The Use of Mirrors in Interior Design

Mirrors have long been a staple in interior design, used creatively to enhance the aesthetic and functionality of living spaces. The use of mirrors dates back centuries, with the earliest manufactured mirrors appearing during the Renaissance era. These early mirrors were made by coating glass with metals like tin and mercury to create a reflective surface.

Best Use of Mirrors in Interior Design

The quality and availability of mirrors improved during the mid-19th century with the introduction of silvered glass. This allowed mirrors to become an affordable and standard decorating tool. By the 20th century, large panes of mirrored glass were being mass produced, allowing mirrors to become a prominent interior design feature in the modern era.

Today, mirrors are a versatile element that serves both practical and visual purposes in home décor. Interior designers use mirrors’ unique properties to meet spatial and lighting needs creatively. Mirrors can transform a room’s look and feel from enlarging a room to amplifying natural light. When thoughtfully placed, they add dimension, focal points, and a sense of expanded space to any interior environment.

Create the Illusion of More Space

Mirrors are commonly used in interior design to make a room feel larger than it is. With strategic placement on walls and multiple mirrors, the eye perceives greater depth and dimension in the space.

One effective technique is to hang a large mirror on a wall opposite a window. The mirror will reflect light and views from the window, essentially “doubling” the window and creating the illusion of a bigger, brighter room. Position the mirror to reflect something attractive, like a view of nature or architectural details. This also enhances the visual appeal.

Long horizontal mirrors placed at eye level or above can widen the look of a narrow room or hallway. The mirror expands the field of view down the length of the wall. Vertical mirrors can also draw the eyes up, making the ceiling appear higher.

Groupings of small mirrors create a repetitive effect that recedes into the distance, making the room feel more profound than it is. Cluster square or rectangular mirrors together on a wall for this spatial lengthening effect.

Strategically placed mirrors near seating areas make small spaces feel more expansive by reflecting views and light across a wider field of vision from all angles.

With thoughtful placement and plenty of reflection, mirrors can work magic to enlarge the dimensions and brightness of any interior space.

Enhance Natural Lighting

Strategically placed mirrors can dramatically enhance and amplify the natural lighting in a room. Mirrors reflect sunlight and artificial light, helping to brighten up dark corners and shadows.

Positioning mirrors across from windows is an effective way to reflect and distribute daylight throughout an interior space. The mirrored surface catches the sunlight shining through the window and reflects it further into the room, brightening up areas that might otherwise feel dim.

Mirrors decor in interior design

Placing mirrors along walls opposite doors or hallways leading to naturally lit rooms can also help bring brighter light into adjoining darker spaces. The mirrors reflect light from the more brilliant adjacent rooms.

You can also angle mirrors to specifically target and illuminate dark corners or areas of shadow caused by architectural elements like staircases. Pointing the mirrored surface towards the darker zone will reflect light directly into that space.

Strategic mirror placement should factor in the path of natural light during different times of day. Placement across from east-facing windows amplifies morning light while west-facing windows boost late afternoon and evening light. South facing windows provide the most even daylight over a day.

In addition to fixed wall mirrors, using movable mirrors, smaller accent mirrors, or mirrored furniture allows flexibility to reflect and amplify natural light differently over a day.

Thoughtfully placed mirrors create brighter, uplifting interior spaces by effectively enhancing and distributing natural light. Their reflective qualities transform the ambience of a room that would otherwise feel dim or shadowed.

Complement the Architecture

Strategically placed mirrors can complement and highlight the existing architecture in a space. Mirrors with arched frames or shapes can mirror arched doorways, windows, and other architectural details.

Rectangular mirrors can also reflect and draw attention to geometric architectural features like exposed wood beams on the ceiling. Their firm lines and angles play off the home’s structure.

Ornate mirror frames are another way to complement more intricate, decorative architectural accents in a room. An antique gold mirror with carvings can reflect and amplify millwork, crown mouldings, and other ornate trim elements. This creates a cohesive flow between the mirror style and interior architecture.

Floor-to-ceiling mirrors are excellent for opening hallways or stairwells and highlighting vertical details on walls and ceilings. The reflection creates the illusion of more space while simultaneously framing beautiful aspects of the architecture.

The thoughtful mirror placement that reflects and accentuates existing architectural features, regardless of the shape and style, helps unify the decor. The mirror becomes an intentional part of the interior design rather than just an accent piece.

Add Depth

Strategically placed mirrors can create a sense of depth and dimension in an interior space. By reflecting artwork, architectural details, and other design elements, mirrors add visual interest and make a space feel larger and more expansive.

One effective technique is to layer mirrors behind artwork, sculptures, vases, or other decorative objects. The mirror creates the illusion that the object is floating within a more profound composition. This adds a three-dimensional quality and makes the entire display more dynamic.

Consider placing a large mirror with art objects and accessories behind a console table. The mirror reflects and multiplies the objects, creating an intricate, museum-like installation with visual textures and details.

Or hang a mirror behind a sofa or sectional to reflect the wall decor. This envelopes the seating area within the overall design scheme, increasing cohesion. The mirror also amplifies the sense of depth, making the wall appear farther away.

When designing with mirrors, vary shapes, sizes, and orientations to prevent a static, overly-matchy look. Mix rectangular, circular, arched, or abstractly shaped mirrors to add diversity and interest.

Thoughtfully placed mirrors can turn any blank wall or mundane corner into an intricate, visually inviting space with a three-dimensional quality that feels expansive and layered. Get creative with mirrors to add depth and intrigue throughout an interior.

Impact Focal Points

Strategically placed mirrors can draw the eye towards critical focal points in a room, like artwork, architectural details, or a fireplace. Using a mirror to reflect and double the impact of these elements is an easy trick to make them stand out as the star of the space.

