Concluding this series about displaying art, today is all about mirrors. A couple weeks ago this series started with a discussion on how/when/where to use a single larger piece of art. The following week was about creating exciting groupings and last week I shared what’s involved in creating a collage art display.
Mirrors in Home Decor
Why would you use a mirror instead of hanging a piece of art? A few reasons that come to mind are:
- to reflect light from a window or chandelier throughout the room
- to reflect an outdoor view
- to visually expand a space because the reflection doubles the expanse
- for the function – to check hair/makeup before leaving the house
- to introduce a different shape or texture
- to reinforce a style with the frame shape
- to create a focal point in an otherwise featureless room
The scale and ornate frame of this mirror definitely works to emphasize the other furnishings and the gray large scale wallpaper pattern. It also serves to establish the desk area as a focal point in the room.
As a single piece over a console table, this mirror is the right scale and well integrated into the vignette, but is it the right finish? In such light and bright surroundings, is the dark frame too much contrast? Even balanced by the dark chair, I feel like the mirror gets too much emphasis and a lighter, maybe weatherbeaten finish would be more pleasing.
This creative hanging of a mirror makes effective use of a window wall without blocking and losing the light.
Functional as well as beautiful, this entry mirror lets you check hair and hemlines before you leave the house, reflects pretty art on the adjoining wall and looks stunning while doing it! Its modern aesthetic is in nice counterpoint to the traditional trim and furnishings.
Mirrors as Art
You should use the same principles for choosing and hanging mirrors as you would a similarly sized piece of art. The mirror should be proportionate to the wall size and furnishings around it, it should be hung low enough to connect to the chest or sofa under it, and the frame should blend or contrast (depending on your preference) with its surroundings. The only additional consideration is that a mirror might require a more sturdy hook due to the extra weight.
Used as a single piece of art in the above pictures, you can see that the mirror is at least 2/3 the size of the furniture piece and is hung nice and low to connect to the vignette.
Mirrors can also be grouped to great effect. Just as with standard art, grouping smaller pieces together to form a perceived larger whole is a great solution to filling a wall. Using a mirror collection has the added benefit of reflecting light around the room. If you don’t have a pretty view or wall to reflect, a grouping of mirrors works well because the reflection is broken up and made more interesting.
The variety of frames and shapes dynamically fill this oddly shaped wall. This collection is much stronger gathered together than it would be scattered around the home. While the starburst mirror alone over the mirrored hall table would be pretty, isn’t this much more dramatic?
Repetition, grids and stacking techniques all work equally well with mirrors. Here the stacking technique fills this tall narrow wall space effectively.
Lots of dining rooms use a large mirror hung over a sideboard or server instead of art. I’ve never been a fan of that because I don’t like the idea of looking across the table and seeing myself reflected in a mirror as I eat. However, this grouping of mirrors would work much better for me because the reflection of the guests would be broken up and less disturbing.
Brighten a dark accent wall color with a reflective collection.
The last way (last week) I discussed hanging art was in a collage grouping with dimensional items or something of a different texture. The reflection offered by a mirror can be considered a ‘different texture’.
In the 2 photos above, variety was introduced by the use of a different shape (round) for the mirror as well as a new texture (reflective). You can see the importance of using the reflection to greatest advantage.
Bigger is Better
Sometimes bigger is better when it comes to mirrors. A trend over the last several years has been to use oversized mirrors propped on the floor or leaning on a mantel to make a statement. Oversize mirrors can almost function as another window in the room if used properly – they will magnify the light sources….just make sure the reflection is of something you really want to see.
In each of these photos the mirror takes center stage in the room, creating a window and a focal point for the space.
Art Series Concluded
This mini-series on grouping and hanging art has been fun and full of information that I hope you’ll use to update and freshen your art arrangements. When you get to spring cleaning mode, make yourself a promise to re-evaluate your art – where it is, how it’s grouped, how high it’s hung, etc. Take art down and shake things up by looking at your collection with new eyes and your new-found knowledge. Then, send us a photo of your reworked art wall. We’d love to see your progress!