Tips and Tricks with Mirrors and Glass That Brighten a Room Without Remodeling
One of the first things taught to beginning interior design students is the need to add "sparkle and shine" to a room for balance and interest. For a lot of us, that usually means hanging a mirror on a wall someplace or dusting off the kids' soccer trophies every once in a while. But there are actually quite a few ways to inject brightness, life and yes, "sparkle" into your rooms by using mirrors and glass in ways you might not have thought of before. Here are seven simple ideas that don't require a lot of time or money and work great with any design theme.
- Get a set of mirrored coasters. Not only do they reflect light, they add a touch of glamour to whatever is sitting on them. Put a group of bevel-edge mirrored coasters in the center of your dining table and place a small votive or tea light candle on each. Glass candleholders will give you the best glimmer for your money. If you're not into real candles, inexpensive battery-powered ones work just as well. This is mood lighting, not anything to read by. You can also put small glass vases each containing a single flower on the coasters. Don't limit them to centerpieces – the combination of mirrors, glass and candlelight is magical and looks great on coffee and end tables. And of course, you can always use them for what they were originally intended – to protect surfaces from drip rings.
- Repurpose an old tray. Old trays made from a variety of materials such as wood, metal, plastic or rattan are easy to find at thrift stores and garage sales. Sand off the rough spots and play up the contrast of worn finishes by updating the bottom of the tray. Put old postcards or ticket stubs on the bottom and cover with glass for a shadowbox look or mirror the bottom, either from an old mirror or gluing on mirrored tiles. Either way, you'll have a useful piece that reflects light and makes whatever it's holding look more interesting.
- Use Mismatched glass objects. Gather up a collection of clear glass objects – vases, boxes, perfume bottles, the odd candlestick or wine glass, even a short Mason jar– and put them all together on a mirrored tray. The tray unifies the objects and makes the collection look as one, instead of the dusty back shelf of a thrift store.
- Mirror, mirror on the box. Also easy to find are mirrored boxes of all sizes. Or you can glue mosaic-size mirror tiles to boxes and containers you already have. This is another double win because not only do you get the sparkle, you can hide stuff that isn't so attractive, like the TV remote. That old standby, the votive candle, adds wow in front of a mirror box, too.
- Go knob sleuthing. At one time, interior doors had beautiful glass doorknobs. It might take a bit to find them, but it's well worth the effort. Vintage glass knobs come in a myriad of colors and shapes – imagine your old bureau or kitchen cabinets with shimmering blue (or green or amber) knobs. Fasten three or four to a board for a shabby chic peg rack – they'll gladly hold your coats, hats and other objects. Or just appreciate them for the art they are and use them in table groupings.
- Create a Collage. This can really liven up a drab room. You can use new mirrors, old ones, framed, or frameless, just be sure to have something that unifies them all in some way, for example – all frameless, or have the frames all painted one color. Go a step further than just hanging them with nails– use colorful ribbon or sturdy chain looped over a hook or a vintage glass doorknob.
- Use Glass Pebbles. Visit the florist or craft store and pick up several bags of glass pebbles or stones. Fill a clear glass vase with alternating layers of different color stones, use them to anchor a large pillar candle on a tray or scatter light blue ones across your tablecloth to create the look of water droplets. And don't forget to add them in the bottom of the vase for those special occasions that call for fresh-cut flowers.
Try adding a little shine to your rooms today – you'll be amazed at how such simple objects can really amplify the light and add brightness to the space.