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Arches in Interior Design: Yay or Nay?

Arches have been trending for awhile. And it’s no surprise because as modern farmhouse mania winds down, the trends swing to softer, warmer interiors and exteriors.

Lately, arches are showing up often on my eDesign clients’ inspiration boards. But here’s the thing about this trend, it doesn’t fit in every single house.

I’m not going to get into the architectural history and nuances of arches, that’s not my wheelhouse. But I DO get front row seats to trends. And arches–which not too long ago everyone was in a hurry to remove from their homes–are now a look.

So, why are arches suddenly trending?

I suspect arches are trending, at least partly because modern minimalism, aka styles with severity and sparseness, is not as popular. And, it’s moving much lower on wish lists lately. I think this is because we are collectively tired of stark and linear black and white exteriors and interiors full of pointy, hard corners. 

Curvy furniture has been trending for a while now, as well as arched mirrors and curio cabinets. I’m all for incorporating curves into interior design. After all, most rooms are boxy, filled with straight lines and sharp corners. And, it can even make your home look more expensive

Adding curves can also help soften that rigid feel, especially in spaces with black-and-white color schemes, where the sharpness can be even more pronounced.

Here’s a look at where arches are having a moment right now.

Design Trend: Arched Front Entry

arched entry

Hello Lovely

arched doorway

Design Trend: Arched Windows

arched windows

Melanie Jade Design

Design Trend: Arched Interior Passages or Hallways

arched passage way

Brooke Wagner Design

Kitchen Design Trend: Arched Hood Fans

I talked about the stone backsplash and arched hood fan trend in detail here

arched hood fan

Rue Daily

A Look at More Inspiring Arches in Homes

Many inspiration boards we’ve received lately from clients for an exterior eDesign consultation look something like this:

eDesign inspiration board

Arches are often seen on exteriors of Tudor and Victorian style homes, where decorative elements are emphasized.

You’ll also see them on Mediterranean and Adobe style homes where the earthen building materials lend themselves to curves. 

adobe arches

My So Cal’d Life

Will arches work with the style of my home?

Right now, no one seems to be asking the most important question: are built in arches (whether it’s entryways,  hallways or windows) right for the style of their house?

My feeling is if you have a Mediterranean, Adobe, or other historic style where arches work, sure. If you’re building a new home and you will intentionally be creating a look with pitched roof lines and plan to include arches as a feature both inside and out, maybe.

But if you’re wondering if you should change a couple openings in your interior simply because you like the look of an arch, you’re probably falling for a trend. It’s unlikely that adding one or two arches will look right in just any house. 

And if that’s the case, I recommend sticking to some arched decor instead. That way you can still indulge in the arch trend. So try adding arched mirrors, cabinets or even a curved chair to your decor. And that’ll save you from some likely regrets later.

Arches in Interior Design: Yay or Nay?

I’d love to hear what you all think about this arch trend.

Is it a fad? Is it here to stay? Are you loving the look?

Related posts:

Is White Worth the Extra Maintenance? Yay or Nay

Fourth Rule of Design: Trendy Equals Temporary

The Trendy English Country Kitchen: How to Get the Look

 

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23 Comments

  • Carissa says:

    I also see these arches (dated) in the Tuscan trend, in the form of a semi circle transom topping a regular door or window.

    We JUST added arches to our new (2024) build, (traditional Acadian style house) to the interior walkways, front facing windows, and our front door to give it a softer look. I would happily send you photos and you can honestly judge whether they look trendy in a newer home. I’ve worried that, like the semicircle window on top of a rectangular window or door, this arched window look will eventually “date” the home.

  • Kas says:

    I volunteer to graciously donate all the arches from my house! I’m in a typical brown 2009-era house in Texas and despise all the arches in my home. They’re EVERYWHERE. The oh-so-popular-here giant 2 story arch exterior leading to the front door, arched interior doorways, arches along the 2nd story catwalk hallway, arches between the open concept “rooms,” and my least favorite of all…half moon mini-windows stacked above other windows.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love my house overall & I’m grateful for having the privilege of owning a home, but I yearn to square off all the damn arches. Lol

    I’ve seen them in other homes & thought they looked classic and lovely. Not so much in mine where (IMO) they don’t match whatever style this home is considered. The exterior is the hodge podge mixed material Austin stone/brick/siding with varying roof pitches that’s super popular around here.

