How to Install Decorative Arches on a Wall

Bring style and elegance to a bland space by creating accent wall arches that add dimension, visual interest and a classic touch.

Inspired by classical architecture, arches can transform any blank wall into a work of art. The addition of rounded lines softens a space, and the recessed arches add dimension and interest. While this isn’t quite a beginner project, it is certainly doable with a solid attention to detail and an extra set of hands. Precise measurements and careful cuts will make for beautiful results. Arches act almost as a frame that draws the eye in and creates a focal centerpiece in a room.

Arch Wall-Treatment for Highlighting Art

Arch Wall-Treatment

Add drama and sophistication to your living space with decorative wall arches. Beautiful artwork paired with recessed arches and gallery-style lighting make your wall space feel extra special.

Photo by: Jennie Andrews

Jennie Andrews

Tools and Materials

  • 3/4” medium-density fiber board (MDF)
  • paint
  • paintbrush
  • paint roller
  • construction adhesive
  • drop cloths
  • finish nails
  • nail gun
  • miter saw
  • table saw
  • jigsaw
  • level
  • pry bar
  • pliers
  • spackle
  • putty knife
  • tape measure
  • sandpaper

1. Measure the Wall

Measure the height and width of your wall and determine the number of arches you want. Also, determine the width of the columns as well as the radius of the arches. To determine the radius, subtract the total width of all the columns from the total width of the wall. Then, divide that by the number of arches you wish to have. That gives you the full width of the arches. Then divide that number in half to find the radius of your arch.

To find the length of the columns, determine how close to the ceiling you want your arches to end (for visual reference, our arches sit 18” below the ceiling). Subtract that number and the radius of your circle from the height of the wall. This will be the height of your column pieces. For reference, our wall is 8’ high and 8’ wide. Our arches are 36” across (18” radius), our columns are 8” wide and we have 18” between the top of the arches and the ceiling.

2. Measure and Cut Columns

From a piece of 3/4” MDF, use a table saw to cut the columns based on your determined measurements.

3. Measure and Draw Arches

The top part of the arches will be cut from a different board. Add the radius and the height above the arches to determine the total height of this piece. Cut to size. Then, measure in from the edges of the board the length of the radius plus the width of one column. This will be the center of your half-circle.

Make a compass to draw the arches, start with a piece of scrap wood slightly longer than the radius. Measure the radius on the board (leaving a little space at each end) and mark. At the two marks respectively, drill one hole for a screw and another for a pencil. Slightly drill in the screw at the center of the circle marked on the MDF and make a half-circle mark by orbiting the pencil. Repeat for any additional arches.

4. Cut the Arches

Using a jigsaw, carefully cut out arches.

5. Attach Arches to the Wall

Measure and mark the wall for placement of columns on each side of the wall. Attach a piece of scrap MDF using a brad nailer at these marks to serve as a temporary ledger board for supporting the upper arch. Check to be sure the board is level. Apply construction adhesive liberally to the back of the upper arch piece and, using a brad nailer, attach it to the wall above the ledger board.

6. Remove Ledger Board

After the upper arch piece is secure, use a pry bar to remove the ledger strip and pliers to remove brads.

7. Install Columns

Attach columns to the wall using construction adhesive and a brad nailer. Use a level to make sure they are plumb.

8. Caulk

Spackle the seams between the column and the upper part of the arches. Let dry and sand smooth. Repeat as necessary until the seams disappear. Caulk along all edges and in nail holes. Continually wipe smooth with a damp rag as you work. Let dry.

9. Paint

Paint using a combination of a roller and a brush.

10. Applaud Your Effort

You’ve added drama and sophistication to your wall. Beautiful artwork paired with some gallery-style lighting will make your wall arches feel extra special.

Highlight Art with wall arches

Arch Wall-Treatments

Dress up your living space with decorative wall arches. Beautiful artwork paired with recessed arches and gallery-style lighting make your wall space feel extra special.

Photo by: Jennie Andrews

Jennie Andrews

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