A painted arch accent wall can make a plain stretch of wall into a real show-stopper, and it can be done freehand or even easier with Cricut.
Our upstairs hallway is a little wonky. Half of it is a catwalk that connects the guest bedroom to the rest of the house, and half of it is a more-or-less traditional hallway. But there is this section of wall just outside of Baris’s room, that had been a desolate wasteland for almost a year.
Here’s a half-painted look at the wall in question. This was my “oh crap!” version of a “before” picture that I only remembered a quarter of the way through painting the wall a few months ago. I was a little overzealous with my painting, as these upstairs walls were (almost) the last walls left to be painted in the house, not including (at the time) the guest bedroom, the master bath and the master closet.
Anyway, it’s a pretty big chunk of wall space in a weird neighborhood of our house. Directly across from that wall is the doorway to the master bedroom and the staircase downstairs. Since it leads to the unoccupied guest bedroom, that section of hallway and the adjoining catwalk don’t get a lot of foot traffic. But since it is directly across from our bedroom, it gets seen several times a day.
The wall needed something. The white paint was just a new beginning.
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In our staircase makeover post, you can spy a cabinet that we pushed against this wall and flanked with a couple of faux trees.
It was a start, but not only did that IKEA cabinet need doors (the subject of next week’s post), but the wall was still looking a little blah.
Handan’s solution was to add a painted arch.
Ahhhh, the arch! What better symbol of humanity’s evolution from hairy louse-pickers to hairless mouse-clickers! The arch has been used in construction for at least 6000 years and as a design element for nearly as long. There is something so familiar, inviting, comfortable and exotic in an arch.
I thought it was a perfect idea for that space.
Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock (or under an arch bridge, perhaps?), you’ve seen painted arches all over Pinterest and Instagram. There is nothing new about them (6000 years, remember?).
At it’s most basic, a DIY accent wall painted arch can be eyeballed and free-handed, and bugger the lopsided consequences.
Those with a more discerning eye can take the added step of taping a nail into the wall, tying on a length of string and scribing a pencil-line arch onto the wall before taking up their brush or roller and attempting to paint inside the lines.
Look, madam – you couldn’t paint inside the lines in kindergarten (at least I couldn’t), so what on earth makes you think you can do it now??
Fortunately for shaky-handed and non-nearsighted folk like us, Handan has a better way.
But isn’t that always the case? It’s too bad my babes is so bukbukbuk chicken about being on video, because she could have her own show called “A Better Way with Handan Navage,” and I think it would be a hit.
Anyway, Handan’s Better Way for this project was to use Cricut Design Space to make an arch from a circle and then cut it with our Cricut Maker 3, so we could turn it into a stencil. Maker 3 has the ability to cut up to 12 feet in one go using Smart Materials, so the length of our arch (about 40 inches) was covered. But because Maker 3 still only cuts about 12 inches wide, we had to cut our arch in sections and assemble those sections later to achieve the 18 inch height.
Here’s how our stencil looked after trimming it, lining it up and attaching it to the transfer sheets. Why two colors? Well, we’re never going to use that pink vinyl, so we used it for a stencil. We would have used it for the entire stencil, but we didn’t have enough. What we did have enough of (all 75 feet!) was black, so black and pink it was!
We made this stencil specifically to fit the IKEA cabinet we’re using as a linen closet. It is 40.5 inches wide, so that’s how wide we made the stencil. As for how tall the entire accent wall would be, well, we just eyeballed that and came up with 68.5 inches. That would be high enough for us to put a tall-ish vase on the cabinet and not have it stick up above the arch.
As I mentioned, the arch is 18 inches tall, so to get a total height of 68.5 inches, we needed to make straight sides 50.5 inches tall. We used blue tape and a level to put the tape on the wall. Penny was a big help while we taped the wall for our painted arch.
Here are the sides all taped and level.
Working together, Handan and I positioned the stencil so it met up with the blue tape on the wall. It doesn’t have to look pretty, it just has to work!
Next up was the easy part – painting! We chose a pale blue/green called Sea Salt by Sherwin Williams.
It’s a beautiful and subtle color that’s perfect for our painted arch accent wall.
After 20 minutes, we removed the stencil and the blue tape.
Now here’s the new and hip thing to do with these painted arch accent walls. Instead of doing things the old-fashioned boomer way and centering the furniture or decor item within the arch, like this plant, for instance…
…the cool cats these days are offsetting the furniture.
1 “On fleek” = awesome. This was a popular term among the younger set, though I think it’s already on the outs. Try substituting GOAT2 to sound more up-to-the-minute.
2 “GOAT” = Greatest of All Time. Note: do not try to “dad joke” around this one by calling yourself the BOAT (Best of All Time), or you’ll risk injuring every teen within earshot as their eyes roll dangerously back into their heads where they may possibly get stuck, consigning them to a lifetime of staring into a dark and empty void.
And that was it, madam. Once our IKEA linen cabinet was in place (with the custom doors I’ll be writing about next week), all that was left was to decorate the top of the cabinet – something that my babes has done now no less than four times. I will stick with showing you Number 2 in this post. You’ll see more current decor in coming posts, as this once-forgotten part of the house is now a hotbed of boho activity!
Here’s a short and sweet stop-motion time-lapse of the process.