Everyone loves a home flooded with light, but the reality is that not every home has abundant natural light. The layout of the house, shade from surrounding trees and buildings, window placement and many other factors influence the amount of natural light that enters a space.
The good news? You don’t need the perfectly positioned home or floor-to-ceiling windows to create the effect of natural light in your space.
One of my favorite tricks is using large floor mirrors to mimic windows when rooms are dark or small. I use them at the end of hallways and in dining rooms, entryways and bedrooms. A large mirror in a bedroom adds both glamour and function. Place the mirror at the end of the bed, by the door or next to a closet to give your outfit a last check after getting dressed.
Lean or mount an extra-large mirror in a corner of your home that feels tight or cramped. It will immediately open up a tight hallway or create a sense of spaciousness in a small home office. Make sure to anchor any leaning floor mirrors to the wall for safety.
When we were building our home, the original plans included a French door on each side of the bathroom, both opening to our backyard. We opted instead to replace one of the French doors with a mirror. Not only did this save us from a significant expense, but it also mirrored the beautiful view of the backyard and allowed us to enjoy a full-length mirror in the bathroom.
It isn’t just large mirrors that can have a big impact. In areas of your house with obstructive furniture or other objects, choose a small mirror to get the same impact without taking up space. Consider hanging a mirror over a side table to create the look of a window and provide more light. Mirrors above sinks or vanities in the bathroom are both practical and beautiful. I love styling a smaller mirror on top of a bureau or side table alongside a stack of books, a sculptural vase of fresh or dried flowers, and a lamp or art print.
A friend and client of mine moved from a spacious home in the suburbs into a cozy apartment in the city. We knew we needed to be strategic about making the space feel open and bright, so we opted to frame the bed with mirrors on either side to mimic the look of windows. The mirrors created soft light in the space from morning until evening.
Art and mirrors
A blank living room or dining room wall is the perfect canvas for a mixture of art and mirrors. Mirrors themselves can function as standalone art pieces or as part of a gallery wall. Switch out a traditional painting for a wide mirror above a mantel or fireplace. Anchor a gallery wall with a large mirror, or place a small art print next to a mirror on an entryway table.
Find your favorite view in the house and double the effect by placing a large mirror across from it. The view itself becomes a focal point visible from all sides of the space.
Think about the way your home’s design and decor might influence the type of mirror you’ll want. Consider a natural wooden or slightly weathered frame for more organic styling, especially paired with unprocessed linen fabrics and neutral colors. A gold or silver frame feels luxurious alongside velvet fabrics and jewel tones.
A classic mirror with a clear reflection is ideal for bedrooms, bathrooms and a last outfit check in an entryway. Textured and sculptural mirrors are less practical for reflection, but they still have an enlarging and brightening effect. In fact, the earliest mirrors (think 4,000 B.C.) were pieces of polished stone and copper. While textured mirrors may not mirror exactly, they have character and dimension, blurring the line between form and function.
Wherever you use mirrors in your home, let them be an extension of your style. Then enjoy the light and space they provide.
Celeste Randolph is an interior designer in Los Altos. For more information, visit celesterandolphdesigns.com.