Mirrors are not just for moments of vanity but for enhancing light and space, writes Carol O’Callaghan
Old King Louis XIV knew a thing or two about design when he created his Hall of Mirrors at Versailles more than 300 years ago. It must have been an astonishing sight, reflecting sunlight by day and candlelight after dark, at a time when mirrors were the preserve of the rich, and used purely for purposes of deciding who was the fairest of them all.
If you’re not as lucky as King Louis in terms of budget, and possibly live in a light challenged house, just tapping into his imagination and inventiveness with a well placed mirror can have a transformative effect on your space.
Hung on a wall opposite a window, a mirror will reflect daylight into a room, making it seem brighter. Even the trend for grouping a selection of mismatched mirrors together on a wall creates the same effect.
Scale is the important thing here: the bigger the mirror or group of mirrors, the greater the light capture. This trick can have a purely aesthetic purpose too, so a beautiful garden or special tree can be brought indoors if you hang a mirror to reflect it. If a whole wall is lined with mirror fronted wardrobes, the room will magically appear to be twice the size.
But a word of caution: decorating a big room that needs more light has to be handled in a way that doesn’t make it seem cavernous. The trick here is to hang your mirrors near, but not behind, an artificial light which could otherwise create a reflection of the bulb that has the potential to blind you. An ornate, floor standing mirror leaning against a wall will reflect a chandelier hanging on the ceiling above, creating an eye-catching feature in a room.
Of course, walls and wardrobes are not the only surfaces to facilitate a mirror. Furniture with mirrored finishes draws the eye and also help with light reflection, but it’s high maintenance and will require careful handling to prevent smudges on which impact on light reflection —unless you are happy to ignore the inevitable paw prints on the surface.
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