How an indoor archway can elevate your space

Graceful, elegant, whimsical… what’s not to love about an arch?

In more recent times indoor archways have tended to be viewed as a sad relic of the 60s and 70s (along with their friends the shag-pile carpet and the faux brick wallpaper). Not any longer. The archway is back – and with some clever Resene paint touches, it can elevate your space, add a dash of playfulness, and introduce an attractive focal point. Importantly, these curvaceous portals invite in a greater amount of light and create beautiful flow from one space to another.

Wall painted in Resene Sakura, arch painted in Resene Lonestar and floor in Resene Tom Tom. Project by Amber Armitage, image by Wendy Fenwick.

An archway also provides a graceful transition, signalling a change in mood or function between spaces. It’s up to you whether you want to herald this transition by underlining the archway’s presence or have it blend more subtly into the wider design scheme.

To modernise an archway choose a tonal colour scheme and use colour to connect the two rooms. Even if you are opting for the ‘ta dah’ approach, consider going tonal, i.e. sticking to the same colour family to retain that sense of cohesion and harmony.

To modernise an archway choose a tonal colour scheme and use colour to connect the two rooms. This arched hallway wall is painted in Resene Coast. The living room wall and coffee table are in Resene Half Dusted Blue with the lighter shade drawing the eye into the home’s social areas. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Find your niche

Where you have an arched nook with built in shelves, go for a bold, deep colour to accent the built form and draw your eye in. Painting the shelves the same shade will let your prized possessions hog the limelight (you paid for that fancy crystal so why not flaunt it?). Try a lovely rich copper brown like Resene Cinnamon and contrast it with a pale wall colour like Resene Half Ash. Go for something in between on the floor like grey-green Resene Half Innocence.

For an ultra-matte but velvety finish, use Karen Walker Chalk Colour available from Resene ColorShops. This finish can be enhanced with one of two waxes: Vintage and Clear.

Add a pop of an on-trend hue like terracotta to a space using an arch. Wall and floor painted in Resene Rice Cake, arch in Resene Papier Mache. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Just fake it

Don’t have an archway? Then grab a paintbrush and create one! It’s an easy and cost-effective way to reinvent your space – perfect for breaking up plain walls, delineating different zones in your home, providing an interesting focal point, or as a handy solution for cramped spaces like hallways where furniture is out of the question. There’s no limit to the painted archway’s uses: everything from attractive desk spaces and feature fireplaces to coat peg areas and faux headboards. Use Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen to turn an arch into a handy chalk board above a desk.

The best part it, it’s simple to do. You just need a pencil, some string and a drawing pin – effectively you’re making a giant compass.

First decide how wide you want your archway and cut the string to that length. Halve the string to get the radius of your arch. Use a level to draw straight lines in pencil up the wall to where you want the circle of the arch to begin. Use masking tape along the lines you’ve drawn to get a crisp edge when you paint. Find the centre of the width of the arch and hammer in a nail. Fasten the radius-length string to the end of your pencil, loop it around the nail, and hold it taut while you draw your circle. Place small pieces of masking tape along the line of the arch. Now you’re ready to paint!

Whether you’re adding an arch detail to your building plans or simply painting an arch in a quiet corner of your home, arches can add softness and a pleasing pop of colour to your home.

Use arches to demarcate spaces for working from home within an open plan living room. Wall and floor in Resene Rice Cake and arch in Resene Surrender. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

For help choosing colours and products to suit your projects, visit your local Resene ColorShop, ask a Resene Colour Expert online, or book a Resene Colour Consultation,

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