Close Give Feedback
Resene Paints - home page
Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube

Curves ahead – nail the arch trend

From the Resene decorating blog

Embrace your curves. Graceful, elegant, whimsical… what’s not to love about an arch? From soaring Gothic vaults and pointed Moroccan doorways to the softer curves of the Californian Spanish-style, archways have long been an architectural favourite.

However, 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.

A modern blue archway

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. Floor in Resene Surrender, pendant light in Resene Indian Ink, bench seat in Resene Quarter Powder Blue, hallway table in Resene Half Dusted Blue and vases and DIY artwork in Resene Dusted Blue, Resene Casper, Resene Avalanche and Resene Indian Ink. Sofa from Target Furniture, blue cushions from H&M Home, ribbed cushion from Farmers. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, 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.

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. For example you could use Resene Half Dusted Blue and Resene Quarter Powder Blue as the light hues; Resene Dusted Blue, Resene Periglacial Blue and Resene Casper as mid-range hues and Resene Shadowy Blue, Resene Avalanche and Resene Coast as dark hues. Resene Surrender provides the neutral for the flooring, tying together the two spaces.

Adding softness to an interior with an archway

Arches and curves are a way to introduce softness to an interior. Wall painted in Resene Sakura, arch painted in Resene Lonestar and floor in Resene Tom Tom. Jug in Resene Fountain Blue, books in Resene Fountain Blue and Resene Hot Toddy. Chair from Cintesi, duvets and pillows from Foxtrot Home, rug and cushions from Mulberi, artwork by Carmel Van Der Hoeven. Project by Amber Armitage, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Similarly, the archway leading to this bedroom is painted in Resene Lonestar, echoing the colour scheme within. The lighter bedroom wall is in Resene Sakura, providing a stylish contrast that still preserves a family tie with the darker hue.

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.

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!

Add a pop of terracotta with a painted arch

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, hook shelf Resene Putty and DIY shoe rack in Resene Bullwhip. Small accessories in Resene Travis, Resene Bullwhip, Resene Sandbar and Resene Putty. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Use arches to demarcate spaces

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. Desk in Resene Foundry, chair in Resene Half Resolution Blue shelf, rubbish bin, pendant and magazine file in Resene Concrete and vases and accessories in Resene Foundry, Resene Half Resolution Blue and Resene Black. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

A painted archway can even elevate the humble shoe rack (potentially the messiest of areas in most homes) to a stylish design feature. For our hallway rack (1.8m high x 1.2m wide) we’ve leaned into the shoe theme with a soft leathery tan, Resene Papier Mache. The floor and walls are painted in Resene Rice Cake, a clean starchy white with a tiny touch of yellow. Everything is nicely corralled within the shape, creating a pleasing sense of order.

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.

October 17, 2022

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.

Book a colour consult | Ask a Colour Expert | Ask a Paint Expert

Resene's decorating blog

Paint your home beautiful! Discover the latest decorating trends, tips and colour news.

Previous article
Previous «
Spin the classics

Return to the blog home page
Blog home

View the latest trends, tips and news

Next article
» Next

Embrace wabi sabi at home


Order online now:
Testpots | Paints | Primers and Sealers | Stains | Clears | Accessories

Get inspired Get inspired ! Subscribe      Get saving Get saving ! Apply for a DIY card

Resene Paints Ltd

Can't find what you're looking for? Ask us!

Resene Paints Ltd   –

Follow us on Facebook Follow us on Pinterest Follow us on Instagram Follow us on YouTube
Videos on how to paint and stain your house

Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.

What's new | Specifiers | Painters | DIYers | Artists | Kids | Sitemap | Home | TOP ⇧