Decorating Ideas

Make a Statement with Mirrors

Make a Statement with Mirrors

Mirrors are essential to ensuring you don’t leave the house with schmutz on your face or pet hair on your clothes. When positioned judiciously, they can also brighten a room, make it appear larger, and provide a striking focal point. As you’ll see below, just about any room can benefit from the inclusion of a mirror (or two, or three…)

The entry is a time-honored place for a mirror, so that you can check once more before heading out that you look marvelous. Here, the visual weight of the mirror on the right counters that of the double team of lamp and vase on the left, providing balance without symmetry. Find the sideboard here, the rug here, and the lamp here. 

The entry is a time-honored place for a mirror, so that you can check once more before heading out that you look marvelous. Here, the visual weight of the mirror on the right counters that of the double team of lamp and vase on the left, providing balance without symmetry. Find the sideboard here, the rug here, and the lamp here

Tricks of the Trade

• When positioning your mirror, keep in mind not only its placement but also what it will be reflecting. If it’s a favorite piece of art, great. If it’s an often-overflowing hamper, not so great. 

• To maximize brightness, place a mirror behind a lamp or a light fixture. (This is why sconces traditionally were backed by mirrors or shiny metals.) Alternatively, place the mirror opposite or catty-corner to a window.

• Placing two mirrors directly opposite one another creates an “infinity mirror” effect. It makes a space feel even larger than a single mirror would and creates an intriguing optical illusion. Some people, though, find the effect a bit disorienting, particularly if larger mirrors are used.

• Angling mirrors upward, with the bottom farther from the wall than the top, helps bounce light from ceiling fixtures around a room while minimizing the distraction of actual reflections. 

• Wall mirrors should be fastened against a wall, especially if you have little ones in the home. If you like the leaning effect of a wall mirror, fasten at least the top portion to the wall with furniture straps (the sort that prevent dressers and other heavy pieces from falling onto kids who decide to climb them). Similarly, be certain that large and heavy mirrors are expertly fastened, especially those above a bed or a seating area. 

 

A mirror can be a refreshing addition to a gallery wall, offering a place where the eye can rest amid the myriad delightful distractions. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

A mirror can be a refreshing addition to a gallery wall, offering a place where the eye can rest amid the myriad delightful distractions. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

The addition of a mirror, particularly one with a dramatic frame, transforms any nook into a destination. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

The addition of a mirror, particularly one with a dramatic frame, transforms any nook into a destination. Photo by Lesley Unruh.

If your desk faces a wall, a mirror lets you see what’s going on behind you so that you’re not surprised by a sudden visitor. What’s more, it’s handy when you have to join camera-on conference calls—you can make sure you look professional before dialing in. 

If your desk faces a wall, a mirror lets you see what’s going on behind you so that you’re not surprised by a sudden visitor. What’s more, it’s handy when you have to join camera-on conference calls—you can make sure you look professional before dialing in. 

Mirrors can visually open up dining rooms, which are often small or have few windows. (And light from a chandelier or candles looks beautiful when reflected.) To avoid having to watch yourself eat, hang the mirror above the eye level of those seated. Room by Suzanne Kasler. Photo by Erica George-Dines.

Mirrors can visually open up dining rooms, which are often small or have few windows. (And light from a chandelier or candles looks beautiful when reflected.) To avoid having to watch yourself eat, hang the mirror above the eye level of those seated. Room by Suzanne Kasler. Photo by Erica George-Dines.

Mirrors for Just Your Style

New Traditionalists love the classics, such as starburst, rococo, and chinoiserie styles. Beveled edges add subtle Old World elegance to a mirror. As for the “new” in New Traditionalist, consider a mirror in a classic style with a frame in an unexpected hue. Our pick: the Chinoiserie Wall Mirror in Cobalt.

As well as unexpected combinations of colors, styles, and patterns, Eclectics relish unconventional design elements. Look for mirrors in quirky shapes or with frames featuring unusual materials or artisanal flourishes. And keep an eye out for vintage finds! Our pick: the Mac Wall Mirror in Black Bone Inlay.

For Naturalists, the shape of a mirror is less important than the materials of its frame: reclaimed wood, rattan, rope, even seashells. The greater the textural contrast between the sleek mirror and the organic frame, the better. Our pick: the Koa Rattan Wall Mirror.

Clean lines and luxe materials make a Curator’s heart sing. Simple shapes (circles and ovals, with their sensuous curves, are particular favorites) outlined with streamlined gold or silver frames are Curator chic to a T. Our pick: the Sabrina Acrylic Mirror.

Can’t bear to see your reflection staring back at you first thing in the morning? Instead of placing a mirror across from your bed, put it atop your bedside table. Room by Tara Shaw. Photo by Paul Costello.

Can’t bear to see your reflection staring back at you first thing in the morning? Instead of placing a mirror across from your bed, put it atop your bedside table. Room by Tara Shaw. Photo by Paul Costello.

Round mirrors are an ideal counterpoint to the straight lines and right angles that dominate so many rooms. Photo by Manuel Rodriguez.

Round mirrors are an ideal counterpoint to the straight lines and right angles that dominate so many rooms. Photo by Manuel Rodriguez.

Bathroom mirrors need to be functional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fanciful as well. Photo by Tony Vu.

Bathroom mirrors need to be functional, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fanciful as well. Photo by Tony Vu.

If your kitchen lacks a window, a mirror over the sink lets you watch the proceedings going on behind you while you wash up in addition to reflecting light. 

If your kitchen lacks a window, a mirror over the sink lets you watch the proceedings going on behind you while you wash up in addition to reflecting light. 

Shop all mirrors > 

Contact One Kings Lane Interior Design for more decorating advice >

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