Mir­ror, mir­ror!


Mir­rors are one of those el­e­ments that are re­quired in ev­ery home in mul­ti­ple lo­ca­tions and find their way into most pub­lic spa­ces, not just in the bath­rooms. They pro­vide more than our van­ity check or to aid in self-care and groom­ing.

Mir­rors are slightly mag­i­cal. They dis­tort if placed at a cer­tain an­gle. They show the re­verse or “mir­ror” im­age of their sub­ject. Mir­rors speak the truth, pro­vid­ing a very real, undis­torted view of re­al­ity that can­not be al­tered in Pho­to­shop, for bet­ter or worse.

As in­te­rior de­sign­ers, we of­ten use mir­rors as tools. There are the nu­mer­ous ef­fects of the glass, which we use to achieve many out­comes: to fool the eye and ex­pand the per­cep­tion of space; to ex­po­nen­tially in­crease the amount of light in a space; to fa­cil­i­tate en­joy­ment of a vista when fac­ing the op­po­site di­rec­tion of a win­dow or door; or to add a sense of open­ing or por­tal to a space with few or no win­dows. We also take ad­van­tage of them to re­flect the back of a sculp­ture to be ap­pre­ci­ated as much as the front, or to dou­ble the de­light of flow­ers, lit can­dles, or any­thing else placed in front of them.

Mir­rors can also be used to set mood. Ap­ply­ing re­verse-paint­ing or an­tiquing adds a hazymys­ti­cism to a room. They can be placed in­mul­ti­ples or in key spots to pro­vide small, in­trigu­ing glimpses or to add sparkle.

The shape and size of a mir­ror is yet an­other source of im­pact, and re­quires con­sid­er­a­tion of other fac­tors. If most sur­round­ing el­e­ments in a room are squared, im­ple­ment­ing a dif­fer­ent shape breaks the lines, and be­comes a fea­ture, whether round, arched, oval or par­a­bolic. Dra­matic ef­fect can be achieved with long, slen­der mir­rors, placed either hor­i­zon­tally or ver­ti­cally. Con­versely, if arched win­dows are in the vicin­ity, or if clean lines through­out are called for, then squared off is the best ap­proach. If the room needs height­en­ing, then the taller the bet­ter.

The fin­ish or ma­te­rial of the frame is the most ob­vi­ous fac­tor in se­lect­ing a mir­ror when not a slab mir­ror. The choices are end­less: wood, leather, me­tal, fab­ric, horn, drift­wood, or shell, heav­ily carved, distressed, painted or stained, with dec­o­ra­tive em­bel­lish­ment such as nail heads, hand-paint­ing, bone... even por­cu­pine quills! One de­ter­mi­na­tion is just how­much you want the frame to make a state­ment and de­mand no­tice, rather than to merely pro­vide a fin­ish­ing de­tail. That helps de­ter­mine not only the fin­ish, but the vis­ual weight both in width and depth.

Cre­at­ing a cus­tom mir­ror by uti­liz­ing a good frame shop is not only a lot of fun, with hun­dreds of choices at your fin­ger­tips, but also al­lows you to pro­duce the ex­act size needed for a par­tic­u­lar lo­ca­tion. Lay­er­ing two or three mold­ings can be a great­way to add in­ter­est, and com­bine col­ors, tex­tures, and cre­ate di­men­sion. Mold­ing sam­ples can be taken home on-ap­proval to find just the right com­bi­na­tion for your space.

To bevel or not to bevel, and in what in­cre­ment, is an­other de­tail for con­sid­er­a­tion. Used in more tra­di­tional set­tings, beveled edges add fi­nesse and el­e­gance, but can add a con­sid­er­able amount to the cost of a cus­tom­mir­ror.

Mir­rors can be­come art. They are both dec­o­ra­tive and highly func­tional, and can be valu­able ad­di­tions to many kinds of in­te­ri­ors.

Heather Van Luchene, ASID, and St­ef­fany Hollingsworth, ASID, are part­ners in­HVL In­te­ri­ors, LLC, an in­te­rior de­sign firm of­fer­ing pro­fes­sional res­i­den­tial and hos­pi­tal­ity de­sign ser­vices. Both areNew Mex­ico-li­censed in­te­rior de­sign­ers. They can be reached at (505) 983-3601 or info@ hvlin­te­ri­ors.com.


The An­jou Mir­ror by Donghia, Inc., of Mil­ford, Ct.

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