For example, placing a large mirror above a fireplace mantel can visually amplify the feature. The mirror will reflect the fireplace and the flickering flames and light from the fire. This makes the fireplace a bolder focal point.

Similarly, positioning a mirror adjacent to a piece of artwork or decorative wall hanging can create a striking reflected image. The mirror doubles the artwork, allowing more of the room to be filled with beauty. This instantly pulls the eye towards the art.

When using mirrors this way, consider the mirror’s sh, ape, size and framing above, as well as the scale and the style of the focal point. You want the mirror to complement the existing feature, not overwhelm it. Place the mirror at eye level or aligned with the specific element so the reflection is optimally captured.

With strategic mirror placement, you can highlight the best features of a space for a brilliant effect. The mirrors will magnify and draw attention exactly where you want it.

Create Symmetry

The strategic placement of mirrors in a room can create a pleasing sense of symmetry and balance. Mirrors are a fantastic tool for visually balanced layouts, particularly in entryways, living rooms, and bedrooms.

Centrally placing identical mirrors on opposite walls draws the eye back and forth, creating a harmonious effect. This technique works exceptionally well when mirrors frame an architectural feature like a fireplace or window. Symmetrically placed mirrors also balance lighter and darker wall colours or patterns.

Alternating mirror sizes on each wall provides rhythm. For example, flank a large mirror on one side with two smaller mirrors on the opposite wall. This creates the illusion of even proportions on both sides.

Similarly, mirrors hung above nightstands and dressers promote equilibrium. Opt for identical shapes and frames to strengthen the mirroring effect when selecting pairs.

Artful arrangements of wall décor, from grouped frames to mounted sculptures, gain balance with reflecting mirrors. Match objects across from each other for optimal symmetry.

Thoughtfully reflecting architectural elements and decorative accessories make any space feel stable, organized and pleasing to the eye. Mirrors artfully provide symmetry.

Reflect Views

Mirrors can be strategically placed to reflect attractive outdoor views, bringing the outdoors inside. Position a mirror across from a window overlooking a garden, landscape, or other scenic outdoor area. The mirror will double the view, making a small window or limited view seem more expansive.

For example, placing a large mirror opposite a kitchen window provides the impression of a bigger window with a broader view. The mirror reflects the trees and garden outside, filling the room with more greenery and sunlight. Strategically angled mirrors can also allow you to see more of the view from a particular vantage point.

Consider the optimal viewing height and position in the room to reflect the best features of the outdoor view. A floor length mirror may capture more of a garden view from a higher window, while a wall mirror may better reflect a closer landscape. Evaluate the angles and dimensions to determine the ideal mirror size and placement.

Reflecting outdoor scenery brings nature indoors in an exciting way. It expands sight lines and allows more people to enjoy the view from different places in the room. Mirrors offer passive enjoyment of outdoor views year-round, even during inclement weather or seasons when views are less visible. Strategic mirror placement transforms a room by filling it with the outdoors.

Consider Placement

When using mirrors for interior design, placement is critical. Where and how you position a mirror in a room can dramatically affect how it impacts the space. Here are some placement tips:


  • Place floor mirrors low to the ground to make a room feel more spacious and airy. A mirror near the floor reflects more of the room, visually expanding the space.
  • Position mirrors at eye level or higher to create the illusion of a taller ceiling. This makes rooms feel more extensive and more open.
  • Hang mirrors high on the wall, reaching close to the ceiling, to give the impression of a higher ceiling and vertically elongate the proportions of a space.


  • Anchor a mirror on a focal wall or above a fireplace to highlight critical architectural elements and reflect views.
  • Install mirrors behind seating areas such as sofas or beds to expand the perspective with reflected views. This makes the space feel deeper.
  • Lean mirrors against walls or display them on easels to create flexible focal points and enable you to adjust reflections. 


  • Angle mirrors to provide an expanded perspective of the room, with more expansive reflective views.
  • Tilt mirrors to bounce lighting across a space and brighten dark corners.
  • Turn mirrors to face seating areas and reflect outdoor scenery or architecture through windows. This brings the outdoors in.
  • Flip mirrors to face each other and create an infinite reflective visual effect.

Frame and Style Options

When choosing a mirror, the frame is an important consideration that can significantly impact the mirror’s look and function within a space. There are several frame options to evaluate:

Framed vs. Frameless

Framed mirrors feature a border around the glass, while frameless mirrors have a clean, minimalist edge. Framed mirrors are more decorative, drawing the eye to intricate details along the frame. Frameless mirrors blend seamlessly into the wall, creating a lightweight, airy look.

Framed mirrors work well in traditional spaces with lots of trim and moulding. The ornamental frame enhances these elements. Frameless mirrors suit modern, minimalist rooms by focusing on clean lines.

Antique vs. Modern

Along with the frame itself, the mirror’s overall style matters. Antique mirror frames have an aged, weathered appearance with imperfections that add character. Often gold, silver or white-washed, they suit traditional, vintage and rustic settings.

Modern frames have simple, sleek lines that seamlessly fit with contemporary decor. Polished metals like silver, bronze and nickel create a refined, understated look. For a modern edge, try frameless mirrors with bevelled or rounded corners.

Matching Style to Room Decor

When selecting a mirror, choose options that complement your furniture and decor. Try a rectangular bevelled frameless mirror in a transitional dining room to mix modern straight lines with traditional mouldings. A round frameless mirror contrasts the room’s straight edges for a contemporary bedroom.

Take stock of your colour scheme, textures, shapes and period to determine if an antique, ornate frame or sleek, modern frameless mirror best fits the space. The mirror should enhance your design rather than compete with it.


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