When I get settled down on the couch in a friend’s or family member’s living room, one of the very first things I do is take stock of everything that surrounds me. It may be the TV (or lack thereof), the fireplace mantle, bookshelves, artwork — anything that stands out to me as being particularly beautiful or interesting. And then I start looking around from various angles just to get an overall sense of how my surroundings feel.
I’m sure there are plenty of other people who have similar habits when they’re visiting friends’ homes, but mine definitely comes into play more often than not because I live alone now. When I’ve got guests over, typically what happens is we’ll sit together and chat while everyone else gets comfortable elsewhere in the house. But even if I were sharing a space with others, this habit would probably still come into effect every once in a while.
One day during our conversation, I mentioned that whenever I’m settling down on a couch somewhere new, I like to mentally walk through the space to see where I want to put my attention next. This isn’t so much about actually moving furniture around, though sometimes that can also happen. Instead, it’s really about taking notice of any details and appreciating them for whatever value they bring to the larger experience.
This doesn’t necessarily mean I need to buy something specific right away. Sometimes I find myself wondering whether there might be some way to add a decorative mirror to my living room without spending money on one. In fact, there are many ways to achieve the same results using either materials found lying around the house already or by picking up items off the shelves in stores. Here are several ideas worth considering.
It’s all about position
The most important thing to keep in mind when adding a reflective surface to your living room is its location within the space itself. Mirrors should never be placed directly behind large objects such as couches, televisions or entertainment centers. The reason has to do with both practicality and safety concerns. If you place a small decorative mirror behind these types of surfaces, you could end up having trouble seeing straight ahead because of the reflection coming back at you. Aside from potentially causing eye strain, this kind of setup would make it difficult for drivers in cars parked nearby to see traffic signs clearly posted along the road.
On the flip side, placing mirrors behind furniture pieces that don’t obstruct your view forward — especially those made specifically to hold mirrors — will allow you to see well enough past whatever piece of art or decor you’re admiring.
For example, if you love modern-style seating sets, you could use a round decorative mirror to create a focal point near the centre of a coffee table. Or perhaps you’d prefer to mount one above a sofa instead. Whichever option works best for you depends largely on the type of material used to construct it. Artifacts made from wood tend to provide the clearest reflections, followed closely by metal frames covered in glass.
Hang a Mirror in Right Place
You can also choose to hang a decorative mirror vertically rather than sitting flat against the wall. Doing so creates an intriguing optical illusion that makes onlookers think the image seen reflected is floating upward toward them. Of course, hanging a horizontal mirror horizontally does work too, since it forces viewers to face outward in order to fully appreciate its contents.
What matters most here is that you pick a spot that feels right based on how you plan to interact with the finished product. Once you know where you want to go with it, you can move on to the fun part: determining which objects you want to use as stand-ins for said mirror.
Also Read | 8 Best Designer Mirrors To Buy in 2022
Make it unique to you and your living room mirror
Mirrors aren’t exactly known for their originality, nor are they normally thought of as decorations in themselves. To help give yours an extra splash of personality, try doing something different when selecting colours and patterns to paint the frame. You can opt for a style that matches the rest of your décor perfectly, or select a bolder choice that calls out attention.
Either way, remember that the colour you ultimately settle on shouldn’t conform to a set standard that says “this needs to match X.” Rather, let your personal preference guide you toward making something uniquely yours.
Once you’ve determined the final design, consider applying a coat of finish onto the wooden base before painting the frame. Not only does this protect the underlying wood, but it helps prevent streaks and splashes from appearing after the job is done.
If possible, avoid choosing mirrored tiles when working with flooring. They tend to reflect light better than walls do, meaning floors become blinding spots of brightness when viewed head-on. As such, you should always orient yourself slightly away from them in order to enjoy the full impact of the display.
To further enhance the visual appeal, apply the same technique described earlier with regard to paintings. Try mounting framed prints close to the mirror’s edge so they appear to float beyond it. Placing flowers between the mirror and its backing is another nice touch that adds warmth to the entire arrangement.
Buy in Multiple Shapes and Sizes
For added interest, consider incorporating multiple shapes and sizes into each individual frame. One size won’t fit all, so experiment with widths ranging from narrow to wide. Even if you decide to stick with a single shape, vary the thicknesses of the board across the collection to break up the monotony of uniform lines. Also, pay special attention to spacing. Too little separation between elements in front of the mirror could leave portions of the picture obscured by glare. On the other hand, leaving too much empty space in between components means gaps that may cause the viewer to wonder why certain parts of the composition weren’t included.
Prefer Modern Mirror or Venetian Mirror
Another idea is to mix old and new styles to create contrast between the two. Use antique frames with fresh finishes, or vice versa. By combining these approaches, you can completely transform the appearance of an otherwise boring rectangular mirror.
Adding a decorative mirror to your living room doesn’t necessarily require you to drop hundreds of dollars on a brand new purchase. With a bit of creativity and patience, you can easily incorporate mirrors into your existing decor without breaking the bank. Just spend some time thinking about how you’ll use the item before buying it, and you should be able to figure out a method that fits your lifestyle and budget.
In addition to finding creative uses for mirrors, you can also repurpose them in unexpected places. For instance, you can turn them into plant hangers. Simply cut the backs off wine cork taper candles and screw them into the tops of the mirrors. Then hang them upside down from hooks attached to the ceiling inside cupboards or closets. Finally, cover the candle bases with clear plastic film and attach thin strips of foam tape to the bottom edges to secure them. Next, fill the spaces left by the wicks with tiny beads or marbles. Now you can simply remove the candle holders from the cupboard doors and replace them with your newly configured mirrors. Voilà! Instant decorative accent piece.