They do it with mirrors – Part 1

With apologies to Agatha Christie for the title, this week we’ll look at how, in your homestay, mirrors can brighten up small spaces, create an illusion of space, serve as objects d’art, and create a sense of drama and intrigue in a space.

Mirrors are now one of the cheapest and most common materials in interiors, but this wasn’t always so. Before the industrial age, quality glass was difficult to produce in sizes larger than small panes, and the mirroring process wasn’t easy either. Glass and mirrors were also expensive, so they were used lavishly in palaces.

The Palace of Mirrors, Jaipur, India
The Palace of Mirrors, Jaipur, India

But even with ubiquity, our fascination with mirrors continues. In the movie The Man With The Golden Gun, the über-villain Karl Stromberg tries to trap James Bond in a mirror room. Art exhibitions regularly feature exhibits with mirrors.

James Bond does it with mirrors (right), and Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto's mirror exhibit in Beijing 798 Art District
James Bond does it with mirrors (right), and Italian artist Michelangelo Pistoletto’s mirror exhibit in Beijing 798 Art District

Mirrors as Art

Using mirrors as art solves different problems depending on the space. Let’s see how spaces like the living room, the entrance foyer and the bathroom benefit from the mirror as an objet d’art. Do remember that when mirrors are used as art, it’s the frame that defines the mirror, so having the right frame in both design and quality makes all the difference.

Living Room

The living room is usually houses the best art you have in the house. Once you place those art pieces, there are often empty spaces which you’d like to fill with other art, but which would either detract from the main art or look cluttered. The ideal solution in this case is a mirror with an appropriate frame, as in the following picture.

Using a mirror as complementary art to highlight your best artwork.
Using a mirror as complementary art to highlight your best artwork.

Entrance Foyer

The entrance foyer is, in most houses, narrow, and the wall is often blocked by the door opening. This makes it less than ideal for hanging paintings or pictures, as there isn’t enough depth to view it properly. Hanging a properly framed mirror gives the narrow foyer breathing space, as well as allows your guests to do a last-minute check of their appearance before stepping out.

Vestibule mirror - functional art
Vestibule mirror – functional art

Bathroom

As the most important room in the homestay for your guests, bathrooms present some challenges as far as art is concerned. There’s usually no place to present art properly, and the work has to be waterproof, and tolerant of high humidity and variations in temperature.

Mirrors, again, offer a functional solution to this issue – but in this case, use them oversize, with a matching over-sized and ornate frame.

Bathroom mirrors become art when paired with oversized ornate frames
Bathroom mirrors become art when paired with over-sized ornate frames

In the next story, we’ll see how mirrors work on furniture, and how they can create grand spaces, as well as playful effects to amuse and delight your guests.