Revamp any room with a painted arch: Five curvaceous ideas

If there’s a room in your home that you feel needs a little reinvention, a painted archway could be just what you need. A complete room refresher doesn’t mean you need to splash out on new sofas or artwork, a paintbrush can do just the trick. Painting an arch is a fun and budget-friendly way to create a focal point in any part of your home, be it behind a dining table or bookshelf. An arch will add flair in both bold tones and subtle neutrals – either way, Resene has got you covered. Make way for the new: if there’s a room you have in mind that’s feeling dull, this is an instant-impact project you can easily do yourself.

Getting started

Arches in the architectural realm have long existed, popping up across ancient empires in the form of tombs, city gates and towers. But more recently, a revival of iconic Art Deco designs (like abstract arches and streamlined furniture) has seen the humble arch soar once more in popularity. Gracing walls are sleek arched mirrors and headboards, a nod to the movement’s design qualities. 

To create a painted archway you’ll need

  • A piece of string

  • A pencil

  • A drawing pin to attach the string to the wall

  • An angled brush and roller

  • Painter’s tape

  • Your Resene paint colour of choice

The steps:

  • First, mark where the top of the curve will hit on your wall. Attach one end of the string to this point with a pencil, and the other end to your pin and place your pin vertically below the top of your curve, The further away you place it the wider your arch will be (the length of the string will determine how big your arch is). Pull the string taut and trace the arch outline onto the wall.

  • Use a level and painter’s tape and mask two straight vertical lines from the edge of your arch down to the floor. Ensure you press it down firmly when you apply it.

  • Use a wide angled high quality paintbrush to paint your curve, feathering in the bottom edges of your strokes so you don’t end up with a hard line.

  • Take a roller and finish painting the remainder of your arch colour.

  • Once your first coat of paint has dried, apply your second coat in the same manner and remove your tape once your topcoat is dry to the touch.

Make a statement 

This inviting hallway is brought to life with its walls and floor in Resene Rice Cake, and the arch painted wall effect in Resene Papier Mache. Hook shelf in Resene Putty,shoe rack and vase in Resene Bullwhip and rattan vase in Resene Sandbar. Jute rug from Kmart. Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Image by Wendy Fenwick.

Embrace boldness and add an arch of colour in your hallway. Why not turn your shoe rack into a design feature? A painted arch will create depth and liveliness in an area often neglected design wise. Colour can really help set off a space, and that applies as much to hallways as it does kitchens and bedrooms. Create a warm and stylish spot for belongings with Resene PapierMache. Aim to create height by adding wall hooks and a fixed shoe rack. That way, you’re using more of the space and preventing clutter from building up on the floor. Layering a jute rug on the floor can help tie the look together. 

Set the mood

This dining nook features a wall and floor in Resene Rice Cake with the arch painted wall effect in Resene Half Rivergum. Table in Resene Spanish Green, pendant, chairs and arch vase in ReseneMangrove and plant pot and bowl in Resene Pumice. Wine glasses from Nood. Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Image by Wendy Fenwick.

Create a sophisticated dining space in an open plan room by painting a coloured arch, separating the area. Draw the eye to your dining nook and allow it to feel calmer with a tone like Resene HalfRivergum, a soothing grey-green. Colour theory suggests shades of green are grounding and create a sense of freshness, the perfect setting for serving up a meal. Forest tones soften harsher features too like tables and can make a dining space more welcoming. Alternatively, you could explore vibrant colours in your kitchen if it needs brightening and paint an arch as an impromptu backsplash. 

Workspace flair


An office space is jazzed up with an arch painted wall effect in Resene Surrender and wall and floor in Resene Rice Cake. Desk and pencil pot in Resene Foundry,chair, pendant and wall shelf in Resene Stack, tray and magazine filer in Resene Concrete and ribbed plant pot in Resene Surrender. Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Image by Wendy Fenwick.

If your workspace is feeling flat and leaving you uninspired to sit down for a day’s work, an arch is the perfect way to liven it up. Add flair but keep things subtle and sophisticated with an arch in Resene Surrender. A new backdrop will transform your houseplants too – greens pop against the cool of silver grey and come alive as feature pieces.

Create focus

This sophisticated space features an arch painted wall effect in Resene Napa and wall and floor in Resene Rice Cake. Side table, bowl and candleholder in Resene Triple Napa, fireplace vase in Resene Eighth Napa, fireplace in Resene Nero and small arch vase in Resene Tea. Armchair is from Nood, rug from Freedom, mirror from Kmart and bobble candles from Superette. Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Image by Wendy Fenwick.

Is your fireplace feeling underwhelming, or is it not serving as the focal point you want in a living room? A painted archway can offer that sense of focus you’re after. Invite guests to cosy up by the fire and make a bold statement with a painted fireplace in Resene Nero, and an arch in Resene Napa. Keep the curved theme going and complement your new wall feature with arch shaped decor like candles and vases.

Success in subtlety 

A cosy corner is brought to life with an arch painted wall effect in Resene Papier Mache and wall and floor in Resene Rice Cake. Side table in Resene Putty, tall vase in Resene Quarter Pavlova and vase with arched sides in Resene Bullwhip. Chair from Freedom, mirror from Mocka, throw from Adairs. Project by Vanessa Nouwens. Image by Wendy Fenwick.

A painted arch will enliven your space, create depth and embolden a room. Remember that the key to a successful arch is in its subtlety. You want a striking feature like this to complement the existing space around it. Find inspiration in the furniture and rugs you have in your existing space, and let your imagination run free from there.  Pick up a colour cue from something you already own and use it or a tone lighter or darker for your painted arch to help the arch feel like it belongs in the space.

Top tip

A wall painted in Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen can be used as a chalkboard which is handy for arches above desks, in children’s bedrooms and for shopping lists in kitchens.

Published: 09 Mar 2022

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing [email protected].

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