Do what the pros do and use mirrors to solve five common design problems

Here’s a riddle: What one design element can make a space seem larger, brighter, more interesting, and more pulled together? That’s right, mirrors. Decorators everywhere value the versatility and functionality of mirrors, from the grand statement pieces to the subtler, functional varieties.

And mirrors have been having a moment as a design trend. Perhaps that’s because this year has given us plenty of time at home to reflect?

How mirrors can help

Mirrors can define a space, brighten it up, highlight (or replace) a view, and add a focal point if used strategically. The bottom line, they create the illusion of more space. They have earned their MVP title. If you are facing a design dilemma, try getting inspired by some beautiful spaces that use mirrors in impressive ways.

Here are some guidelines for problem-solving with mirrors in your home.

Problem #1: Not enough space

They can’t turn a cottage into a mansion, but mirrors have an almost magical way of making a room seem a bit larger and less crowded. Designers stress the importance of size and position when using a mirror to visually expand a space. Bigger mirrors work better and hanging a mirror at eye level or leaning it against a wall (if the mirror is very large and heavy) is best.

The only hard and fast rule when using mirrors this way is not to overdo it. Mirrors should be on at most two walls in a room, or it will look like you are trying too hard.

Try positioning a mirror opposite a large window, French or sliding glass doors. That will not only trick the eye into thinking the room is larger than it is, it will also address the next common design problem.

Problem #2: Not enough light

Mirrors can make a room seem brighter by reflecting and amplifying natural light. A well-placed mirror, particularly one opposite a window or door, is an easy way to make a room more inviting.

In a windowless room or an area like a stairway or hallway, a strategically positioned mirror can multiply the effect of a lamp or overhead light source. Again, exercise restraint, especially in bedrooms and dining areas. Too many mirrors or mirrors awkwardly placed can make a room’s inhabitants feel uncomfortable.

Mirrors can be used to brighten outdoor spaces as well. Experiment with mirrors as décor on your patio or outdoor living space, especially at night with candles and twinkle lights.

Problem #3: Something to hide

It’s always best to position a mirror so that it reflects something pleasant. But mirrors are also great for keeping unpleasant sights from view.

Replacing the regular glass in a kitchen cabinet or hutch with mirrored glass will hide its contents and create some visual magic. If you don’t like the view from a window, replace it with a mirror, or hang a mirror in front of it.

Problem #4: No focal point 

If your room lacks cohesion, a well-placed mirror can pull everything together. Mirrors can connect spaces, such as the dining area and kitchen in an open floor plan. A statement mirror on a mantel or over a buffet will draw the eye toward what you want to emphasize, perhaps a fabulous fireplace or piece of furniture. In an entryway, a mirror can be both welcoming and functional.

Problem #5: Boring!

Mirrors can be treated like pieces of art. They can set a mood and add interest to otherwise dull spaces. Hanging a selection of vintage or similarly themed mirrors gallery style is a fun way to liven up a hallway or living room wall. A mix of mirrors layered on a shelf or mantel can add style and personality to a room.

The best thing about mirrors

While the reflective glass in a mirror does all the magical heavy lifting, its frame or edge treatment is what makes it so versatile. You can find mirrors of all sizes, styles, and shapes to fit any need and design preference.

Try mixing and matching mirrors with gold and silver frames and putting all types of wooden-framed mirrors together in interesting ways. There are no rules – except the one about overdoing it, of course – so have fun experimenting, using our tips for inspiration.

Decocrated loves mirrors

Our members love to incorporate mirrors into their décor and we agree! Our Summer Decocrated subscription box included the wood mirror below!

Decocrated can help you take your home décor to a new level with our seasonal subscription boxes and access to carefully curated pieces like these featured mirrors in our members-only shop.

With a Decocrated subscription, you’ll get a wide variety of hand-picked items every season, featuring MVP-worthy items that will make your home the fairest of them all.