Arches were pretty popular in traditional architecture. So popular that there over thirty variations. But most contractors only recognize a dozen types of arches. And however you use them, they add strength and beauty to your construction project. They’re pretty and practical.
An arch is more stable than a flat surface. The keystone at the center of the arch holds most of the weight. This load is then spread and shared equally down the sides of the arch. So for attics, vaulted ceilings, rounded roofs, or triangular corners, arched windows can be a useful tool.
1. Alternative French Doors
The standard French Door or French window has vertical hinges. They can also have sliders or casements. But if you want floor-to-ceiling glass but you don’t want the hinges, you can opt for arched windows. This home has a row of four, filing up the wall. The top and bottom of the windows are picture panes, but the central section opens outwards, just like regular windows.
2. Wood and Wonder
Wooden windows are more traditional. But in those days, windows were openings without glass. The wooden doors allowed you to shut the windows at night. This woodsy window has a modern touch though. The frame has two decorative arches in it and its rich red hue is arresting.
3. Foils and Arches
Some arched windows have scallop-like shapes carved into them. These curls are called foils, so an arch can be defined as trefoil (three scallops), cinquefoil (five scallops), or multifoil. These windows have a pointed arch on their outer frames. The inner munchins are embellished with pointed trefoil designs. An infinity symbol at the top of the window completes this gothic cycle of threes.
4. Industrial and Indie
Industrial spaces are regularly repurposed. These days, abandoned warehouses, redundant factory floors, and unused hangars could be turned into restaurants, dance studios, and raves. This building is a good example. The exposed roofing beams, concrete casements, and faded brick walls retain that industrial character. The large arched windows brighten the space.
5. Modern Industrial
You can take the same space and give it an industrial touch. In this case, the roof beams are still exposed and the walls are still gray. But the wall paint gives it a smoother, cleaner, less jaded look. The roof beams are painted white so their feel is more contemporary. And the large windows have fewer munchins and segmental arches, so the overall ambiance is modern.
6. Corner Windows
Arched windows are an interesting way to soften corners. In this home, the walls are white and the window frames are too. That can make a room look harsh and clinical. The curves at the top of the window give the room a softer, gentler feel. And the glossy black floor reflects additional light as it pleasantly contrasts the white walls and window frames.
7. Glassless Arch
Lots of ancient ruins have glassless windows. But you can create the ambiance of ancient architecture, even in a contemporary building. The stone around this window looks old, but the carefully traced mortar suggests contemporary construction. The window is blocked from the rear. This adds to the ‘ancient’ look and instantly gives you home an ethereal, mysterious tone.
8. Balcony Beauty
Color makes a big difference in window trim. This balcony has three French doors leading into it. They’re simple arched windows levered doors. But each door frame is painted a different color. They stand out beautifully against the white wall, and they make the balcony seem bigger.
9. Arched Window Framing
Sometimes, the décor surrounding your arched windows is equally important. These nearby furnishings influence the perception of your windows. In this example, the large rounded windows are flanked by neglected brick walls and a faded floor. They’re clean, but they mark this space as little-used and rustic – even when the room is full of people.
10. Curves and Castles
We’ve seen how you can make a contemporary home look classic – install a prominent marble arched window and block out the back. Here’s another trick. Erect a ‘stone tower’ in your yard, if your HOA allows it. The effect of curved arches in a cylindrical tower is the perfect accessory. It instantly gives your home a grand castle aesthetic, especially at sunset.
11. Arches and Echoes
Staircases can be needlessly dim. Especially as many contractors only place a tiny window in the hallway. This home inverts that idea by installing a floor-to-ceiling arched window that covers both stories. The upper floor has a segmental arch whose curvature mimics the window it faces.
12. Contemporary Castle
In an earlier example, we offered tips on tastefully aging your home. But the reverse is true as well. The photo is from Tura Castle in Hungary. But it’s an interesting way to update any attic or brighten any basement. Install an arched bay window backed with concrete. It makes a pretty view tower and can be converted into an entryway for basement apartments.
13. Scandinavian Gothic
Details are everything. This pretty arched window looks simple enough. But the intricate grains, rounded rivets, and cross-shaped carvings add a touch of delicacy and beauty. The wood frame is stained rather than painted, giving it a rich natural look. And the segmental arch is sturdy.
14. Color and Time
When you’re seeking ideas for your arched windows, think carefully about the effect of location, wall color, light quality, and even the time of day. We’ve already looked at Tura Castle in the dark, with its grayed out walls. This same wall at sunrise offers rich pinks and fuzzy comfort. For your house, paint the walls beside the window in orange and peach. It warms the room.
15. The Cathedral Treatment
It’s unlikely you’ll try this at home – it would be an ambitious project. But it would also make you the talk of the town, HOA-allowing. This cathedral has massive Tudor windows with stained glass panes, grand chandeliers, and domes roofs. It’s an interesting idea for your dining room, especially if you host regular dinner parties. You may want to insulate your concrete though.
