The Ultimate Mirrors Design Guide

One of the easiest ways to dress up a room and add depth is by using accent mirrors. Accent mirrors are used like any occasional piece of furniture…one individual item that may or may not match an entire set of furniture, strategically placed in an area that requires additional décor.

Traditionally, mirrors are always used in one of several places: over a dresser in the bedroom and in the powder room (of course). These mirrors tend to stress functionality more than anything else, because they are being used on a daily basis. So you have an abundance of landscape mirrors with simple wood, resin or metal frames. Landscape mirrors are hung with a longer horizontal dimension than a vertical dimension. Some powder room mirrors are paired and hung portrait style, which has a longer vertical dimension than a horizontal dimension. Mirror manufacturers today, like Bassett Mirror, Uttermost, and Cooper Classics make mirrors that can be hung both ways, which is a great convenience to homeowners.

Accent mirrors are utilitarian also, but they stress a high degree of style since they are not always used as much. These mirrors can have very ornately carved frames, some painted or highlighted with gold leaf. Other accent mirrors use unique materials such as reclaimed wood, distressed iron, or elaborately shaped resin. Some frame shapes can actually be the entire focus of the accent mirror, leaving just a small mirrored area in the center for decoration. These types of accent mirrors are much more a work of art than they are a functional mirror.

Remember that the placement of the accent mirror may determine how functional you want it to be. If the mirror is in a hallway where people pass by all day, you may want to use a more practical accent design that stresses the usability of the mirror. For example, a nice painted wood frame, or a simple iron mirror design all work well for this use. You do not want to detract from the functionality of the mirror with too elaborate or inpractical an application.

A Shell Mirror from Currey and CompanyHowever, if the mirror is in a corner spot that gets looked at a lot, but not trafficked, then you should definitely consider an eye-catching elaborate mirror with lots of panache…maybe one that uses reclaimed glass, or organic materials, or is of an unusual shape (but not too strange!). Popular designs for these kinds of accent mirrors included starburst patterns, geometric shapes (such as hexagons and octagons) and contemporary styles with minimal but striking ornamentation. These mirrors will really make the room, at very low cost relative to other options!

Lastly, remember that accent mirrors are one of the easiest ways to create a sense of space in your room. After all, they reflect light and add depth to the wall. Judiciously used, they will create an exaggerated sense of the dimensions of the room, and provide a light and airy reflection. What other home accent can do that, at such low cost? However, you don't want to go overboard either, because a line of mirrors on wall can also give the room a fragmented look. So, as with any home accent, you want to be strategic about the use and placement of accent mirrors.

Remember to consult a good designer if you have any questions about styles, colors, or materials for accent mirrors, and you can find lots of great mirrors online as well.

Richard Sexton founded Carolina Rustica 16 years ago after a one year trip around the world to celebrate a voluntary departure from the corporate life.

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