Using The Magic of Mirrors to Brighten Up Your Home



Have you ever walked into a space and felt like you were bathed in bright, warm light? We can often immediately assume that it’s due to the good fortune of having so much natural light. Look around next time and take an inventory of where that light source is coming from. One of the best designer tips I ever learned was about utllizing mirrors to create a brightness that wouldn’t otherwise exist in the space. We’ve all heard the expression “smoke and mirrors” in relation embellishing the truth. This is the same thing but we’re using mirrors to create light instead of smoke.


If you have a very dark space I would first suggest you address the lighting. I’ve written about the 3 types of lighting that every room needs which you can read here. Once you’ve done everything you can with lighting then it’s time to bring in mirrors. Here are my best tips for creating a brighter space.





1/ Go Big

SOURCE: Crate & Barrel


The best tip I can offer you is to go as big as you can accommodate in your space. Too often I see someone using a small mirror hoping to create some brightness. Sometimes we’ve added a mirror for functional and not just aesthetic reasons and a smaller size may seem like the best choice. Instead, I’d suggest that you always size up regardless of its use. Even if it’s just in your entry so you can touch up before you head out, you’ll benefit from a larger size.

A large mirror is going to capture more light and in turn it’s going to reflect back all of that light. In essence, you’re doubling the brightness that your mirrors pick up. If your goal is to increase brightness, bigger is definitely better. 


2/ Hang It Right

SOURCE: Camille Styles


I’m a stickler when it comes to hanging art. There are rules for hanging and while I’m not much of a rule follower I do think these rules make sense. The height you hang a mirror is exactly the same as how you’d hang art. If you want to learn more about hanging art, read this post.

The reason that this rule works is because if you’re hoping to reflect light from a window you don’t want your mirror to be lower or higher than that light. Many homeowners aren’t aware of how many standard dimensions we use in a new build or renovation but window heights don’t vary much. In order to capture the maximum amount of light, rely on industry standards.


3/ Keep the Frame Simple

SOURCE: Elsa Interior Design

While I do love an ornate frame it can work in opposition to your goal in this case. A heavy frame can make your space look smaller but it can also steal some of the light you’re hoping to reflect. Instead, go for a frameless mirror or one that has just a simple, thin frame. Remember that your goal is to capture the greatest amount of light so use every inch from your mirror to make it happen.



4/ Capture the Natural Light

SOURCE: Honestly WTF


Now we get down to business. Think about where you’re going to place your mirror and consider where the light source is. If you want to maximize the natural light then you’ll place the mirror across from a window. This will bounce the beautiful, distilled light and give the most warmth to your space. 

The only time I would not use this is if your window is looking over something you don’t want more of. For instance, if you happen to look at the brick wall of your neighbour’s home. Yes we’ll bring in some natural light but we don’t want to reflect more brick into your space so avoid that placement. If you do have a less than desirable view then the next best placement is beside the window. Light is multi-directional and you’ll be able to capture at least some of those rays with this placement.


5/ Use Lamps to Enhance 


It’s not just natural light but we can be taking advantage of the light from lamps as well. Whether it’s a floor lamp or a table lamp, try pairing a mirror behind your lamp. This can give the illusion of a much brighter space because you’re essentially doubling the light from the lamp. If that’s not the perfect location, not to worry. A mirror placed directly across from a lamp will also brighten up your space by reflecting the light.


6/ Use Mirrored Furniture


Designers talk a lot about using glass to lighten up a space. We often use glass coffee and end tables in a small space to make the space feel more open and less cramped. Using mirrored tables will give you even more because it can make the room appear larger but it certainly will help to bounce light around and create a brighter space overall.

Yes, you’ll be wiping fingerprints more often than you might like but the benefits will outweigh the pain of that. I probably wouldn’t suggest this if you have small kids or a dog who tends to drool but otherwise, take advantage of every opportunity to brighten up your space and integrate mirrors.


7/ Use Small Objects

SOURCE: Homes to Love

Sometimes one of the biggest challenges when it comes to light can be with built-in bookcases. If they are floor to ceiling or anywhere close to that there’s nothing bouncing light around. In fact, most large objects are just absorbing light. Once we fill the shelves with books and wooden objects we’ve amplified the light absorption. 

Consider adding some mirrors or mirrored objects throughout the shelving as a way to bring more brightness into the room. Small bowls, mirrors and decor items can work wonders to balance out the loss of light. And if you can install lighting into the shelving you’ll really work to counterbalance the heaviness of the bookcase.

If you’re not loving your own home and want to consider updating it, contact me to me. I’d love to speak with you about how to create a space you love.


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