Designer mirrors are both decorative and versatile, solving many interior problems and acting as striking pieces of art in their own right. Whether you’re looking for a dramatic finishing piece or an understated accessory that’s fit for purpose, when it comes to mirrors, the possibilities are endless.
01. Types of mirrors
There is virtually no room in the house that wouldn’t benefit from a mirror; whether for practical or decorative purposes, different mirrors will work best in different rooms. Before you consider style, think about where your mirror will be kept and what it will be used for. There are three basic types:
• Floor – Floor mirrors are larger, statement pieces that are either mounted on a stand or freestanding and propped against a wall for dramatic effect. These types of mirrors work best in bedrooms and hallways where you need a full-length view.
• Wall – Wall mirrors are the most common and come in a huge range of shapes and styles, from large floor-length mirrors to small, quirky shapes like a star or hexagon. They can be practical or decorative; wall mirrors work just as well in the bathroom above the sink as they do in the living room as a focal point above the fireplace.
• Dressing Table – Dressing table mirrors are small, decorative mirrors made to sit on a dressing table or vanity. They can be mounted on a small stand, making them easy to adjust and rotate, or sit atop a table – fitted dressing table mirrors often come with three panels so you can view different angles simultaneously.
Next consider the shape of your mirror; you can use your mirror to complement or contrast other shape patterns in your room design or choose solutions based on the amount of space you have available to you.
•Square – Square or rectangular mirrors offer an elegant, simple solution – they are also often referred to as portrait or landscape mirrors.
•Oval – Oval mirrors loosely resemble the shape of a rectangle with rounded corners and have a slightly vintage feel.
•Round – Round mirrors are circular but their radius can vary from compact hand mirrors to large wall mirrors.
•Abstract – Abstract mirrors are modern and eclectic, typically used to add drama to a space and can resemble anything from a broken shard of glass to an intricate geometric shape, star or striking antique sunburst shape.
The frame of your mirror is the next important consideration and will have the biggest impact on the overall style of the mirror you choose. Frames have the ability to transform a mirror from a simple, understated piece to a dramatic focal point, so take the time to consider what you need for your space.
• Gilt – Gilded frames add a touch of drama, elegance and sophistication to any room and work well with a Luxe style. Metallic finishes range from silver and gold to bronze, champagne or grey and can range in style and shape from a delicate casing to a modern, ornate frame that will act as a focal point in the room.
• Wooden – Wooden frames give a natural, earthy finish and work well with a Chic or understated style. From a rustic stain to a weathered finish, you can choose a frame that highlights the natural grain, grooves and rivets of the wood or one that’s designed to subtly fade into the background.
• Mirrored – Mirrored frames are made from individual pieces of bevelled glass and typically frame the centre mirror at a different angle to create interest and reflect light in different directions, giving the mirror a three-dimensional feel. Mirrored frames work well as contemporary pieces in an Urban style as well as in Luxe styled interiors for an elegant vibe.
• Frameless – Frameless mirrors are simple, understated and versatile. This style of mirror is ideal for spaces when mirrors are for very functional purposes, such as in a studio to maximise space and reflect light.
04. Choosing different finishes
You can also alter the style of the mirror by choosing different edges and finishes to add a new dimension and decorative touch to your mirror.
• Patina – An antique finish that gives a distressed look to make the mirror appear old, damaged or cloudy.
• Colour – A different finish is applied behind the mirror to gently tint the glass. Options include glamourous gilded and metallic finishes, brilliantly bold colours and artisan finishes such as crackled or natural woodgrain.
• Design – From wording, to logos, lettering, patterns or shapes, designs can be applied on top of the mirror to give the design a contemporary edge.
• Seamed edge – The glass edge of a mirror is naturally very sharp, but can be sanded and dulled to give a seamed edge that is safe to handle. A polished flat, waterfall or ridged seam are just a few options to add a touch of designer flair to a simple, frameless mirror and will provide perfect clarity and a shiny finish.
• Pencil edge – A smooth, rounded edge with a matte finish, an everyday example of this would be the everyday bathroom mirror.
• Bevelled edge – The face of the mirror is slightly angled at the edges to add dimension and create the illusion of a frame.
05. Using mirrors to solve common problems
Mirrors are one of the most versatile tools in an interior designer’s arsenal as they can be used in countless of ways and solve common problems around the home, including lack of space, depth and height.
• For reflection – Hang a mirror in a bathroom, bedroom or hallway to quickly check your appearance or create a reflection of another important object in your home.
• To increase size – Mirrors can be cleverly used to increase the size of a room. A mirror hung at the end of a short hallway will add length to your space, while you can create width by staggering mirrors down either side of a narrow space.
• To maximise light – Mirrors are a great way to help bounce natural light around a room. Hang a mirror opposite a window or in a corner of the room that lacks light for maximum impact.
• To add depth – You can add depth to a room by using a large, dramatic mirror as a focal point or by placing a small mirror behind or below a special feature you want to highlight – for example behind a vase or on shelves where your best glassware is kept.
06. Care and safety
• Protection – Water causes damage to the back of a mirror; keep your mirrors in their best condition by keeping them free of moisture. Hardware stores can provide a variety of safe sealant solutions to protect the back of the mirror.
• Cleaning – To clean your mirrors, first remove any dust with a dry cloth, then use a dry, crumpled piece of newspaper and water mixed with vinegar as a natural cleaning solution for a streak-free finish.
• Damage prevention – Avoid strong chemicals and cleaning solutions that can damage your mirror and cause spots – spots are a result of the wearing away of the mirror’s back coating. To get rid of them, the mirror will need to be taken down and re-silvered.
• Mounting – Plaster or drywall isn’t enough to support a heavy wall mirror; make sure you mount any screws or hooks over wooden support beams behind the plaster.
• Suspension – Use rings and sturdy metal wire to create a strong hanging for your mirror that won’t snap or break and can be easily adjusted or straightened over time.