From clean wooden-frame styles to ornate art deco pieces, mirrors add a touch of class to your home. Decorative and practical, they can be used to reflect light and create the illusion of space in smaller rooms. Statement pieces make striking focal points in living spaces, while more minimalist options will slot into your existing interior easily. This guide looks at the kinds of designs available, where to hang them and how to maintain them.
Positioned with care, a mirror will enhance any room. When considering what to buy and where to place it, think about how you use the room, where the windows are and whether you intend to use the mirror for decorative or practical purposes.
The Living Room
Your living room should be a calm, comforting space where you can sit down and relax. With this in mind, it's unlikely that the chief purpose of a mirror in this room would be to check your reflection, which you're more likely to do in a bathroom or bedroom. When aesthetics are more important than practicality you can choose any style, but consider how to enhance your space nonetheless. A large mirror hung adjacent to or opposite a window will reflect plenty of light around the room and create a sense of expansiveness, which is great for small or darker rooms.SHOP WALL MIRRORS
A full length mirror is ideal for a bedroom, and there are plenty of stylish options available. Rather than choosing one that affixes to a wall or the inside of a cupboard door, make your mirror a decorative feature. Free standing styles crafted from smooth, pale-coloured wood have an alluring Scandi minimalism, which you can accentuate with a carefully placed plant or two. Use this style to soften a harsh corner or to zone off a small dressing area. If you're short on space, a similar dressing table mirror is a great alternative. As before, angle towards a window to invite light and space in to the room.SHOP FULL-LENGTH MIRRORS
Bathroom mirrors are often the most practical in style and, depending on space, you might need to choose one that attaches to a cabinet or wall. Above the sink is the obvious choice, but you could go against the grain by opting for a larger mirror which takes up the expanse of a whole wall. This is a real statement in a smaller space, and can double as a mirror in which to check your outfit when the bedroom one is in use.
Conventional square, circular or round mirrors are an easy option and will work well in most spaces, but if you're looking for a decorative focal point, consider a slightly offbeat style.
These elegant, curvaceous mirrors have a distinctly vintage feel and make a great addition to a feminine boudoir or quirky bathroom. Their elongated style directs the eye upwards, helping to lift rooms with low ceilings. Consider pairing with wallpaper to accentuate vintage vibes – a softer, more rounded shape would suit a large floral print, while one that rises to a sharp point will go well with geometric or abstract pieces.
Ornate antique mirrors are ideal for bringing a touch of opulence to your room. They look fantastic in spaces with period features, as the intricate detailing works well with decorative fireplaces and skirting boards. You'll often find this style in free-standing dressing table options, too.
Geometric designs play with straight lines and angles – you might find triangular, pentagonal and hexagonal options, usually without a frame or with a minimalist metallic edge which lets the shape shine. These contemporary options add modern flair to your interiors and work best when small or arranged in a group.
Sunburst mirrors are typically characterised by radial spokes which extend from the centre of the design and are gilded in gold or silver. Doubling up as a mirror and a piece of wall art, sunburst styles make the ultimate focal point in any room in your home.SHOP DRESSING TABLE MIRRORS
You might think mirrors don't require much maintenance, but taking good care of yours will help them to last longer. If you've invested in a bold decorative piece to use for years to come, it pays to know how to keep it in tip top condition.
Remove any dust with a dry cloth. Next, dip a crumpled wad of newspaper into some water mixed with a little bit of vinegar and gently wipe on to the mirror. You don't need to try and work it in; simply glide across the surface in a vertical or horizontal motion for a streak-free finish. Be careful not to allow the edges of the mirror to get or remain wet over a period of time. Buff the surface to a high shine with a clean cloth.
An excess of water can cause some damage to the back of your mirror so ensure it stays in the best condition by keeping it free of unnecessary moisture. Tired of your bathroom mirror steaming up? Apply a little shaving foam evenly across the surface and then wipe off with a clean cloth. This will provide a temporary barrier against steam; repeat on a regular basis to prolong the effect.
Plaster or drywall may not be strong enough to support the weight of heavier wall mirrors. Don't risk disaster! Mount any screws or hooks over wooden support beams behind the plaster for peace of mind. If your wall doesn't have support beams, wall plugs, like spring toggles, are an alternative. These heavy-duty hollow wall fasteners are secure, reusable and cause minimal damage to walls. If and when you choose to move your mirror, the small holes can easily be filled in.
This easy-to-follow guide will help you to hang your mirror with minimal fuss. It's a much easier job with a pair of helping hands, so recruit someone to give you assistance.
Take a look at your mirror. Does it come with brackets, picture hooks or with a length of picture wire? Generally, the weightier the mirror, the more heavy duty its fixings will be. Don't risk disaster by affixing it to a wall that can't take the weight! Plaster and drywall are suitable for lighter mirrors, whereas it's better to hang heavy ones from masonry or the timber frame of stud wall.
Carefully measure the dimensions of your mirror and check to see if it will fit on the suitable wall. Using these measurements, make pencil marks on the wall showing the width of the mirror, how high you want the it to be from the floor and where the top of it will end. Use coloured stickers if you don't want to mark the wall. Cutting a piece of paper to your mirror's size and sticking it to the wall will help you to visualise placement.
For lighter mirrors: If you're hanging your mirror by picture wire, find the central point between the top edge measurements on your wall and place the fixing here. Remember it should be below the line of the top edge, otherwise you'll see the wire. If your mirror has D-rings for picture hooks, measure the distances from the edge of the mirror to the rings and mark this on the wall carefully. Affix the picture hooks – usually you'll just need a hammer for this.
For heavier mirrors: You'll most likely have brackets or need to use screws and rawl plugs. Again, measuring carefully is key here, as is having someone to hold the mirror whilst you affix it to the wall. Use a power drill to make holes for the rawl plugs, if you're using them, and to drive in the screws (if you're buying a new drill, make sure you purchase the requisite drill bits and screwdriver heads to fit it).
Time to hang the mirror. If you're concerned about damaging your wall, stick 'bumpers' (adhesive bits of rubber or plastic) on to the back of your mirror for protection. If your anchor points aren't as solid as you'd hoped, things might come crashing down, so go carefully. Hold on to the mirror and release the weight slowly. If your mirror is hanging on a wire, shift it gently to centre and use a spirit level if there's a suitable flat surface to check.
Whether it's perfectly practical or a stunning decorative piece, once you've got your new mirror in place, it'll be hard to see how you lived without it! Now you know how to take care of your mirrors and hang them successfully, you can rest assured that your purchase will last for years to come.