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Flip the script

If there is one trend that’s been hugely popular over the past couple years, it’s arches. If you are building a new house or renovating your existing home, incorporating open Art Deco or Moroccan-inspired arch shaped doorways can allow greater light and flow from one space to another while also providing cosily defined areas for separate activities to take place.

But if you’re taking this route to incorporate the arch trend as a physical characteristic of your home, you’ll want to pay close attention to your colour scheme and how you apply it to the spaces on either side of your arch. Because this design creates sightlines where your other area is visible from the adjacent room you’re standing in, it’s best to take a unified approach to your colour palette in order to achieve a seamless, cohesive look that flows just as smoothly as your light and movement.

How to use arches in your living room

Shades of blue from pale blue to navy mood board

Shades of blue mood board

How to use arches in your living room

Mood board: Background in Resene Surrender with A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from top left to bottom right) Resene Coast, Resene Avalanche, Resene Periglacial Blue, Resene Half Dusted Blue, Resene Casper and Resene Dusted Blue, bowl in Resene Shadowy Blue, vase in Resene Dusted Blue and tealight holder in Resene Indian Ink. Rug from Kmart, waffle blanket from H&M HomeLounge: Side table in Resene Casper, Cabinet in Resene Avalanche, Plant pot in Resene Dusted Blue, Small blue vase (on book) in Resene Coast, Light blue vase (with three holes on each side) in Resene Casper, DIY artwork in Resene Casper, Pendant lamp in Resene Indian Ink.

A simple method to achieve this is by creating a single, unifying colour palette that can be leveraged in both of the spaces. However, this doesn’t mean you should necessarily take the same wall colour across both – which could end up looking boring or not provide enough depth or definition between the two areas. Depending on the tasks or activities that will be taking place in these spaces, you may also want to create a different mood for each. For example, you may want darker walls for a lounge where you can get cosy on the couch with family members to watch movies than you would in an adjacent space where you need to prepare food or work from home. Instead, you’ll want to make sure your colour palette includes light, mid-range and darker hues so that you can look to create inversed schemes in each space – one that’s light on dark and another that’s dark on light.

Art Deco or Moroccan-inspired arch shaped doorways

Paint: Wall in Resene Half Dusted Blue, Floor in Resene Surrender, Hallway in Resene Coast, Arch hallway table in Resene Dusted Blue, Bench seat in Resene Quarter Powder Blue, Arch coffee table in Resene Dusted Blue, Pendant lamp in Resene Indian Ink, Planter on console table in Resene Dusted Blue, Bowl in Resene Shadowy Blue, Small handed vase in Resene Dusted Blue, Round Tealight holder in Resene Indian Ink, Flat tealight holder (on coffee table) in Resene Avalanche, Small plant pot (on coffee table) in Resene Dusted Blue, Large plant pot (on floor, with big green plant) in Resene Casper, Cabinet in Resene Avalanche, White plant pot in Resene White Tall ribbed arch vase in Resene Bali Hai, DIY block artwork in Resene Casper (triangles) and Resene Dusted Blue (arches).   Accessories: Lido sofa, ottoman and single chair from Target; Round rug, coffee mug and Navy and grey patterned cushion from Kmart; Misty Mountains artwork from Simply Creative; Teddy throw and cushion in beige from Spotlight; Small blue cushion, light blue cushion, rug runner, waffle throw with tassel and light blue linen throw from H&M Home; Ribbed blue cushion from Farmers; Light blue throw from The Warehouse.

You may find it easier to rely on a tonal palette to execute this strategy, where all of the hues that you use are different variations from the same colour family – or even different strengths of the exact same one. Then, you’ll want to focus on choosing one to three light tones, one to three mid-range tones and one to three dark tones that sit well together as well as one true neutral, for balance.

How to change your living room with warm winter colours

Winter changeouts to your mood board

Winter changeouts to your mood board

How to change your living room with warm winter colours

Mood board: Background in Resene Surrender with A4 drawdown paint swatches in (from left to right) Resene Coast, Resene Avalanche, Resene Periglacial Blue, Resene Half Dusted Blue, Resene Casper and Resene Dusted Blue, arch vase in Resene Heathered Grey, round vase in Resene Kina Brown and tealight holder in Resene Periglacial Blue.  Winter changeout: Wall in Resene Half Dusted Blue, Floor in Resene Surrender, Coffee table in Resene Dusted Blue, Arch vase in Resene Heathered Grey, Round vase in Resene Kina Brown, Pendant lamp in Resene Indian Ink.

In these spaces, we relied on Resene Half Dusted Blue and Resene Quarter Powder Blue as our lights, Resene Dusted Blue, Resene Periglacial Blue and Resene Casper as our mid-range hues and Resene Shadowy Blue, Resene Avalanche and Resene Coast as our darks plus Resene Surrender as our neutral – which was used to paint our floor and flow between the two adjacent areas. In the far living space, we employed a ‘dark on light’ strategy with Resene Half Dusted Blue walls accented with the medium and dark hues painted on furniture, accessories and the pendant lamp. In the front space, we used light hues over darker ones, with walls in Resene Coast, a table in Resene Dusted Blue, a bench in Resene Quarter Powder Blue and smaller accents like vases, plant pots and candleholders primarily painted in our lightest Resene colours. We even created some DIY artworks using upcycled children’s block toys and a couple of framed canvases and painted in Resene Casper and Resene Dusted Blue to bring some of our mid to light tones higher up on the wall to draw the eye, helping the onlooker take in the full picture.

The result is a truly cohesive and unified space where the two areas feel at one with each other. And yet, each has its own distinct vibe to suit its individual purpose.

Paint project

DIY Wooden Block Art

Paint two small pre-framed canvases in two coats using Resene testpots in your choice of colours – we painted ours in Resene Casper and Resene Dusted Blue.

How to make wooden block artworks

Paint upcycled children’s wooden building blocks in two coats the same hues. We painted our triangle blocks in Resene Casper and the arch shaped ones in Resene Dusted Blue.

Once your blocks and canvases have dried, use a hot glue gun to attach the blocks to the canvases in your desired layout. Allow your projects to dry overnight before hanging.

Styling by Vanessa Nouwens. Photography by Wendy Fenwick. 2022


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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.