By Kathryn Weber
Mirrors, ornate and plain, do lots of decorative heavy lifting. Used thoughtfully, they can double as art, lighten up dark rooms, or reflect pretty views or accessories
Mirrors are magical. The Chinese believe they capture moonlight and the reflection can be used to ensnare unwary suitors. Snow White's wicked stepmother enslaved a mirror to compliment her. Superstition says breaking a mirror brings seven years of bad luck, and vampires have to go through eternity never knowing if they have spinach in their teeth.
Far from their superpowers, mirrors do a lot of heavy lifting in the decorating department. Sure, you can place one over the mantel or beside the front door so you check yourself on the way out, but if that's the only way you use mirrors in your home, you're failing to harness their full stylistic horsepower.
Today, mirrors and French fries are both better supersized. An oversized mirror can do double duty as both a reflector of light and a focal point. Leaning against a wall, a large mirror becomes sculptural and chic. It makes the room look bigger, too.
Create a view:
When you have a beautiful view, you can have a pretty sight times two by positioning a mirror opposite the view. Another creative use of mirrors is to add one where a window is missing. If your bed or sofa looks unbalanced because there's a window on only one side, create a faux window with mirrored panels. Hang it in the blank space, topped off with curtains, and at first glance, it will pass as a window.
Under the principles of feng shui, the ancient art of arranging our living spaces, mirrors are regarded negatively for couples' bedrooms. Hanging a mirror on the wall opposite your bed is thought to promote the intrusion of "others" into the relationship, possibly encouraging infidelity. Mirrors are also thought to generate energy, which could cause insomnia, so feng shui experts often recommend removing them.
Mirrors are great for dim rooms because they reflect light, but not the best choice in bedrooms. Sleeping is enhanced in a dark room, making large mirrors an impediment for restful sleep. Re-purpose a dresser mirror by hanging it in another location.
Adding mirrored glass inside molding on a dresser, or using a mirror to top a dresser or console can give your furniture a fresh look. Try mirroring over a whole door to make the door disappear. Your local glass company can apply the mirror and drill it for the door handle set.
Using mirrors creatively can add extra style throughout your home. Add framed gilded mirrors behind accessories to highlight the items. Place mirrors behind candles or lamps for more sparkling light. Take a tip from restaurants and place a framed mirror behind liquor bottles to dress up your bar.
Try using mirrors in unexpected places, too. Rather than always putting a mirror at the front door, why not dress up the back door? In cramped spots, a mirror can make the area feel more spacious. And you can check for spinach on the way out every door!
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