How to Make an Arched Accent Wall with Leftover Paint and a Pencil

A painted arch adds instant character to a blank wall. Here's how to pull off this easy paint project with clean lines and a smooth finish.

TikTok has become a go-to source for DIY decorating ideas and clever hacks to try around the house (see: the laundry stripping phenomenon and this amazing van makeover). The latest project making the rounds involves using just a pencil, string, painters tape, and leftover paint to create a gorgeous arched accent wall.

gray dresser with plants against painted arch accent wall
Marley Soden/Marley.makes.things.

This simple paint treatment instantly adds a sense of architecture to the wall, with no actual remodeling work needed. The contrasting color creates the illusion of depth, turning a blank wall into a striking accent feature. You can use a painted arch to frame wall decor with a pop of color, draw attention to a piece of furniture, or simply add personality to an otherwise empty wall. And because this technique only requires a small amount of paint, creating a wall arch is a great way to use up interior paint leftover from another project.

How to Paint an Arch Accent Wall

Videos like this one from user Marley.makes.things. demonstrate how to achieve clean painted lines and a smooth arch shape. The trick is to use a piece of string to help you trace the arch before painting.

What You Need

  • String
  • Tape or nail
  • Pencil
  • Painters tape
  • Small paintbrush
  • Paint roller
  • Interior wall paint

Step 1: Draw the arch shape.

Attach a piece of string to the wall (you can either secure it with tape or tie it around a nail) in the center of where you'd like your arch to be. The string's length should equal half the desired width of your arch. Hold the end of the string and a pencil in one hand, pulling the string taut as you trace a rounded arch shape on the wall. Once you have the top section sketched out, extend the ends of the arch straight down to the baseboard and mark the lines with painters tape.

Step 2: Paint the arch.

To prevent the new color from bleeding through, paint over the tape with the original wall color first. Use a small brush to paint around the edges of the arch in your desired color. Fill in the middle and lower section with a roller. Once the arch is all colored in, let the paint dry completely before going over it again with a second coat of paint for a smooth finish.

Step 3: Clean up the edges.

Remove the painters tape around the arch. If needed, touch up the edges with the existing wall color for a crisp, clean line.

A painted wall arch is a great way to experiment with a bold color in your space without committing to an all-over paint job. Try this technique with a saturated shade you love, such as rich terra-cotta, moody forest green, or deep navy. For a subtler look, choose a paint color that's a few shades lighter or darker than your existing wall color (a beige arch on a warm white wall, for example).

Whichever color you choose, you can feel confident knowing that it isn't permanent. If you don't like the finished result, you can simply paint over it!

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