Mirrored Walls vs. Framed Mirrors


It used to be that walls of mirrors were for the rich and famous. Think of Versailles, where mirrors were the stuff of kings and queens. Nowadays mirrors are easy to come by. Any one of us can have mirrored walls. Most of us, however, are a little hesitant of mirrored walls in our homes. With some thought–well, a lot of thought–and planning, you can add style, light, and that “open” feeling we are all clamoring for simply by adding mirrors.

When Were Mirrored Walls Popular?

Back in the seventies, mirrored walls were all the rage. I personally had the great idea of mirroring a half-wall at my staircase. My idea was to use strips of mirrors like planking, following the angle of the stairs. The mirrors were cut to size, polished, and installed. Unfortunately, I must admit that the finished product wasn’t quite the sophisticated look I had anticipated. Instead of the contemporary look I had in mind, it turned out to look more like a funhouse at a carnival. Each person walking by the mirrors seemed cut into disjointed pieces.

mirror-wall-1Are Mirrored Walls Outdated?

Even though mirrored walls have been around for a long time, they are not passé and can still be beautiful. If you go online, you will find stunning, modern examples of what can only be called “mirrored wall art.” They make a space look bigger, bring light into dark places, and can reflect the outdoors.

How to Create a Mirrored Wall

When creating a mirrored wall, you’ll want to answer a few fundamental questions.

  1. What will the mirrors reflect? If you have a beautiful view of the ocean, of course, the reflection will make it seem as though you’re surrounded by water. But if the mirror reflects a junky garage and your kid’s beat-up car, the view might not be worth reflecting.
  2. How much do you like to clean? If you have little ones, a mirror is a fingerprint magnet. Like most people, kids want to look at themselves in a mirror. But kids aren’t always satisfied with looking at themselves; they like to get up close and personal. So be prepared to clean your mirrors a lot. Oh—pets enjoy looking at themselves, too!
  3. How often do you change your décor? Home improvement shows have created a lot of business for decorators. Taking down a wall of mirrors certainly can be done—believe me, I took down my funhouse wall of mirrors—but it’s not as simple as changing a paint color.

How to Install a Mirrored Wall

The top two things you should do to have an aesthetically pleasing and safely installed, long-lasting mirrored wall are:

  1. Meet with a designer to get some ideas for your specific space and ask to see photos of their finished installations.
  2. Deal with a reputable glass contractor. The installation is as necessary as the design. An experienced contractor will help to ensure that the mirrors remain safely mounted to the wall.

 

Mirrored Walls vs. Framed Mirrors

A mirror wall isn’t for everyone. It completely changes the way a space feels and can be a big commitment. Framed mirrors can also make a room look larger, brighter, and more attractive without the permanence and transformation of a mirror wall. There are so many styles from which to choose. You can match your décor or go in an entirely different direction. It’s a chance to go a little wild!

How to Pick a Framed Mirror

Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  1. Take a look at the wall on which the mirror will hang. Of course, you don’t want to put a tiny mirror on a massive wall or a huge mirror on a small wall. Relative scale is important.
  2. Once again, ask yourself what your mirror will reflect. Will the reflection be pleasing?
  3. Think about multiples of mirrors. You can hang framed mirrors in bunches just like pictures. It takes careful planning, but grouping mirrors can create a fascinating effect.
  4. How do you want your framed mirror to hang? Most of the time, we hang framed mirrors so that the hanging mechanisms are not seen. But sometimes it’s fun to hang them by ropes or cords that show, adding interest to the mirror.
  5. Don’t get too matchy-matchy with your mirrors. Your framed mirror doesn’t have to match the wood or metal furnishings of your room. Sometimes contrast is just what you need. If you aren’t comfortable with the idea of contrasting finishes, look at some design magazines and see how often professionals use this technique.

So be brave, be bold, be prepared for “oohs” and “ahs!” Go for mirrors—either wall or framed. Mirrored walls or framed mirrors can be a reflection of your good taste and creativity.

 

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By Lyle Hill

Lyle Hill has been in the glass and metal industry for more than 40 years. In this time he has managed glass retail, contract glazing, mirror, architectural window, window film, and automotive glass businesses throughout America. He obtained an MBA from IIT with a focus on Technology and Engineering Management.

Hill is also a columnist for glass industry trade magazines and often called the “face” of the glass industry. He has also authored books including “The Broken Tomato and Other Business Parables,” which is available through Amazon.


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