Arches are making a big comeback this year – interior designers advise how to make the most of them

Bring out the character of indoor arches in your house with these expert design tips – they're the most sought-after architectural feature this year

White kitchen with interior arches
(Image credit: Future)

Indoor arches are the most sought-after architectural feature of 2021, and no wonder. Arches are one of those features that are a gift to the design-conscious home dweller – even if you do nothing special to this characterful feature, it adds a romantic, Old-World feel to a home that no other architectural element can quite achieve. 

Arches visually draw attention to the height of your walls, making any room look more spacious. Whether it's part of hallway ideas or living room ideas, an arch instantly elevates a space – and there are several clever design decisions you can make to help this beautiful feature stand out even more. 

Making interior arches stand out

Light blue interior with an arch

(Image credit: Future)

Of course, an arch will still look beautiful even if your entire space is just painted white – it will still add dimension and depth to a room. However, for a really striking effect, nothing works better than creating a contrast between the arch and the adjacent wall. This can be achieved by painting the arch a different color. 

Ruth Mottershead, Creative Director Little Greene, advises that 'A pop of bright, rich contrasting color on an archway, either on the inside of the arch or around it is a great way to add impact and an element of surprise to an otherwise muted scheme.'

If you want to create an even more intense look, consider wallpapering the surrounding wall. Ruth says: 'Combining paint and wallpaper is a fantastic way of highlighting an arch. Consider the view through an archway and use it to frame a contrasting color or a burst of pattern for a touch of drama. Highlight architectural detailing in a deeper bolder shade or one picked out from a wallpaper pattern.'

Draping your arch with a sumptuous curtain is another option – this will draw even more attention to it. Matteo Bianchi, Founder and Director at award-winning Matteo Bianchi Studio explained: 'For us, the real magic happens when an archway is clothed in curtains either side and topped with backlight to set the right tone and ambiance to achieve the overall majestic effect.'

Whitehall Moutarde wallpaper, Little Greene

Whitehall Moutarde wallpaper, Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Interior with an arch

(Image credit: Future)

Paint or wallpaper effects are not the only way to emphasize an interior arch – you can also use the arch as a gallery wall to maximize on the added depth it creates. This is one of those natural gallery wall ideas that almost would be a shame not to utilize. 

The most important thing to bear in mind here is that you'll need to respect the proportions of the arch and not overwhelm it with too many frames. Opt for a restrained, graphic scheme with dark frames all in the same size for the most striking effect. 

Wallpaper, Little Greene

Wallpaper, Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

What if I don't have an arch?

Sackville wallpaper, Little Greene

(Image credit: Little Greene)

Arches mainly feature in late-nineteenth-century homes, so although they're not exactly rare, not everyone has one in their home. If you want to benefit from the bespoke look this feature adds to a home, you can actually have one added, especially if you're converting your home to an open-plan layout. 

Tony Marsden, the owner of First Choice Extensions, specialists in extending and converting properties, said: 'We find that archways are most common in people converting their living spaces into an open-plan setting, usually when someone wants to knock down the walls and build out the space between their living room and kitchen areas.'

'Archways can be difficult to build, but not at all impossible. Our clients choose them because it can add character to a space and create a smoother transition between two areas of their house.'

If you're not ready for a large-scale building project, you can create the illusion of an arch by either painting one on, or, for even less effort, hanging an arch-shaped mirror or arched wall art

Whether it is built-in or painted add some arch-shaped magic to your home. 

Anna K. Cottrell
Freelance writer

Anna is a professional writer with many years' experience. She has special interests in architecture, photography, and high-end interior design. Her work has appeared in Homes & Gardens, Gardeningetc, and many other publications.