How to remove frame marks from a wall – the experts reveal their top tips

If you’ve ever removed a mirror, painting or hanging print to be met by a discoloured patch or wall or a mark, here’s what to do

Living room with dark grey walls and gallery wall
(Image credit: Future PLC)

Many of us will have hung some artwork or maybe even a few mirrors throughout our homes. And if you rent you may have even taken the additional precaution of using a command strip to arrange your gallery wall ideas, since you usually can’t make any holes in the walls. 

But even taking that extra step can still leave you with a very visible issue when you go to move or change your wall hangings around. And that is the marks that are left behind by frames.

‘Often hanging frames can leave behind discolouration marks visible when the frame is removed from the wall,’ asserts Melody Maison’s interior expert Anna Elkington. 

‘There are two main reasons why removing a frame or other hanging from your wall can leave behind a slightly lighter or darker mark,’ says Tim Warren, DIY expert at Adkwik. ‘If the wall is in an area where it is exposed to a lot of sunlight, UV light may have discoloured the uncovered areas of the wall, causing paint to become lighter or darker.’ 

Gallery wall in room with green wall panelling

(Image credit: Future PLC)

Alternatively, ‘the area where the wall hanging was located is a clean spot on the wall, as unlike the uncovered parts of the wall it has not been exposed to dirt and dust,’ suggests Tim. 

So, while dirt naturally accumulates over time, often in a way that isn’t noticeable until you go to take down your wall hanging. But either way, both leave you with some kind of mark on your wall.

How to remove frame marks from a wall

So, how do you go about removing these marks without causing any further discolouration or damage to the wall? Well, the experts are sharing their top tips as well as a step-by-step guide to deal with the common problem.

What you’ll need

  • A gentle dish soap or mild all purpose cleaner
  • Two soft sponges or microfibre cloths – one damp and one dry
  • Paint primer and paint

What to do if the mark has been caused by dirt or debris

Whether the mark has been caused by UV damage or an accumulation of debris or dirt, you’ll want to start by dusting the wall before you go on to remove the marks. Take a dry cloth or sponge and gently dust the area.

If the mark appears to be because the surrounding area has gotten a bit dirty or dusty, while the wall under the frame has remained dust-free, ‘mix a small amount of mild detergent with warm water and lightly dampen a clean cloth. Gently clean the marked area with the cloth, being careful not to scrub too hard or saturate the wall,’ says Tim.

‘Remember to always test any cleaning solution or paint on a small, inconspicuous area before applying it to a larger, more visible area,’ warns William Byrne, DIY Expert from ADA Fastfix.

Large picture over a fireplace in pink room

(Image credit: Future PLC)

‘Once you’ve cleaned the area, wipe it down again to clean any leftover soap that’s still on the wall,’ suggests  Myles Robinson from Then take your dry cloth and pat the area clean. 

‘Leave this patch to dry and assess the area to see if there is any improvement in discolouration,’ Anna advises. Check to see if this has removed the mark, either slightly or completely. ‘There is a chance that the cleaning you’ve just done has helped to get rid of the mark and the wall is back to a mark-free state,’ says Myles. But if it isn’t, it’s time to move onto the next step.

galllery wall over white staircase

(Image credit: Future PLC)

What to do if the mark has been caused by UV damage

If cleaning the wall hasn’t removed the mark, it is likely that the mark has been caused by a lack of UV exposure, or sunlight. Because the sun has essentially bleached the paint on the rest of the wall, even if only slightly, when you remove your frame you will notice a different shade – the original one – underneath.

If this is the case, ‘the best solution is to repaint the wall,’ according to Tim. ‘You could try to repaint just the affected area if you still have some of the original paint left, however it is likely it will still be a different colour.’

‘For the best results, wash the walls completely and allow them to dry, then prepare them with a primer before finally painting,’ Tim recommends.

‘Try feathering the edges of the touch up area so that it blends with the rest of the wall. And wait until the paint is dried completely before you decide whether it blends in with the wall or if it needs another coat of paint,’ Myles concludes.

Frames on a green wall

(Image credit: Future PLC)

If you are a renter and you're not sure what paint the landlord used initially you can try colour-matching it as you would when fixing chipped paint on furniture. The easiest way to do this without having to guess what colour it was with paint swatches is to chip off a small piece of the wall in a hidden area and take this to your local colour-matching service like Valspar at B&Q. You will need the sample to be 0.5cm minimum to colour match. Once you have your paint sample you can fill in with poly filler and paint over it. 

Alternatively, if chipping into a wall makes you nervous you can try a photo colour match. Just ensure you have taken a picture of the wall in good light to make the match as accurate as possible.

Ellis Cochrane

Ellis Cochrane has been a Freelance Contributor for Ideal Home since 2023. She graduated with a Joint Honours degree in Politics and English from the University of Strathclyde and between her exams and graduation, started a lifestyle blog where she would share what she was buying, reading and doing. In doing so, she created opportunities to work with some of her dream brands and discovered the possibility of freelance writing, after always dreaming of writing for magazines when she was growing up.

Since then, she has contributed to a variety of online and print publications, covering everything from celebrity news and beauty reviews to her real passion; homes and interiors. She started writing about all things homes, gardens and interiors after joining Decor & Design Scotland as a Freelance Journalist and Social Media Account Manager in 2021. She then started freelancing at House Beautiful, Country Living and in Stylist’s Home team. Ellis is currently saving to buy her first home in Glasgow with far too many Pinterest boards dedicated to her many design ideas and inspirations.