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Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Through the Looking Glass - Decorating with Mirrors

The way a person decorates is a reflection of his/her personality.

That being said, I guess I am one "wild and crazy gal!"

My husband surprised me one Valentine's Day by converting the space below our stairway into a wine "cellar" and replacing the mirrored door that had been there with a grape-sculptured metal gate. I then surprised him by hanging the abandoned door sideways in our 1/2 bath.

Above is a photo of our bathroom wall.
The decorating in this tiny room breaks all kinds of rules, except one:

Rule 1 -- Use light colors in small room.

The walls are the deepest most intense hues on the paint charts.

Rule 2 -- In confined areas, it is best to limit the number of wall colors to two. The walls you can see in this photo are green, blue and red, respectively. The one you can't see is orange.

Rule 3 -- Do not place mirrors where they reflect each other.

On the wall opposite the door are three small black mirrored doors hung frame to frame, side by side. In them you can see doors reflecting doors, reflecting doors, reflecting doors...

Rule 4 -- Rules are made to be broken Finally! This is the one I didn't break!

I love incorporating mirrors into decorating because they have both a functional and a decorative value. Somehow their functional value helps me justify my purchase wherever I come across another beautiful mirror.

Using mirrors for their functional value:

The practical value of mirrors is based on the fact that they reflect everything that is put in front of them. It is important to always determine what view will be cast in the mirror before hanging it. Make sure that what will be reflected is something worthy of being duplicated--as opposed to the kitchen sink, or a doorway out of a bathroom.

Mirrors increase the lighting the the room making dark areas lighter and smaller areas appear larger. The increase of natural lighting created by the use of mirrors can be an asset to the growth of indoor plants, while mirrors placed opposite a window can bring the outdoors in -- often giving the illusion of a second window.

Using mirrors for their decorative value: The decorative aspect of mirrors is derived both from their frames and from the way they are placed in the home. Sometimes the difficulty of finding the perfect print to complete a room's decor is easily solved by using a mirror. As long as the frame compliments the integrity of the room, the mirror itself -- which is simply a reflection -- will naturally match the decor perfectly.

Here are a couple of ideas on creative placement:

  • Tall, simply framed mirrors grouped together side by side will elongate a room and will cast a comfortable repetition of fragmented segments in their reflection.
  • Unique and interesting reflections are created when mirrors wrap around an interior corner.

  • Mirrors make crisp, interesting placemats and trays.

  • A contemporary look is created by hanging multiple like-framed mirrors close together in a grid. Normally grids are shaped into a square or a rectangle by using 4-6 columns and rows.
  • Attach mirrors to the inside back of shelving units for an interesting effect. It is important that the items on the shelves are kept to a minimum and remain uncluttered. Crystal vases or plants work well on mirror-backed shelves.
  • Mirrors can be "leaned" rather than hung when placed on a sturdy surface such as a mantel. This technique is especially good if the room is well used and not always "picture perfect." A mirror that is leaned against the wall tends to reflect above the "activity" of the room. In this case, the decorative value comes from the frame.

  • Place mirrors on the lower third of the wall in a child's roo

One serious "don't..."
Do not hang mirrors in alignment with the edges sof a corner that bends back -- leading into another area of the room, or another room. This gives the illusion of empty space, and people unfamiliar with your home will, especially at night, whack themselves in the head by running into the corner. I once ran into this type of corner mirror arrangment in a hotel room... twice in one night!

Which, actually, explains a lot. :)