From a child’s perspective, mirrors are mystical things that enable them to look into worlds as great as the ones they live in, but far more fascinating because they can only reach them in their imaginations. Fictitious or not, the characteristics that mirrors display in fairy tales, myths and legends are exactly the same as those we expect from our mirrors. I’d say that even as adults, the magic in the mirror doesn’t lessen or release its hold on our imaginations.
Mirrors have the potential to empower us. As we look at ourselves, we can practice expressions we’ll use on important occasions we have coming up (come on – we’ve all done it!) For most of us though, the longest time spent in front of a mirror is during the process of getting washed and dressed in the morning, after which we return – sometimes begrudgingly – to the real world on our side of the mirror. The main magic to be found from our time in front of the mirror is that it allows us to go out and face the day feeling confident in ourselves, knowing we look the part. Could you leave the house without first checking your appearance in the mirror?
Ignoring the magical connotations we’ve attached to mirrors, pretty much since the first person saw themselves in a puddle, mirrors are useful. There are places in our offices and houses where mirrors are both purposeful and visually pleasing. For example, it is hugely satisfying to enter or leave an office or house that has a large mirror in the reception or entry hall. Over the years probably millions of people have dodged multitudinous grave cases of hat-hair when arriving at parties using the well placed mirror in the hallway of their host’s house. In addition to this it can prove important to have a full length mirror in our bedroom or dressing room – countless mismatched outfits for women and horrendously garish bad shirt and tie combinations for men have been corrected before they make it out of our bedrooms thanks to dressing mirrors.
As well as being a defence against poor clothing and hairstyle choices, mirrors are fantastic as spatial enhancers and can often be found in positions where they seem to double the size of rooms. They are also fantastic when it comes to adding extra light to rooms and placed intelligently can seem to increase insufficient amounts of windows. However, if we used mirrors solely for these practical purposes, they would only ever be found in positions and places of practicality, not to mention in practical designs – which, obviously, is not the case.
With thousands of years’ of myths and magical properties attached to mirrors, it’s not a surprise that when we decorate, mirrors are such a prominent feature of so many homes, offices and hotels – everywhere really. They can be used copiously as purely decorative components in a room. Dotted about the place in an assortment of frame styles, shapes and sizes. They can be mounted high and low on the wall. They are a relentless reminder of the secrets that hide inside them. As a reflection of our world and lives, mirrors are genuinely magical and fascinating to the majority of us.
With all these diversities in mind, at Mirrorworld, we know that choosing the right mirror for the right place can be a huge decision, with much deliberation over size and design. Even if you already know the look you’re after, the enormous number of possibilities can be alarming. So, over the next few weeks, we’re going to give you some tips that, hopefully, will help you to narrow the possibilities and choose the perfect mirror and perfect positions to use them, to match the rest of your interior design and the purpose you want it for.
Like your reflection, Venetian mirrors sparkle and amaze. They were first used as decorative pieces in ball rooms, drawing rooms and banquet halls rather than as looking glasses for bedrooms. The opulent, elegant frames were often etched, or smoked, with additional pieces of mirror layered onto them to add depth. This stunning example of a Venetian mirror from the 1870s has a bevelled mirror surrounded by an extravagantly carved and etched frame.
Venetian mirrors tend to be built slowly, step by step. Each piece of glass, whether clear or coloured, that makes up the ostentatious structure is cut and shaped to the size required and then bevelled, polished and etched individually. Next, each piece of the glass has the silvering added, then finally, the pieces are assembled and fastened into position on a wooden frame.
Venetian mirrors, with their beautiful etched glass frames and sense of drama, make the perfect complement to dining rooms, living rooms and hallways.
Mirroring a Wall
Creating a ‘mirror wall’ is a technique frequently used to produce the impression of space where it is lacking.
The sitting space in this bedroom gives a good example of this system being displayed in an unusual and aesthetically pleasing way. Instead of using just one large stretch of glass, the designers have used three framed mirrors on top of a patterned wallpaper which not only creates the illusion of added space, but also brings attention to the textures and layers of the room.
To help you to make your small rooms seem larger using this method, here are a few tricks of the trade;
…and your mirror by hanging it vertically, or the ‘wrong way round’, over a sideboard or a console table. This arrangement, with the mirror perhaps opposite to the doorway to the next room, will elongate your room and also accentuate a room’s high ceiling and seem to add height to the walls in rooms with lower ceilings. One other benefit of hanging your mirror vertically, particularly for dining room mirrors, is that hanging your mirror vertically will make your reflection look considerably thinner than it would in a mirror that was hung in the more traditional horizontal fashion.
Glamour and Art Deco Mirrors
If you ever happen to watch any old, black-and-white films, you may well see a living room or a boudoir with a mirror that bears this sort of design. Art Deco began, as with many things in the world of fashion and design, in France, shortly after the First World War. It became massively popular around the world during the 20s, 30s & 40s before going out of fashion after the Second World War.
Still widely available, Art Deco mirrors can look clean and modern, and – depending on the design – slightly antiquated at the same time. They can appear particularly seemly when hung over fireplaces. Shiny Art Deco materials such as chrome, black glass, and blue mirrors, coupled with Art Deco’s characteristic rich colours, bold geometric shapes and lavish ornamentation can really add a sense of assertive beauty to your room.
Interesting and Unusual Mirrors
Many people are concerned that they will have to part with vast sums of money to put together a collection of cool and unique mirrors.
This couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t need to worry about the price to be able to concoct a truly amazing collection of interesting and unusual mirrors. Some of the best places to find funky mirrors and frames can be small independent antique shops. Or places that provide made to measure services and will allow you to pick the size and shape of your mirror and the frame you want it in.
Unusual and interesting mirrors can be made in myriad styles, transcend periods in history and consist of a variety of materials. They could be antique mirrors, art deco mirrors or contemporary mirrors. As long as they have something unique about their shape, their glass, their frame, the material they’re made from, anything really.
The great thing about unusual mirrors is just that; they are unusual. If you find the right one, nobody will have a mirror exactly the same as yours and everybody will want it. They look great in any size as well.
You can use them as centrepieces in your living room or dining room, you can use them above the sideboard in your hall, put them in your bathroom, or have them in your bedroom as dressing mirrors – they will look great anywhere. Not only will they look great, the right mirror will command the space, demanding to be looked at. Unusual mirrors really have the potential to add the finishing touch to any room they’re used in.
Using our award winning made to measure tool. You can create your very own unique mirror and have a piece that will draw the eye of any who see it, without the designer price tag.