16. Bathroom Bounty
Everyone wants a bathtub with a view. In this home, the freestanding tub sits on a raised platform of white marble. Behind the tub, three arched windows start at the floor and nearly touch the exposed beams on the roof. The wooden motif extends throughout the bathroom, framing the windows and paneling the floor and ceiling. Cast iron light fixtures finish it off.
17. Vintage Vantage
Certain symbols are shorthand for vintage. This building looks old. Largely because of its sepia bricks and mold-stained ledges. But it’s still beautiful. Its aged arch windows are framed in reddish-brown wood and fitted with sea-green panes of glass. The sconces between the window also imply age – they seem like the perfect perch for homing pigeons … or traditional torches.
18. Vector Validation
Arched windows are common, but they can soon become boring. You don’t want the same old framing that everyone uses. So take some inspiration from these vectors. They offer lots of different arching styles. Use color, texture, shape, patterns, lines, and even drapes to stand out.
19. Curvy Diamond Angles
Shape and texture can mark massive visual distinctions in your arched windows. This one is set on a brick wall that’s painted white. But instead of munchins, the glass panes are protected by a mesh of wavy diamond grills. The combination of white brick, painted wooden frames, and black grills make the window visually arresting. The grills are good for security as well.
20. Wall of Windows
If you’d like a whole wall of glass but you’re worried about feeling exposed, here’s an idea. Pick a wall and mount a row of arched windows. Set them as close as you’d like to the ceiling and floor – that extends the surface area of glass. To avoid monotony, frame each window with wood, and paint each frame a different color. Vertical hinges make the windows easier to open and clean.
21. Vintage Exteriors
Here’s a cost-friendly way to jazz up your home exteriors. Instead of siding, use concrete and carve arched windows into the walls. The arches won’t have glass. Instead, they’ll expose plastered walls behind the opening. These blocked up windows will create the illusion of ancient columns, pillars, and archways. And because there’s no glass involved, it works out cheaper.
22. Brick and Arch
Red brick makes a strong visual statement. Hold the brick together with white grout for higher impact. In the case, your arched window is encased in brick. Its white window frames echo the brick between the mortar. But while the walls are brick-patterned, the linear brick bordering the window offers visual variation. The glass is tinted to heighten the contrast and offer privacy.
23. Antique Arches
Brick is a versatile building material. It can look fresh and modern or rustic and rural. The brick here is the latter, with its charming aged-brown look. The wall uses brick-pattern while the top and bottom of the window frame are more unilinear. The wood framing completes the picture.
24. Vibrant Vintage
When we think of vintage buildings, we expect them to be lonely and abandoned. But an old-school house with people in it, that’s a treasure. This exterior view of arched windows is a revelation. The sunset glow highlights the wreath carvings above the windows. Inside, yellow light filters out, offering a warm welcome. The windows have both round and segmented arches.
25. Magic of Munchins
Your choice of window framing can sometimes dictate the character of your window. Check out these sketches for some ideas. You can use unpartitioned glass in your arched windows. Or you can mix up the shape of your munchins. You can use border grills, double-border grills, or zero-border grills. Each design presents a different persona, altering your window mood.
26. Round and Ruled
Here’s another set of sketches to display the effects of frames and partitions. The feel of the curvy munchins is completely different from the vertical, diagonal, and cross-hatched munchins. Experiment widely using sketches and mock-ups before you lay blade to glass.
27. Gothic Pointers
We’re still in the realm of sketches. But this time, we’re looking at pointed arches. They’re sometimes called gothic arches, or lancet arches. Inside their primary frames, the windows can be further supported and embellished by coils, carvings, and floral motifs. The mood is drastically different whether you opt for plain diagonal mesh or additional internal sub-framing.
28. Contemporary Carvings
The difference between modern and retro ambiance can be as simple as color and contents. This grand arched window is as intricately carved as many gothic cathedrals and temples. But because it’s brightly trimmed, it screams contemporary. The floral relief carvings are painted bright white and set on a gray background. And the white mantel sits on a brick backdrop.
29. Petals and Circles
Ordinarily, these church windows have stained glass fittings. But you can replicate the effect in your house. The cross-shaped munchins are standard. But the rings and petal-shaped grills at the top of the window add some softness. You can also play with color to give the floral rings more of a kick. The glass can be clear, tinted, or stained, according to your preference.
30 Just for Decoration
Traditional palaces and castles didn’t have much natural light. Those turrets and towers cold get quite gloomy. But in modern times, this palace in Naples is quite well-lit. It’s no thanks to the interior arched window though. Placed between two classic statues, it reflects light rays from the main arched entrance on its right side. The pillars are reliefs add to its baroque beauty.
31. Into the Blue
Windows don’t have to be large to be dramatic. This arched window is rather small. But its unassuming half-moon curve and its white frames stand out against the bold blue wall. It may not let in much light though, so you’ll need sufficient indoor lighting.