Few things are as much of a design staple as decorative mirrors. Mirrors make spaces appear larger, create warmth, reflect light and add interest. What a multipurpose solution to many design challenges! But choosing the right size, shape and style of decorative mirror for your space can be overwhelming. To make that process easier, follow these steps.
1. Find the perfect size for your space. Scale is important when it comes to choosing wall decor, so ask yourself these questions when searching for a mirror that will complement your space:
- Where am I hanging it?
- What size is the wall space?
If you’re hanging a mirror above your sofa (and assuming that you aren’t pairing it with any other wall art), you can go as large as the sofa itself to make a big, bold statement. Or keep it to three-quarters of the sofa length to give it the right amount of presence without becoming the center of attention.
The same formula applies to a grouping of mirrors. Expand your installation to cover the length of the sofa or keep a more edited collection to about three-quarters of the sofa length. Both options work well but produce different results. The longer or larger your installation, the more impact it will have in the space.
Good to know: There are no absolutes in design, but a good rule of thumb is to leave at least 1 foot above and below your mirror installation.
When it comes to sizing a mirror for above a fireplace, look for something that adequately fills the space between the top of the mantel and the ceiling. You can either have the bottom of the mirror appear to rest on the mantel or hang it centered on the wall.
Generally, the style of the mirror helps determine the best approach. A fully rectangular or round mirror tends to look best when centered. A free-form or rounded-edge mirror can look amazing anchored by the mantel top.
2. Play with shapes. With the seemingly unlimited number of choices available, finding the perfect shape of mirror can be a frustrating journey. To give your room a fresh, updated feel, look outside the traditional options for places like the entry, dining room or living room. Instead of playing it safe on a small wall, try an oversize round to completely change the look and feel of the space.
Walls without architectural details are a perfect canvas for any mirror, but to add instant depth and interest, choose a classic, strong rectangle. Look for a size that is either equal to or almost as large as the piece you’re hanging it above.
A mirrored panel wall is a powerful look and can seem outdated without some definition. Something that doesn’t fade into the reflections is your best choice. Create a focal point that stands out against the reflective background by choosing an out-of-the-ordinary shape, such as an oval or starburst.
Good to know: Installing a mirror on a mirrored surface requires a special drill bit and the proper hanging hardware to ensure that the glass doesn’t shatter. A professional installer is the best way to go when tackling such a delicate job.
If your furnishings have many straight lines and minimal details, soften and balance out the hard angles by using a mirror with curves. Consider a piece that holds its own and stands in as wall art.
Sometimes a solid square is the perfect choice. A mirror’s frame can make or break the way it interacts with the room. A frame acts as decor, and a thin silver frame on an extra-large square mirror would be timeless and elegant but wouldn’t have provided the punch that a thick rustic frame does in this well-edited transitional room.
3. Consider your style. Wall decor as significant as a mirror can blend in with its surroundings or add its own flavor, depending on the style you choose.
In a sleek, modern or minimalist space, consider that a thinly framed and elongated rectangle will visually expand the room in a strong but subtle way. The less ornamentation a mirror has, the more it will blend in without calling attention to itself.
If you’re looking for something with more edge and attitude, take a risk on a mirror you can build a room around. The dark black swirls on a completely untraditional shape make this mirror a great choice for transforming the feel of this eclectic room. Hung above a beautifully spare fireplace and holding court over a streamlined coffee table, this powerful piece adds movement and a little intrigue.
Contemporary types should search for sculptural or three-dimensional mirrors. Irrespective of shape, these pieces act as art, complementing their surroundings while remaining unexpected.
Good to know: To make the most of your mirror, give it a great foundation. Paint the wall a deep, moody color or paper it in a lush print for the mirror to hang against.
You may gravitate toward a transitional look or love a calming, toned-down environment. Maybe accessories or gallery walls aren’t your thing. You can add a significant amount of style to your space with an artistic mirror. Wrought iron branches, gilded leaves, a whitewashed driftwood surround — all are options that don’t require additional accompaniment.
It’s always a good idea to take a picture of the place you are thinking of hanging a mirror. Use that photo as a reference when shopping so that you can visualize the impact each shape, style and size of mirror would have. You can also use features like Houzz’s View in My Room.