It’s one of design’s great tricks: Want to make a room feel more open and light-filled without removing a single wall? Just add a mirror wall. (Sure, a single mirror can contrive similar results, but where’s the all-out fun in that?)
It’s not exactly a new trick. An example that comes to mind is the dazzling mirrored salon in the Paris apartment of Valerian Rybar and Jean-François Daigre, which graced magazine covers in October 1989. But lately, we’ve been noticing a particular variation on the space-expanding solution: a grid of mirrors—often antiqued, rather than super polished and reflective—that covers a large swath of one wall. It opens a room while still achieving a certain decorative neutrality.
On first glance, you might not even notice it’s there, but “it doubles the width of the kitchen,” explains interior designer Nate Berkus of the antique mirror he and husband Jeremiah Brent used to cover a wall they could not remove in their New York City pad. “The kitchen is one of the things we love most about the apartment. Being able to see it regardless of which direction you’re facing makes us so happy.”
“It helps to open up space and reflect light,” explains Elizabeth Lawrence, partner at Bunny Williams Interior Design, who has used this trick in a variety of projects. Interior designer Gray Walker recently worked on a project with a mirror-paneled hallway (designed by the project’s architect, Ken Pursley). “Mirrors make a space feel larger while also adding an element of drama and glamour,” Gray says. “They can create windows that may not exist.”
When it comes to the installation, each designer has their preference. In Elizabeth’s opinion, “One solid mirror can be a bit dated and should be left to closet mirrors. Breaking it up into a grid adds design and interest.” She advises using an antiqued mirror that isn’t perfectly clear—“so people won’t be distracted by checking their hair.” Gray pieced all the mirrored panels together. “I like to use larger pieces of mirror with rosette spacers at the corners to create the feeling of an antique mirror on walls,” Gray explains.
Although many are quick to point out a mirror wall’s usefulness in smaller spaces, the truth is it can flatter rooms of every dimension. “We’ve used it in our dining room, our entry—even our little powder room to make it feel like a jewellery box,” Jeremiah explains. “It’s such a beautiful, luminous detail that we find ourselves reaching for it when we want to add character and dimension to any sized space.”
Written by Hannah Martin
This article appeared on Architectural Digest US