Space planning is a fundamental step in creating a well-proportioned and functional space in your...
Mirrors: A Powerful Addition to Your Space
But really, you came here because you know your space needs a little extra something. And maybe it’s not a mirror, but have you considered everything that one can do for your space? Mirrors offer a lot on their own and because of their reflecting abilities, mirrors also take on the style of the room they’re in.
At McElheran’s Furniture + Design, we’ve been helping customers furnish rooms for life since 1994. And our in-house designers, known as Design Guides, have over 60 years of combined experience to help you explore different design elements in your home – like mirrors.
Now, you certainly don’t have to make your next décor purchase with us, we just want you to consider all of your design possibilities first – mirror or not!
In this article, one of our Design Guides, Teresa, will chat about mirrors and what they can do for your space. We’ll talk about the benefits of mirrors, the best places to hang them, and a couple of rules of thumb, too.
What is the purpose of a mirror?
A mirror’s main function is to reflect and it’s that very attribute that positively influences your space in other ways.
Brightens the room
A mirror doesn’t just reflect objects, but light, too. If you’re in a poorly lit room, a mirror or two could certainly brighten things up. You can hang mirrors across from windows to reflect the natural light coming into your space or strategically position mirrors around the artificial light from lamps or overhead fixtures.
Creates the illusion of space
Mirrors visually maximize space by reflecting the open parts of the room they’re in. Inherently, mirrors add dimension to space by giving off a feeling of eternity because the reflection is never-ending.
One way to illustrate the infinite power of mirrors is to think about the mirror in your powder room. Imagine how tiny and cramped it would look without a mirror. That mirror not only opens up the rest of the room, but it also gives an expansive feeling to the wall it hangs on – it becomes more than a fixed barrier when you hang a mirror on it.
Emphasizes your design
You’ve created a space you’re proud of. Why not allow everyone to see it in double and from different angles? A mirror can reflect the design aspects of your home to help them stand out.
And if you’re really proud of something outside your space, like the garden on the other side of your living room window, bring it inside by positioning your mirrors to reflect it!
Adds another layer of design
The shape of a mirror, design, finish, and frame can all add different elements to your space. As much as mirrors can highlight the style you already have, they’re definitely an accent piece in their own right.
You can create interest in your space by grouping multiple mirrors together or by using triptych mirrors for your walls. Large, oversized mirrors or mirrors that have been antiqued and distressed can make for an intriguing focal point.
The mirror itself can give you an unexpected twist, too. Convex or concave mirrors will distort the reflected image, adding some complexity to your design.
Gives you flexibility
If you’re looking for a piece to add to your walls and décor, but you can’t quite put your finger on what you’d like, maybe a mirror is your answer!
Mirrors are extremely flexible and agreeable. They’re not polarizing or offensive. They’re really the perfect addition to any space.
Teresa jokes, “Pick any design style – farmhouse, rustic, hyper-modern… and you’re sure to find a mirror that can reflect that style.” She’s funny AND right.
Mirrors are really the chameleon of design since they reflect whatever style they’re around.
There’s a sense of security in being able to see your home from different angles. Especially if your home has a lot of different corridors and separate rooms, mirrors can provide a looking glass into areas that may otherwise be difficult to see.
The best places to hang a mirror
Mirrors are best hung in places where you’re getting ready – where you need to see yourself. They’re also well served in rooms where you want to emphasize your personal style and décor.
The bathroom is an obvious choice as you’d be hard-pressed to find one without a mirror. Mirrors work well in bathrooms because it’s a common place to get ready, groom yourself, and touch yourself up throughout the day.
And, since bathrooms can be on the small side, a mirror helps to visually create more space.
We spend a lot of time in our bedroom getting ready for the day, trying on different outfits, or preparing for bed. And sometimes, it’s nice to see yourself during those activities.
Bedroom mirrors can come attached to a dresser or vanity or, if you’re looking for something larger, you can opt for a floor mirror.
Adding a mirror is a quick and easy way to broaden a hallway. Many hallways can be quite narrow to begin with, but by putting a mirror at the end of it, you can create a more spacious feeling.
As you’re headed out of the house or getting ready to welcome guests, having a mirror by your main door is a handy way to give yourself one more look-over before continuing with your day.
The living room is a place where you often entertain and show off your style and a mirror can reflect your personal taste.
Additionally, some living rooms don’t offer much in the way of fixed lighting and instead rely on the natural light coming in through the windows. The proper placement allows you to use mirrors to bring more light into your living room.
At the end of the day, you can hang a mirror wherever you want. You may love the idea of having mirrors all over your home - and that’s okay - but there are definitely spaces where they’re not as necessary.
This is more based on functionality since a mirror’s reflective properties aren’t really needed in a kitchen. And between islands, backsplashes, and large appliances, many kitchens don’t have a lot of wall space to hang a mirror.
The home office isn’t the best place for mirrors unless you need to have one around you for work. The problem with having a mirror in your office is that, visually, your workload doubles. If there’s a stack of papers on your desk you need to attend to, seeing that reflected in a mirror could be very overwhelming.
And aren’t you overwhelmed enough with work? You don’t need to make it worse by adding décor that makes it look like you have way more work to do!
Are there any design rules for mirrors?
When it comes to design, rules are meant to be broken. That’s how we invent new styles and trends! So, consider these more like helpful guidelines for adding a mirror to your space.
Mirrors should not be wider than what it hangs over
This comes down to scale and proportion, right? Which comes into play when you add anything to a room. Not only should your mirror be proportionate to the other items in the room, but it should match up with the size of the space itself.
So, if you’re hanging a mirror over an 86-inch sofa or mantle, the mirror should not be any longer than 86 inches. If it is, the mirror could look bulky and overwhelm the space.
Don’t hang them too high
This is actually becoming a bigger problem than ever before because a lot of homes have vaulted ceilings. And when we see so much open space available, we instinctively want to hang our art and mirrors higher.
But the height of your ceilings shouldn’t dictate where you hang your mirror. Instead, you should hang it at eye level. We are talking about mirrors, right? You should be able to see yourself in them, even if that’s not exactly what you’re using the mirror for.
Keep it clean
Mirrors add so much dimension and interest to a space, but it’s one of those pesky surfaces where, if it gets dusty or smudgy, that’s ALL anybody sees. And it can really throw off an entire look, especially if the mirror is the focal point of your décor.
And if you’re not quite sure how to keep your mirrors looking good as new, hang tight and read below!
How can I keep my mirrors clean?
As mentioned, mirrors are a great addition to any space, but they can get a little dusty from time to time! And since mirrors are glass, you can treat them the same. Check out How to Clean Your Glass Surfaces so you can stay on top of cleaning the mirrors in your home.
And if you're ready to see all the design possibilities you have just by adding a mirror or two, browse our selection of mirrors at McElheran’s. If you’re in the Edmonton area, schedule a visit with one of our Design Guides to get some help selecting the best mirror for your space.