5 Creative Ways to Decorate with Mirrors

A well-placed mirror can give the illusion of a window; image: Getty

A well-placed mirror can give the illusion of a window; image: Getty

A mirror’s functionality can’t be denied. It lets you know that, hey, you actually do look fabulous today, darling. And its presence in any room can make the space look immediately larger. Beyond slapping a mirror on a blank wall, though, the mirror reflects, if you will, something far greater than the obvious: It’s also a worthy piece of decor that can serve as a functional focal point for any room. Stumped for ideas? Consider these five ways to make creative use of mirrors in the home.

1) Just say no to a dim room. No matter how beautiful the space, darkness pervades so much that it eclipses everything from the decor to the impression of visible room. While adding additional lighting is always an option, a well-placed mirror can make a difference in the way even the smallest, most poorly lit room is perceived. Think of it as an optical illusion of sorts.

For best results, position a mirror in the area that first catches attention — for example, the blank wall that faces you as you enter your bedroom in your small apartment, or the bare space that takes up half of the bathroom. You’ll notice an immediate difference in the way even the most compartmentalized spaces open up and brighten up.

2) A room with a view is special, but there’s something to be said for a large room with a view. If you aren’t exactly drowning in extra space, though, consider a mirror your best friend. In a room with a window, simply place a large mirror on the wall directly across from it. (And if that wall happens to be completely blank, don’t shy away from lining it with wall-to-wall mirrors; the effect on the room’s perceived size will be astounding.) Doing so achieves two goals: It creates the illusion of a larger room and it brightens the area when the sun filters through the window.

3) Don’t discount the value of mirrors as pure artwork. Lean a framed mirror against the wall of a living room for a sophisticated look or lengthen a short hallway by placing a sleek mirror against the end wall. During the holiday season, sling decorative lighting, tinsel or string bells onto the frame for a festive touch.

For a more thoughtfully arranged look, group together an assortment of decorative mirrors in a room that’s not overly busy (sans wallpaper or bright paint, and without other artwork competing for attention). Try slender column mirrors spaced inches apart for a modern look, or opt for a couple of ornate framed mirrors to channel a hint of Hollywood-inspired glamour.

Placing a mirror in front of a light source will brighten the room; image: Getty

Placing a mirror in front of a light source will brighten the room; image: Getty

4) If it’s broke…don’t fix it. Rules were meant to be broken, after all. So, if you find yourself with the remains of a mirror, don’t trash the pieces just yet! First things first: Exercise caution when handling fragments of a broken mirror. If you’re handy with a Dremel nail file, use it to smooth the edges of a small piece of glass. Or grab a piece of strong sandpaper and give the edges a thorough rubdown, pausing occasionally to ensure the sandpaper doesn’t tear.

Once those sharp edges are even, it’s time to make magic. Broken mirror shards serve many purposes! Use a glue gun to affix the pieces to a decorative side table or entryway table. If you have enough pieces, reface a drawer by strategically gluing pieces onto it. Or go another DIY route and add mirror pieces to an ornate tray. The result is a veritable work of art, worthy enough to be a table centerpiece or even something you may hang on the wall.

5) That old adage about breaking all the rules really seems to apply to mirrors in a big way. Forget the notion that the mirror has to be hung up the “right” way because who’s to say that the right way really is, well, right? For a unique look that adds modernity to the room, flip the mirror sideways. A column of two or three horizontally placed rectangular mirrors feels much more elaborate and decorative than a simple mirror hung on its own. And because they’re less about functionality and more about ornamentation, these mirrors can be placed higher up on the wall — no need to worry that it’s not at the right height!