Not sure how to jazz up that boring white wall? Looking to introduce a pop of color to your living room but don't want to go overboard? A painted arch may be the solution for you. We spoke with DIY experts who have mastered the art of the painted arch in their own homes and are full of advice for those looking to hop on board with this fun trend.
Where to Paint an Arch
Arches are extremely versatile and can be enjoyed by minimalists and maximalists alike. As Francesca Stone of Fall for DIY explains, "An arch can create a more focused area inside a busy room, drawing the eye and allowing that space to feel calmer, or it can create a more interesting visual experience in a minimal space."
Love the look of arches but not sure where to incorporate one into your space? Know that all eyes will be on your design, so you'll want to pick a spot accordingly. "Arches tend to create a focal point within a room, so it’s good think about what you want to draw attention to, or away from, when picking your placement," stylist and renovator Josie Davis says.
If you have a white or neutral-colored wall that could use a little pizzazz, then you're in luck. "I find the best place to paint a shape is where you wish there was something architectural," creator Jessie Ruane notes. "If it's just a huge blank wall—jackpot." Or perhaps you're simply dealing with a wall that's proved troublesome because of its location in your home. Explains DIYer Meg Baker, "I put my arch on this super awkward wall that can’t really have much on it because it’s a high traffic area. So, why not make it beautiful?"
What Colors to Use When Painting an Arch
No need to go bright and bold if that isn't your thing. "If you're nervous about choosing a color, I would stick with something neutral or pastel," Ruane suggests. "Find inspiration in the furniture or rugs that you already have in the space. Are there pops of green in your rug? Mimic that on your walls!" And it's A-OK to do a little research first—after all, painting is somewhat of a commitment. "No shame in grabbing paint chips at the hardware store and holding them up to the furniture in your room," Ruane adds.
And if you're on the fence about whether you'd like to paint an entire room in your home, an arch may be the perfect experiment. "Arches are a great way to incorporate color for those who aren’t ready to commit to a full room of color," Davis says. Or maybe you're adding an arch to a room that already has some paint on the walls. "You can also create a beautiful tonal look by choosing a similar color you already have in your space, but going with a lighter or darker shade," Davis suggests.
Stone, however, is a fan of going bold. "When choosing colors, go for a contrasting tone to the wall behind it," she says. "This doesn’t have to be bright or out of your usual comfort zone, but the arch needs to be well defined to make an impact."
How to Style Furniture and Decor Near an Arch
There are numerous ways to use arches to enhance your existing furniture and decor arrangements. In fact, they may solve a longstanding design problem or two. Notes Chelsea of Making Manzanita, "It's a great way to make the furniture look like it belongs there. This effect works best if the sides of the arch match up exactly to the sides of the furniture, so be sure you measure correctly."
Davis believes that arches look beautiful behind furniture items of all kinds—sofas, bar carts, dressers, you name it. "I love highlighting a great piece of furniture with an arch," she says. "I used a painted arch in our guest room to create a focal point for the vintage desk that otherwise felt lost in the space."
Another popular approach is installing open shelving inside an arch, which Stone says "is a great way to up your styling game." And she offers a suggestion for those looking to add a little more oomph: "Paint your shelving the same color as the arch, or go bold and use a contrasting color to make them pop!"
Really, though, the sky is the limit—and the more dramatic an arrangement, the better. Notes Carrie Waller of Dream Green DIY, "I've seen creative DIYers put china cabinets and framed art on top of arches, they've hung plants in front of them to give the trailing vines a fun geometric background, and I've even spotted handmade painted arches that stretch all the way up and onto the ceiling so that it's impossible to miss, no matter what you slide up against it in the room."
But serial redecorators will want to keep in mind that the location of an arch may dictate your furniture configuration. Waller was forced to get a bit creative after she introduced a new set of nightstands to her bedroom and noticed that her painted arch headboard was no longer centered behind her bed. "Give yourself lots of leeway on either side of your painted arch to allow for multiple different furniture arrangements as time goes on," she advises.
What to Avoid When Adding an Arch to Your Home
It's important that the arch you create is nice and neat—you'll want to take your time to properly make a game plan before busting out that paintbrush. Ruane suggests using the "string-nail-pencil technique," which she says is key to mastering a perfect curve. "Unless you're a pro with a paintbrush, I would use a little sponge brush to paint the outline," she says. "Take your time, you'll thank yourself in the end."
But if your arch comes out less than ideal despite every effort, don't sweat it. "What I love most about paint based trends are that they’re fairly easy and affordable to change or update," Davis says. "If you don’t like the color you chose you can easily paint over it until you find the right color for you." And there's bound to be human error involved with any project of this kind, she adds, noting, "You can always go over it again to smooth out your lines. Painted arches are a fun and easy way to change up your space, so don’t let yourself get too obsessed with making it perfect on the first try."