Make a Statement With Decorative Archways
Although arches were first invented as a structural solution to spanning wide spaces, they need not be structural to have value. The Arc de Triomphe in Paris celebrates victories in the French Revolution and Napoleonic Wars. The Gateway Arch in Saint Louis, Missouri commemorates the pioneer spirit while marking the boundary between the Eastern and Western United States. Decorative archways have been used throughout history to memorialize accomplishments and define gateways. And they serve the same purposes in modern interior design.
Decorative Archways ValueBoth contractors building new residences or commercial offices, and do-it-yourself homeowners can add impact to their interiors with archways. According to Kelly Roberson, in an article for Better Homes and Gardens online magazine titled “Home Design Trends,” two modern approaches to home design are the addition of geometric features and open-space floor plans. Decorative archways are geometric features. They accent a room, drawing attention to it. The rounded shapes and soft curves evoke a sense of classic elegance. They break up the monotony of boxy shapes. They make the interior design memorable and might add resale value to a home or building. Arches make an entryway seem larger and/or taller than a rectangular door. Certain arches can define the type of décor used in an area. That is, a Gothic arch reminds people of Medieval Europe where a Tudor arch compels images of Tudor England.
Creating Zones in an Open-Floor PlanOpen-floor plans are very popular, but can be confusing to decorate, since certain sections of the floor plan are still be designated for specific functions, like separating a relaxing space from a dining area. Decorative archways are often used to designate zones in an expansive place, leaving the unobstructed view but keeping the functionality of the area intact. For example, a decorative arch can be used to separate the cooking part of a kitchen from the conversational or dining section. Likewise, an arch over a tub in the bathroom might create the feel of a Roman or Oriental bath house. Using an arch is a creative method of separating the foyer of an open space from the sitting area. Arches might be used to distinguish various seating groupings in an expansive entertainment area or to highlight a pool table from the media viewing part of a den.
Types of Decorative ArchwaysSoft Segmented Arches are the most popular type of arch in the United States. Half-Circle Arches are reminiscent of the Spanish era that add drama to a doorway. A wider arch like an Elliptical, Shoulder-Flat, or Corbel Arch spans a wider distance and is perfect for separating functional areas without building walls. Period-specific designs such as a Gothic or Tudor Arch set the stage for a classic décor. The more modern Bell Curve Arch offers a softer transition between areas with its gentle, flowing curves. Lastly, Window Arches add distinction to both the interior and exterior design of a house as well as allow more light into a room.
Innovative Uses of Decorative Archways
- It is relatively easy to convert a standard doorway into an arch and one way to add interest to an area or distinguish one room from another.
- Paint the underside of the archway a different color than the walls, ceiling and trim to add greater impact. To create an even more striking look, use colorful tiles to highlight the underside of an arch.
- Use tile, brick or stone to decorate the frame of the arch to draw more attention to the transition between places and create a decorative theme for the space.
- Use multiple arches to enhance a hallway or corridor.
- Use archways as a frame to the view beyond to draw attention to a piece of art or a window.
- Use arched French doors to isolate a room without blocking the view from the rest of the residence or building.
- Combine arched doorways with arch-shaped niches to repeat the geometric shape in various sizes or combine arched entrances with arched windows to juxtapose small and large similar shapes.
- Hide ambient lighting in archways or use them to draw attention to a chandelier.
- Use spanning arches to bring symmetry to oddly or sharply angled ceilings like those in a gable wall of a Cape Cod style house or an attic. They can also be used to make a small room appear larger.
- Combine archways with columns for a classical Greco-Roman design or a Grecian revival design like the Georgian style.
- Arched windows bring in more light and create a frame for the outside view from a room. They also add flair to the exterior design of a house or commercial building.