpaper is crucial for achieving a visually pleasing and professionally finished result. The direction refers to the orientation in which the wallpaper is installed on the walls. There are a few key factors that highlight the importance of making the correct choice:

Room size and ceiling height

The size and height of the room play a crucial role in determining the appropriate direction for wallpaper installation. Assess the dimensions of the room and desired visual effects to select the direction that best complements the room’s characteristics.

Lighting and reflection

Consider the room’s lighting conditions and the direction of natural or artificial light sources. The direction of the wallpaper can influence how light interacts with the room. Depending on the layout, certain directions may create unwanted glare or reflections. Choose a direction that enhances the overall lighting and minimizes any undesirable effects.

Pattern alignment and design

If your wallpaper has a pattern, consider how the pattern aligns across the wall. Take into account the pattern’s orientation and how it will align from strip to strip. Ensure that the chosen direction allows for proper pattern continuity and alignment.

Design concept and focal points

Consider the overall design concept and desired focal points in the room. The direction of the wallpaper can influence the visual flow and emphasize specific areas. Decide whether you want to create a sense of movement, highlight architectural features, or direct attention to a particular wall. The chosen direction should align with the intended design concept and complement the room’s focal points.

Given all this, what direction do you hang wallpaper to achieve the best results?

The Various Directions Wallpaper Can Be Hung

man measuring the wall paper for the wall

When it comes to hanging wallpaper, there are several directional arrangements to consider:


Vertical hanging is the most common direction for wallpaper installation. It involves aligning the wallpaper strips from ceiling to floor or top to bottom. This direction creates a sense of height and is suitable for most rooms. Vertical hanging works well with patterned wallpapers, particularly those with vertical stripes or motifs. It imbues the space with a classic and traditional look.


Horizontal hanging is an alternative direction where wallpaper strips are aligned from one side of the wall to the other, following the horizontal plane. Horizontal wallpaper can make a narrow room appear wider and add a contemporary touch to the space. It is especially effective with wallpapers featuring wide horizontal patterns or motifs.


Combining different wallpaper hanging directions within a single room can create a visually dynamic and appealing effect. By using different directions on specific walls or areas, you can highlight architectural features, create focal points, or add depth to the space. For example, one wall may have vertically hung wallpaper, while another wall adjacent to it may have horizontally hung wallpaper. Combination hang allows for greater creativity and customization.


Reverse hanging is a technique commonly used with natural, plain-colored, or lightly textured wallpaper with no repeating pattern. In this method, alternating strips of wallpaper are flipped or turned upside down before installation. Therefore, the first and second strips will be hung in opposite directions, and this procedure is repeated for each pair of strips that follows. The goal is to create a balanced and symmetrical look that effectively conceals variations in shading that can occur in a roll of wallpaper.

Because reverse hanging is an important yet underutilized method, it’s worth exploring this approach in more detail.

What Does Reverse Hanging Mean?

Reverse hanging is a technique that adds an extra layer of intricacy to wallpaper installation. In some cases, it is even recommended by the wallpaper manufacturer to achieve the right look. Here’s a detailed explanation of the process:

  1. Prepare the Wallpaper – Measure and cut the wallpaper strips as needed for installation, ensuring they are the correct length and width for the wall. Before hanging, mark the back of the wallpaper with an arrow indicating the top direction. This marking will help guide proper alignment during installation (sometimes the wallpaper will already be marked by the manufacturer).
  2. Reverse Every Other Strip – Start by hanging the first strip of wallpaper in the usual manner, following the chosen direction (e.g., vertical or horizontal). For the next strip, flip it upside down before applying the wallpaper paste or adhesive.
  3. Align the Strips – Carefully match the strips to ensure a seamless look, with no gaps between the edges.
  4. Maintain Consistency – Throughout the installation process, consistently alternate between regular hanging and reverse hanging. This helps in adding symmetry and visual interest to the room.

By flipping alternating strips, you can create a visually appealing and symmetrical pattern that adds depth and interest to the room. Reverse hanging can be a captivating choice that elevates your interior design.

Use ROMAN’s High-Quality Wallcovering Primers & Adhesives

Once you know how your wallpaper will be applied to the wall, it’s time to get the job done. When hanging wallpaper, it’s vital to use the right primers and related accessories. These products play a major role in ensuring that your wallcovering will remain securely fastened to the surface, without curling or premature deterioration, for years to come.

Fortunately, you can always rely on ROMAN for world-class primers, adhesives, removers, and similar wallcovering products. No matter what kind of wallcovering surface you’re working with, you can find suitable accessories in our product catalog.