Thursday, January 22, 2009

Using Mirrors to Expand Space... in a non-1970's way

We've all heard the design rule that mirrors can help to visually enhance and extend a space. This works in two ways - mirrors give the illusion that the space beyond and behind the mirror continues and that it is not a solid surface; and mirrors bounce light and brighten a space, making it feel larger. In addition, mirrors are usually wonderful decorative pieces in themselves.
But if you are anything like me, the thought of using mirrors to expand a room brings up unpleasant images of this principle as applied in the 1970's. I cringe when I think back to my grandma's hallway. It was lined wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling with gold-flecked mirror tiles. I'm sure we all have such memories. It was certainly fashionable then...
Well put these images out of your mind and replace them with these wonderful ideas. Mirrors are still an important tool in any designer's arsenal and the principle still applies. Here are several inspirational images for using mirrors in an updated manner, for all decorating styles.

One tried and true method is the mirror above the sofa. This is particularly useful in a room like the one below, where there is a lack of overhead lighting. This mirror helps to bounce light from windows and lamps to brighten the space. This is my own design for a client. For more information see my website -

In this bedroom, I took a slightly less conventional approach by leaning an extra large mirror against the wall opposite the large windows (with a stunning view). The light from the windows and mirror combination means the homeowners rarely need to turn on lights during the day.

This mirror certainly commands attention. This is from the October 2007 edition of Traditional Home Magazine.
This Entry ensemble is from Homes & Gardens (UK edition).

The mirror above the mantel is another popular arrangement. Below is a more modern version of this arrangement from Metropolitan Home.

A very creative use of mirrors is also from Metropolitan Home. Here the fireplace is flanked by two custom waterfalls over mirrors. Beautiful and brilliant! My next post will include some great traditional and out of the box mirror products that you can try in your own home - all the benefits of mirrors for the 21st century.

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