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My Modern Country Living

How To Use Mirrors In Decor

I spent most of my winter in Ohio redecorating the inside of the house.  It was too cold for me to be outside and I am unsure of driving in the snow after spending so many winters in Ireland.

If you remember, I had to return from Ireland to get my leaking shower redone after Christmas.   After spending two years upgrading our condo, I thought we were done for a while but the shower sprung a bad, annoying because it was an unlocatable, leak.  It required the entire shower to be removed and another installed.

I will post the story of the shower in another post. For now, I want to tell you about my use of mirrors in the house.  

This condo is quite large, over 3000 sq feet if you include the lower level.  It is built into the side of a hill and has a walkout lower living level.

The condo is attached to another condo on the side.  In Ireland, most homes in allotments are built together and called attached houses.  They can be a run of attached homes or more commonly a side by side like these.

I grew up in New York State, we had dual family homes but they were built one small house on top of another with a long staircase to the upper home and a shared yard.  The steps and shared yards were a problem.

Dark Interior Decor Problem

how to use a mirror for more light

Our condo, a side by side, has its own side garden and shared side garden.  The problem here is there are NO windows on the shared wall side; making the house a bit dark.  I am lucky to have an open concept home. When you open the front door you can see all the way back to the outside deck and yard.  I do get a lot of light from those back windows but the entry is a bit dark. The only light in the entry is a side glass panel on the door.  I have the steps to the lower level as you enter the house and I have a gallery art wall there now. I put a very large mirror in the center top of that wall the catch light from the front door.

The use of a mirror to lighten up space is well known.  However, there are some “don’ts” when using mirrors. Do not place in direct sunlight…you are trying to REDIRECT light , so place next to the light source and try to place the mirror and “aim” reflected light to area you wish to lighten.

reflecting light with a mirror on the wall

Capture Light With Mirrors

As the author suggested, I placed the mirrors as close to natural light as I could to bounce more light into the area.  The mirrors all are placed to do that, even the hall mirror, which catches the light from the back window and shines it back into the room.  At night, the lamp light on the table acts as the sun here also. In the entry upper gallery wall, I am trying to capture the light from the front door sidelight and “aim” it into the foyer.

Tricks With Mirrors

directing light with mirrors

Mirrors do more than lighten a room. They also can be utilized to make a smaller room look larger,  The larger the mirror, the larger the room can look. I put a large mirror over my dressing table in the master bedroom to create that look. I always place a mirror on a bedroom wall. It makes the room larger, lets in more light, and gives my user or guest a mirror for personal use.

This Country Living’s article was an inspiration. The use of an upright standing mirror is a look I love. The old look is a Victorian mirror stand, the new idea is a tall mirror leaning against a wall.  Both great looks.

Some Ideas For Use Of Mirror In Decor

  • Capture a great view- put a mirror directly opposite the view to reflect it back into the room.
  • Use the mirror or group of mirrors side by side to mimic a window
  • Put a large ornate or decoratively framed mirror on the floor against a wall to create a focal point in a room.  This works well in a small room also.
  • Mirrors as art.  Cluster a grouping on a wall.
  • Ornate mirror as a center point or added focus on a gallery wall
  • Over a fireplace reflects the mantle decor out to the room
  • In the dining room.  The most common use its to reflect the beauty of the buffet/sideboard.  Historically a mirror in this position dramatized the wealth of a family.  Here people displayed crystal, silver, porcelain- their household treasure.

What NOT To Do With Mirrors

While mirrors are a great decor feature, there are some rules to guide decor mistakes.

  • Do not put added mirrors in bathrooms or in a kitchen.  Steam and grease will make mirrors dull and dirty looking.  Just keep the one bathroom mirror over your sink in bath. Too much moisture can remove the mirror glaze and black spots may occur
  • Be wary of direct placement in the sun.  Mirror in direct sun can get hot and the reflected light may be strong.  If the light is too close to your furniture fading may occur. Also, be careful of direct sun on carpet or wood flooring as color changes may occur.  If you use a mirror, keep an eye on your exposed surfaces.
  • The use of mirrors is great. Mirrors are pretty, and some are downright beautiful.  That said, be careful not to OVERDO a room. The basic rule is to keep mirror use to no more than two per room.  Of course, this will depend on the size of a room.

Final Thoughts On The Use Of Mirrors In Decore

I love to use different mirrors in different shapes, colored frames, and texture.  I make up my own rules as to what and where. I did put a few design recommendations but sometimes I do not follow rules myself.  One thing of note; I do not follow Feng Shui and the placement of mirrors by a door or in the bedroom is frowned upon in this form.

Mirrors are appropriate in any decor style from country chic, French or country farmhouse, tradition, modern and ultra-modern decor.  The cut and frame determine your “look”. Do not be afraid to mix things up. I personally love to mix old world and traditional styles with a pinch of modern urban.

One suggestion, be careful of mirror glass.  I do not put mirrors on the floor because I have small grandchildren running about and I feel those mirrors are an accident waiting to happen but as the girls get older, I will relook at the policy.

Bottom line, think about using mirrors in your home.  You might be pleasantly surprised in the versatility of these decor features.

Someone told me Spring was here…On this April day, we had snow in Ohio! But remember when you do get some sunlight, that mirrors are a great way to bring light into your home.

Great talking with you, Please comment back on what mirrors do you have in your home? Send me pixs if you can.

Take good care

Dee

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