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    • Marjorie says:

      Hmmm…I know exactly the kind of house you’re talking about. The same kind were very popular builds in AZ where some of my extended family live. Yeah…the arched doors/doorways and windows I love are typically in much older homes. And many of them are more cottage-like.

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    • Vicki C says:

      We lived in similar house in DFW TX area that was built in 2005 (not by us) there were several arches outside and in—
      I liked them—took away from the sterile boxy feel because the Sheetrock corners at doorways were rounded vs right-angles. We had a barrel ceiling in the entry hall with arched front doorway…and these were tall ceilings—10 ft in rooms and 25 in entry (not a fat of those so much)…but the exterior was brick and stone—no stucco or Hardiplank siding that looks like stucco—
      So it was a mashup of styles — like much of subdivisions in TX…

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    • Traci says:

      I so feel your pain – we have an 06 Tuscan Texas home and it feels to me like the homeowner told the builder “I want tall ceilings, I want ornate scrollwork, I want arches everywhere, I want it all!” And the builder said yes. Lots of rooflines, arches that don’t match the others and generally a lot to take in for the eyes. Definitely working slowly on minimizing the drama of too many competing ideas!

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  • Marjorie says:

    My great-aunt’s 1920s home had arched doorways, as did my husband’s grandmother’s home Their homes always felt gracious, welcoming, and comfortable…and I love old European homes/buildings with arched doors and windows, so that element has always been one I gravitate toward. I tend to like what I like, whether it’s trending or not.

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  • Beth says:

    I have two arched entrances to my dining room and two into my great room. The sides of each arch have decorative columns. The house is stucco and built in 1995. I love, love, love those arches and don’t consider them trendy.

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  • Vicki C says:

    There has been a trend for a white for the English cottage kitchen and to some extent I think arches are tied to a bungalow/cottage look—
    We did vacation in CA decades ago and stayed in Santa Barbara—the barrel roof, stucco exterior look is (or was) strong there and that often comes with arched doorways and windows—
    I think to some degree the Spanish/Moorish influence in Spanish design features arches—so there is somewhat of a Spanish influence in the Santa Barbara look—w/o that dated brown Tuscan trend
    When you look at the hallways with a series of arched openings, a feeling of comfort, womb-like protection is a reaction but there has to be enough width to the hall and the opening that preclude claustrophobic/squeezing feeling. That means a generous dimension of space—something that newer and generally smaller homes often lack.
    And FWIW—the ancient superstition of hanging a horseshoe with the end up to capture luck is the opposite of the arch where all the “luck” spills out

  • Stephanie says:

    I agree this arches design question, like all others, depends on the home and the era of it’s design. I think it’s interesting that over the past 15+ years so many people rushed to remove trim finishes, paneling, and tore out “outdated” arched thresholds and now suddenly they are racing back. Such a shame to tear out craftsmanship that is hard to come by these days. With the internet, the expansion of home remodeling/design media and Pinterest it seems trend shifts have sped up tremendously. Timeless design and appreciation for quality has been around for hundred of years. Maybe there’s something to it.

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  • Gina says:

    I love our smaller vintage foursquare home and could see an opportunity for two arches on the first floor, but the two openings are of different sizes. Side by side, the two different-sized arches will look like a mistake. I’ve loved the arches in vintage apartments that I’ve lived in, but this house is a little too square for one!

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  • As a window treatment expert, do not do arches in a room you need privacy or light control! The only way to cover these, that looks good, is a shutter or if it works draperies. Blinds will have to be mounted above on the wall, or at the horizontal point in the arch window. I am working on a new build right now and they have put arches in almost every room, including the master bath with a tile surround. There is no easy and esthetic way to give them privacy in this window without compromising the beautiful look.

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  • KB says:

    My last house was a beautiful, classic 1929 colonial. When I was customizing my new build townhouse two years ago I requested an arch in between the living room and kitchen instead of the open floor plan design they usually build. The builder had to find someone who could do it because they hadn’t built an arch in over a decade. I also went with a lot of other timeless choices (wainscoting, fancy newel post, unlacquered brass hardware, warm tones) so an arch looks like it should just be there. Where I live builders are still getting requests for gray floors and gray walls so it appears that I am still the outlier.

