We all know that mirrors serve a practical purpose as well as an aesthetic one, but are you using your mirrors to their fullest potential? If you want to create the illusion of more space in your home, mirrors are the oldest trick in the book, but you’ll need to know how to position them correctly to reap the best benefits.
Whether you’re stuck in a small living room or find that your narrow hallway always seems too confined, decorating with mirrors is a must. Instantly, the reflection will give the appearance of more space as well as more light, helping to turn your room into a brighter, more airy one (on the surface, at least).
The only problem is that turning your home into a hall of mirrors by placing large wall mirrors on every exposed surface will not benefit your decor in any way. Instead, you need to be strategic about where you place them if you want to achieve the best illusion effect. Of course, interior designers have a few tricks up their sleeves, and here they share some of the best that you can apply in your home.
1. Use mirrors opposite the light source
The main function of the mirror is to reflect back to you what it sees. This includes not only the visual image itself, but also the light within it. For this reason, if you have a particularly dark home with limited natural light, mirrors can be your best friend.
“Mirrors are very useful for bringing more light into a dark space,” says interior designer Bethany Adams of Bethany Adams Interiors. “By placing a mirror opposite a light source – ideally a window, but in a pinch, a light fixture works too – you can effectively double the amount of lumens in the space.”
As Bethany points out, narrow hallways or doorways are especially prone to this type of dimming, but hanging a mirror horizontally can help pull light through the space. If you have a light source at one end, make sure your mirror extends all the way so the light can pass through, instantly brightening the area and thus making it appear more spacious.
2. Use it instead of artwork on the walls
Mirrors don’t have to be a stark statement that runs right across the wall. Instead, one of the best ways to make a room appear larger is by placing smaller wall mirrors instead of where artwork or photographs would normally be.
“I like to collect mirrors of all shapes and sizes and hang them as artwork on the wall,” explains Adriana Schor of ICONIQUE Studio. “Not only does it take advantage of the extra light source in the room, but it also adds a beautiful piece of art to the walls.” If you want to get creative, it’s best to place the mirror somewhere where it reflects a contrasting colored wall or space so that it serves as a point of visual interest (just like the photo shown above).
Designer Shelby Van Daley of Daley Home is also a fan of this trick. “In one of our recent projects, we had busier wallpaper, so adding a beautifully framed mirror added more to the room than just a piece of art,” she says. But remember that what you see in the mirror depends on your specific point of view, so make sure to place it at eye level and avoid hanging it too high. “We generally mount mirrors on the wall just a few inches above a bench or dresser,” Shelby adds.
3. Use long mirrors in narrow spaces
Narrow, hallway-like areas may be unlikely places where you don’t know you need a mirror, but they should definitely be on your radar. While mirrors here may be somewhat limited in what they can reflect, they can be vital in making a hallway appear less dark and confined by adding depth.
One space where most interior designers always include a mirror is entryways. Here, they help liven up the room, welcome your guests and maximize your design. “Not only that, but they can also serve as a functional way to check hair and makeup before you leave for the day,” Shelby says.
If you have a more open space, consider placing the mirror somewhere that reflects a point of architectural interest. “Entering over a credenza where it mirrors the beautifully designed stair railing is a popular choice,” says Carolyn Dedeker of Cedar & Oak Homes.
4. Use mirrors as a versatile finish
Wall mirrors aren’t the only way to harness the power of reflections. You can easily insert mirrors into unexpected places such as kitchen countertops, cabinet doors, or even the ceiling. “I love using them in butler pantries or home bar areas,” says Bethany. “There are also so many different styles of mirrored glass available today, from clear to smoked to antique that you can actually do some interesting things with reflections and not necessarily use your typical reflective glass,” says Bethany.
According to Adriana, another way to use mirrors in an original way is through carpentry. “Applying a mirror trim to the back of a cabinet or behind a shelf instantly expands the space, gives it a luxurious feel, and attracts light to generally darker areas,” she says.
5. As an architectural feature
Finally, if you’re willing to be a little bolder with your design, consider incorporating mirrors as a bolder architectural feature. For example, columns clad in mirrors are becoming an increasingly popular trend. ‘In some recent projects, we had columns in the middle of rooms or spaces that needed to be used for different purposes,’ says Adriana. “It instantly blends into the living space and forms a beautiful source of light.”
In the photo above, Adriana also created rotating displays in the middle of the room covered in mirrors. “This created a seamless divider in a space used as a living room and dining room,” she explains. “I love mirrored displays of any kind because they function as a piece of furniture but also serve an interesting architectural purpose.”
Asymmetrical wall mounted mirror
measuring: 16.14″H x 9.84″L x 1.18″W
measuring: 31.5″L x 1.26″W x 72″H
measuring: 16″H x 18″W x 4″D