There is no doubt that mirrors are one of the most important weapons in a designer’s arsenal; adding instant glamour and interest, while maximising light and boosting the sense of space.
They can also become works of art in themselves, and we’ve never had so much choice.
‘I can’t get enough of them,’ says interior designer Olivia Outred. ‘I like to use oversized mirrors to make rooms appear larger and small mirrors above doors for a sense of surprise.’
Illusion: A large mirror will add more light and boost the sense of space in a room
This is the clever thing about mirrors; they allow one to manipulate dimensions and light for desired effect.
A strategically placed mirror in a windowless basement can create the impression of a window, or one cunningly placed behind a switched-on lamp creates ‘the illusion of more space and also helps to change up the look and overall mood of the room’, says Anna Cross, buying manager of Habitat Home Living. So how best to use them?
The sky is the limit when it comes to frames: there is such a diverse range out there from gilt (gold leaf or paint) to rope to plaster, plastic, ceramic or driftwood. There is a certain opulence to an antique or gilt framed mirror.
It’s best to scour antique shops and auctions for these or, alternatively, plump for a good replica such as Ayers & Graces Monaco Gold Gilt Ornate picture frame (£345).
Textured mirrors in rattan and bamboo are popular and not just in bathrooms: Pooky’s Chui mirror in woven cane exudes laid-back elegance (£160) and the Singa Natural Seagrass wall mirror from Oliver Bonas grabs as much attention as any extravagant gilt overmantel mirror (£98).
Statement mirrors are stand-alone pieces of art; a sunburst (circular mirrors with extravagant sunrays) will immediately inject glamour, try Maisons Du Monde’s Massala Gold Metal Sunburst mirror (£263).
Make a statement: Maisons Du Monde sunburst, £263
For those with very, very deep pockets New York sculptor Stephan Antonson’s hand-made plaster mirrors are true statement pieces: check out his playful Cosimo mirror with its curvy rings (£10,470).
Mirror walls and galleries are another fun way to play with reflection. These work brilliantly on dark walls to bring much-needed light.
The secret when hanging a cluster of mirrors is to link them by frame type or shape; round mirrors and gilt mirrors are good starting points. Graham & Green’s Antiqued Gold Pendant mirrors blend well in a cluster (£225).
As the trend for taking our interiors outside continues to grow, garden mirrors are becoming increasingly popular.
Archway and window mirrors look brilliant outside and can work wonders on small roof terraces, introducing a sense of space and reflecting light into more shady spots.
In large outside spaces, they can reflect garden paths, pretty foliage or hint at a secret garden beyond. We love Cox & Cox’s Industrial Outdoor Window Mirror (£225).
The mantra to remember is that the smaller the space, the bigger the mirror. A small mirror or one with a thick or ornate frame will detract from what you’re trying to achieve.
Hang a simple long mirror in a short hallway to add depth or hang them on either side of a narrow corridor to add width.
In a bijou sitting room, a large mirror tucked behind two armchairs and a console table will make the room appear much larger.
Neptune’s Carter mirror with its simple chic brushed-steel frame is a good investment piece (£600) as is Made’s large Arles leaner mirror which seamlessly blends into any space (£259).
A clever trick to enlarge a small galley kitchen is to use mirrored glass as a splashback running underneath the top cupboards: this also works on the back of shelves and is easy to do.
Paned mirrors are increasingly popular and brilliant for creating the illusion of a window where there are none, or to create balance with an existing window.
Habitat’s Window Pane mirror in black is a snip at £35 and La Redoute’s Lenaig window-style mirror works well in an entranceway (£110).
An arched mirror with a thin frame strategically placed on a wall can look like a doorway and is a fun way of reflecting certain aspects of the room. Try The White Company’s Chiltern full-length (£350.
Smoke and mirrors
Arguably the chicest mirrors are smoked, making them purely decorative due to their clouded, marked reflection.
Antiqued Mirror’s Georgian Dark Cloud is suitably decadent and looks fabulous above a console table or in a dining room catching the candlelight (£390).
The cherry on the cake is the convex mirror, which alters the light and gives a different perspective.
Check out The Convex Mirror Company’s Ferrara Nero 112 which is hand silvered to the client’s taste, be it lightly foxed or heavily antiqued (from £1,375).
Now that you have your mirrors sorted the last thing to do is hope one’s reflection is up to scratch…
What your home really needs is a… wildflower vase
Go wild: The bud vase from The White Company is £6
‘Cottagecore’ is the name now being given to the fashion for all things rural: the world of interiors is given to taking liberties with the language.
But irritation over this should not stop you from adopting some of the elements of this style, such as the small vase for blooms from your garden, a bunch of wild flowers, or sprigs of greenery picked on a walk.
A core tenet of cottagecore is that ‘the difference between a flower and weed is a judgment’ and a posy of buttercups, clover and daisies brightens any kitchen table — in the countryside or in town.
Every home needs more natural touches — and this is a trend that costs next-to-nothing.
Marks & Spencer has several shapes of small glass vase for £5 each, while the bud vase from The White Company is £6.
The Habitat Roma vase in yellow costs just £10 and for £20.50 you can get four mini bud vases in ombre from Not On The High Street.
The Black Toast Little Goldfish Bowl vase from Emma Bridgewater (£39.95) is engraved with the words buttercups and daisies. Why not go wild in the country?