The use of Mirrors to make your space bigger is a common practice amongst interior designers. Some will expertly place mirrors in a variety of positions and items. Some will simply place a mirror just because there is an empty piece of wall that nobody knew what to do with. Well, there are many places you could place a mirror and not every wall is a good wall to put a mirror. Some works better than others. This post aims to explore the placement of mirrors to extend space effectively and as well as placements that doesn’t create such as nice effect and will waste a nice piece of wall which could be well decorated with beautiful paintings or wall shelving. This post will also look at the use of items of polished metal surfaces that also reflects lights and movements well to create an unique effect.
Walls of Mirror
Full-Height mirrors is a great tool for extending your space, visually. There are recent trends of using tinted mirrors to reflect spaces and some interior designers will tell you that clear mirrors are items of past. Well, I have to disagree with the professionals. In my honest opinion, tinted mirrors makes it too obvious that you are looking at a mirror. This looses the surreal effect of looking at a well placed mirror to “trick” the eyes into believing that there is a space beyond the mirror. I had this realisation recently when visiting the show flat Lush Acres, a Executive Condominium (EC) Unit that I had bought recently. I am looking at a shelving fixed above the sofa and had believed that the deigners had knocked down that wall behind the sofa and built a shelf in place of the wall. It was not until my observant wife told me that the “wall” that I was “looking through” was simply mirrors. Yes, they are mirrors placed at the back of the shelf. The shelvings cleverly conceals the obvious case of a mirror behind it by limiting the reflection that you can see, making it more difficult for the eyes to make out the reflection actually belonged to the person standing beside you (except when its yourself or someone that you know is standing beside you). This gave me that idea of building a similar mirror-backed shelf for my home.
Notice the Shelving above the Sofa? No, no walls were hacked. Its the mirrors that played on my eyes. 🙂 This is especially when viewing from an angel standing near the dining room Windows. (Picture from CDL Website)
That is not to say that mirrors placed in plain sight could not do wonders. Setting up a wall of mirrors perpendicular to a set of full glass windows do produce awesome results. Placing mirrors perpendicularly to windows will visually extend the space as the reflection of the windows “extends” into the mirror itself, hence creating an impression that the room is bigger than what it appears to be. If you place a set of mirrors on a wall beside (not perpendicular) to a set of windows, you will not see this visual continuum and the effects would just be, mirrors. The reason why mirrors worked so well with windows is because of the large amount of natural light that it will reflect and the external environment that is filled with movements that leaves your eyes wondering where the object is really at (reflections swapped the directions of a moving object as well).
Placing Mirrors perpendicular to the Windows extends the space most effectively. (Picture from FurnishBurning)
You could opt for framed up mirrors for the more subtle effects. (Picture from Jordan Guide Designs)
The most surreal placement of mirrors for me would on a large piece of wall with a single door. The door would appear to be floating in a space and the entrance would be akin to entry into another dimension and the door design could easily become a focal point in a minimalist setup. If you do it for a long wall with multiple doors, in my opinion, that effect would somehow be dulled. Placing objects on a mirrored wall would also create the same effect. Put an open shelf along the joint lines of the mirrors and you will get the same treatment with the shelves appearing to be floating on a space. Hang a black flat screen TV (to create a contrast) on a mirrored wall and you will get the same wonder.
A wall of mirrors with just the door as a centerpiece. Totally surreal. 🙂 (Picture from Furnnish Blog)
Although wall mounted mirrors are great in expanding a small space effectively, I felt that it’s effect was created right “in-your-face”. As such, I would like to go into another type of “mirrors” that would create a more subtle effect of space expansion, or rather in the effect of another “dimension”. I am talking about objects with highly polished surfaces. Such objects reflects light on a smaller scale, and reflects any movement around the room or even from the scenery beyond the windows if you placed it beside an open space such as balconies or window panes. The reflections of the movements happening “inside” the objects creates a separate dimension within the object itself, adding an interesting element to the space-object relationship within the room. Pick sculptural objects with mirror finishing and you will get perfect conversation pieces. But with all things, there is always a downside. For such objects, they are fingerprint magnets and you need to maintain them for the optimum shine. 🙂
There are quite a few pieces of interesting items which you will find them doing exceptionally well for the above-mentioned effects. Pendant lamps hanging beside the windows/balconies, vases, centerpieces and small sculptures all worked very well. I will leave you with some of my favourites “Mirror Objects” which you may find interesting. They are mostly sculptural objects that had been finished in mirror shine or everyday shapes that were made special by that mirror effect.
Artemide Mercury Pendant Lamp by Ross Lovegrove