Areas at home which may initially seem like a design dilemmas, can often end up as ingenious spatial solutions. Common problem areas include alcoves, high ceilings, narrow rooms and -the subject we will deal with today- archways, each comes with its own problem but also its unique benefits that can be exploited to maximize their potential.
In the case of an interior archway, the problems are instantly apparent- it is a narrow space, headroom recedes either side of the arches centre, natural light is often short in supply and even at its height point the arch is generally too low to house a pendant light. But on the plus side, an archway offers the unique opportunity to create a completely individual feature for your home, one will often have exposed brickwork and a low ceiling means low heating costs. Of course the word archway is a much generalised descriptive term; an arch can come in many different forms.
Some fantastic uses for long archways are:
A wine cellar. Blocking off both ends and installing some hexagonal storage racks makes the dark and cool conditions of a closed arch the perfect place for storing your prized wine collection.
A built in storage unit. Having the whole arch turned into a built in storage unit will free up lots of space elsewhere around the house, helping rooms to remain clutter free.
A walk-in wardrobe. Those living in an old mill style apartment will probably have lots of archways leading off their main rooms. Having an arch transformed into a walk in wardrobe that is accessible from the main bedroom is the height of luxury and will allow your bedroom to remain spacious and tranquil.
A theatrical corridor space. If you have long brick lined archways connecting your main areas, capitalise on these dark and dramatic spaces to increase the feeling of anticipation between rooms. Light them from underneath with the help of floor embedded up-lighters that trace the perimeter of each corridor. This will have the double effect of showing off the texture of the brickwork whilst not interfering with the available headroom.
A snug or booth. A dimly lit, low ceiling archway is the perfect place to install a stylish snug or booth reminiscent of 1930’s American speak-easy. Fitting some built-in benches and lavishing the area with cushions and soft fabrics will create a sense of sophistication and probably result in area being your favourite part of the house!
For short, alcove style arches that sit against a wall, uses include:
A home library. Lined the alcove with shelves will allow you to create a wonderful home library, adding real elegance to a sitting room or study.
Housing for wall art. Placing a cherished framed photograph or piece of art work in the centre of an arched alcove will search to highlight and draw attention to it.
An interesting window. Using the shape of the arch as an outline for a new window will create a really individual talking point whilst increasing the natural light in a space.