Arches lend drama, sophistication, and architectural elegance to any living room. Whether you opt for a rounded Roman arch, an ornate Gothic arch, or a rustic horseshoe arch, this structural element brings lovely style when incorporated thoughtfully into your decor. Keep reading to discover why you should consider an archway in your living room along with tips for choosing the right arch, decorating and framing it beautifully, and even installing one yourself.
The Visual Power of Arches
Arches create visual interest and provide depth to living room spaces in some key ways:
- Focal Point – A stately arch instantly draws the eye, becoming a natural centerpiece over a fireplace, window, or entryway.
- Separation – Arches define different functional zones like sitting and dining areas in open floor plans.
- Architectural Flair – The graceful curves and contours add elegance and sophistication.
By highlighting doorways and framing beautiful architectural features, arches add both style and functionality when thoughtfully placed. They provide separation without totally closing off the space. This makes them a wonderfully versatile design choice.
Choosing the Right Arch Style
When incorporating an arch design in your living room, consider the effect you want to create and the room’s existing architectural style. Here are some popular arch styles and their key features:
The semicircular Roman arch has a classic elegance. Its smooth, curved silhouette feels both traditional and timeless. Rounded arches work well in formal living rooms as well as more relaxed cottage-style spaces.
Pointed Gothic arches have an elegant, sweeping shape inspired by cathedrals and medieval architecture. They bring a touch of grandeur and drama. Gothic arches pair nicely with vaulted ceilings.
For an arch with natural, organic lines, the trefoil or three-lobed arch adds lovely visual interest. Its asymmetrical shape gives trefoil arches a more casual, playful vibe than symmetrical arches.
Also called Moorish arches, horseshoe arches have an open rounded shape like an upside-down U. They bring to mind Spanish Mission or Southwestern architecture. Horseshoe arches strike a rustic yet stylish tone.
Materials and Construction
Arches can be created from various materials to complement your living room’s aesthetic. Consider how the texture and finish of each material impacts the overall look and feel of the space:
Wood brings a natural, warm look in materials like cedar, redwood, or oak. Carved wood arches add lovely rustic texture. But wood can be susceptible to warping over time. Proper installation is key.
Stone and Brick
Natural quarried stone like limestone or slate lends an organic, earthy feel, especially when left unfinished. Mortared brickwork in patterns adds nice contrast. But stone and brick are very heavy, requiring a sturdy frame.
Plaster arches lend an elegant, finished look with their smooth facades and sculpted details. Ornate plaster moldings create gorgeous classical accents. Painting or faux-finishing plaster also allows for more design flexibility.
Wrought iron and other metals like bronze or steel create an industrial, contemporary look. Metals can be forged into delicate custom shapes or left with a raw, rustic patina. But metal conducts heat and cold, so insulation may be needed.
Defining Spaces and Creating Focal Points
Placement of your archway within the living room impacts how it defines the space. Here are some tips for creating maximum impact:
Greet guests in style by framing your living room’s main entryway with a substantial arch. This makes a bold first impression.
Carve out a sitting area or lounge zone within a larger open living space using an arch as a refined room divider. The arch maintains an airy, connected feel.
Draw all eyes to the fireplace by accentuating it with a sweeping arch. For added allure, use recessed lighting to create a cozy glow within the arch.
Decorating Arches with Style
Once your arch is designed and installed, there are endless possibilities for decorating it to complement your living room’s style. Some chic and creative arch dressing ideas include:
For serious drama, install recessed lighting within the arch itself to create a spotlight effect. Wall sconces and pendant lights hung from the arch add lovely ambiance.
Moldings and Ornamentation
Frame the arch with extra architectural details like dentil molding, fluted columns, or elaborate tilework to highlight its graceful shape.
Furnishings and Fabrics
Dress up the archway with art, ornate mirrors or tapestries hung from the wall above. Drapery panels hung around the sides add softness.
Consider painting the arch itself with metallic paints or faux finishing techniques like sponging and stippling to create visual texture and depth.
DIY Installation Tips and Tricks
While complex stone arches require professional masonry skills, there are also creative ways to add an archway on your own. Some DIY possibilities include:
Framing the Opening
Build a simple wood arch over a wall opening using carefully measured and cut lumber pieces joined together and anchored securely.
Affix decorative molding pieces cut to shape to form an arch over a basic wall opening for a quick upgrade.
Paint or wallpaper faux paneling and architectural details onto a flat wall to create a trompe l’oeil archway illusion.
An archway can transform your living room from basic to beautiful. So go ahead – arch it up with style!