The magic of mirrors

Mirrors can make a hallway seem wider, lighten a room or double the impact of a beautiful view - just opt for reflections of a well-ordered room rather than the chaos of the breakfast table.
Think of mirrors as the magicians of modern interiors. They conjure up space and light, Londoners love them and glass is cheap… until you get into designer territory. But like all the best tricks, you have to know how to work them.

Most important of all is what will be reflected in your mirrors. You don't want to be always looking at yourself when relaxing on the sofa, and mirrors that picture you eating with friends — or worse, eating your breakfast — are a definite no-no.

In hallways, full-length mirrors work well, lightening, lengthening and widening the space, while a mirror between two windows in any room can give the impression of a third opening. ​Some eye-catching designs are divided into "panes" and arched, to heighten the illusion.
Mirrors pictured here include, (front), the Piet Abstract, £215; the Sunshine, framed by splints of wood, £225 (far left), and the Cubist (far right), £195. Visit Image: Mel Yates.

A chest with a lamp and an elegant vase on top and a well-proportioned mirror behind creates a feeling of space. Mirrors behind bedside tables can give the same effect. A mirror opposite a window will reflect light and a view, which is great news if the view is beautiful, sad if it's dingy. A mirror at right angles to a window does the same, and of course the view is different.

Mirrors in alcoves are a given and mirrors above fireplaces should be big, preferably covering the whole chimney breast, and finished off with a handsome bevelled edge.
Mirrored furniture adds sparkle but should reflect a well-ordered room. This curved mirrored chest, £275, is from Out There Interiors. Visit 

Buying mirror from a builders' merchant, or a glass supplier who will cut it to your required size and will often come to your home to fit it, is a cheap way of creating great effect. And buying old picture frames for little money at junk shops or small auction houses, then fitting glass into them, works out a whole lot cheaper than buying an "antique" mirror.
Group mirrors of different shapes for alluring "broken" views — you could mix new and second-hand. The ones pictured above are from Laura Ashley. Visit 

If you rent your home and are not allowed to fix a mirror, lean a tall one against a wall — but make sure it is secure.

Round convex mirrors have an intriguing fish-eye effect, while a sunburst mirror is eternally splendid. Currently many artists are experimenting with mirrors to beautiful effect — find collectors' pieces at the Vessel Gallery in Holland Park, for example.
Artist Tom Palmer combines silvered glass and poured translucent tinted resin, then adds an overlay of glass, for an ethereal depth of reflection similar to handmade Venetian glass. Prices start from £4,000. Available through or visit


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