Design Features

Arches In Small Homes

Arches have an aesthetic elegance that offers a timeless appeal to interiors. They reflect an appreciation for historical architecture, such as in the iconic Colosseum, Arc de Triomphe, and pointed arches in Gothic-style buildings (just to name a few). 

The use of arched thresholds in architecture and interior design isn’t merely a nod to traditional aesthetics; it can be a strategic choice that enhances the functionality and visual appeal of compact living areas. We’ve compiled some of our favourite arched entrances, doorways, and more as featured on NTS, and highlighted how they uniquely contribute to each of these exceptionally designed small homes.

1. Large arched entryway in 6 Tsubo House

An arch creates a heightened sense of spaciousness as its curved shape naturally draws the eye upwards, creating the illusion of height and openness that is particularly beneficial in making small homes feel larger. A large semi-circle window strategically placed above 6 Tsubo House’s majestic front door merges into a 4.8m tall entryway, emphasising the height of the narrow façade and enhancing its grandeur.

2. Half-arch openings in Lycabettus Hill Studio

In small homes, arches add a touch of sophistication and architectural interest, especially when paired with a minimalist design. The first thing you see when entering Lycabettus Hill Studio is a sculptural half-arch entrance between the entrance and living area, creating a dramatic first impression. The half-arch is mirrored on the other side of a partition wall separating the kitchen and bathroom, with the other half of the arch carved out in a niche for the apartment’s kitchen.

These arched thresholds, along with a circular opening between the living room and bedroom, soften the white minimalist space and allow as much natural light to flow through the underground apartment as possible. The curved shape offers a pleasing contrast to the straight lines typically found in modern architecture, adding an organic feel to the space.

3. Doorways in City Veil inspired by European arches

Owner Desmond Wong drew inspiration from the clean lines of European arches when designing his own doorways in City Veil. Multiple arches are used throughout the apartment to highlight the transition between different living spaces, including the entry to the kitchen and doors to the bedroom and bathroom. Wong also cleverly aligned the kitchen’s simple rounded doorway with the bedroom door to maintain a visual connection between both areas, enhancing the natural flow of the living space.

4. Transition Arch as Storage in Villa Saint-Michel

An archway can make the transition between two places feel more like an experience rather than merely the movement from one room to another. When deciding on the use of an arched threshold to move between Villa Saint-Michel’s kitchen and living room, architect Nicholas Bossard painted the archway a bright cheerful yellow to make it stand out amongst white walls, highlighting the clear threshold between different zones. He also cleverly integrated small storage niches into each side of the arched wall, built to store decorative objects and small books.

5. Multiple Arched Features in La Suite Dolce Vita

Using the historic Venetian palazzos as their muse, Parisian creative studio Space Factory incorporated various arched shapes and structures in the gelato-themed La Suite Dolce Vita. From the entrance, an arch outlined in maroon visually frames the living space, leading into a large kitchen where three arched mirrors are used for the splashback.

Fluted glass arches separate the bedroom from the living area, allowing for better light circulation throughout the space. The ensuite bathroom’s oblong opening appears to be endlessly reflected in a curved mirror opposite it, creating the illusion of countless arches. The apartment has a strong sense of continuity, reinforced by the repetition of arches that add a sense of luxury to the space.

For some more ways that rounded elements and soft edges have been used to enhance and expand a small space, take a look at Curved Features in Small Home Design.