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  • Christine Johnson says:

    Yes arches are everywhere and it’s hard not to take part. I live in a home built in 2001 that is a light-filled “nod” to Arts&Crafts – squares and linear lines were everywhere. I chose to give into the arch fad.

    After a plumbing disaster that required four months of rescue work I changed a rectangular niche housing a grandfather clock for an arched lighted cabinet. Why? It softens the look of all the right angles going on in the home. It aligns with the nature inspired fabric choices, whether tone on tone or William Morris rugs. And as a focal point coming down the hall into the main living space it will delight my eye. (But – curved furniture, I have my limits. And that will not last.)

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  • Lorri says:

    I don’t consider something as ancient as an arch to be trendy, UNLESS it’s incorporated into the wrong architecture — then it’s trendy as hell.

    When they fit the house, I love them. I especially love the super wide arches that people sometimes put on a back window with a great view.

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  • Joanna says:

    While I love the look of arches in homes on Instagram and Pinterest, I know they would look all wrong in my open floor plan rancher built in 2004. People need to realize not every look fits their home and just enjoy the pretty pictures. I remember people taking out arches, especially those arched nooks that were popular for a while. I’m curious how your clients react when you, or your design team, tell them it won’t look good, or right in their new build. Are they accepting or still want arches?

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  • Ann E Crutchfield says:

    I love arches. However, I have a different comment on your first picture (the lovely entryway). There are no railings for folks (i.e. old people) to use when climbing the steps. After my husband broke his hip I become much more aware to the little thinks that make a difference for those with mobility issues. When we remodeled our bathroom I found ADA grab bars that were attractive (and,yes, I followed your advice and used subway tile..thank you, thank you!). In addition to making improvements that you will ‘love forever’, what about a blog post on improvements that will let you LIVE in your house forever?

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  • Nancy says:

    Just moving from Montana to Arizona .
    I’m now seeing a lot of arches .
    But there is also a lot of Spanish new builds

    I do think the arches look good in the Spanish designs .
    As long as they aren’t over done .
    I think
    You can over do anything .
    A few can make it special over done becomes monotonous .
    We are having a desert modern built and wouldn’t put any arches in that design .
    But I might add a curved chair to the inside to break
    Up all the clean lines a round table etc .’

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  • Angela Gallegos says:

    We have a Spanish home that has a couple arched openings inside but little character beyond that. Everything is very builder grade. There’s a rectangular TV niche in the family room that could be a lot more interesting as an arch, as well as a kitchen pass through / pony wall. My hope is that I can gradually introduce more subdued Spanish character inside the home. While Spanish design isn’t my first love, I can appreciate that it’s what this home needs.

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  • Ally says:

    We have a little 1930’s stucco cottage style house. It doesn’t have exterior arches although a few in the neighbourhood do. It does have a beautiful wide plaster arch angled from the front hall into the living room. One has to walk down the hall and turn to enter the living room. I guess it was situated in such a way to prevent gust of cold air blowing directly into the living room space from the front hallway. Anyway it always impresses people!
    My grand parents had an early ‘30’s Tudor cottage in West Toronto with cased arches, so beautiful!
    What I really find ‘trendy’ are those 1990’s early 2000 fake Palladian windows that were featured in every suburb in the land. My in laws have one in a house they bought in 1996 that my MIL disliked. I’ve noticed TV design mavens removing the arch when redesigning houses from that era. As someone mentioned above they must be hell to choose window treatments for….I remember once seeing sheer curtain material gathered in to a rosette over an arched window for a principal bedroom….desperate times call for desperate measures but that was a bad look for any era.

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  • Kim says:

    I have five arches within spitting distance of where I’m sitting right now. That’s because I’m in a 1941 bungalow and arches were in back then. I think they are sweet and cozy and appropriate for the right house, of course.

  • Elizabeth B says:

    I’m updating my 1952 home and including an arched dutch front door. I’m working with an architect and contractor to give the simple rambler a cozy, cottage feel and arched doorways are huge for that, IMO.

    Funny to hear it’s considered trendy now. I’ve been wanting to do this update for 15 years and we’re just now getting started.

    I’ve been looking at a lot of photos of interior archways and it seems they look most dated when they don’t have crown molding around them and are the only rounded element in a room.

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