For millenia man has been perfecting the way in which we see our reflection, from recognition in dark pools of still water to the first "manufactured" mirror crafted from pieces of polished stone such as obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass, in Anatolia (modern-day Turkey) around 6000 BC. Mirrors hold a magical quality reflected in their occurence throughout literature from the poorly fated Narcissus to the fair Snow White. But a world away from ancient Turkey and starring longingly at our reflections, mirrors have become a firm staple in our homes and in most rooms for their light enhancing super-powers. Adding a mirror to any room will instantly give a decorative update and is by far the quickest and easiest way of maximising the light and spacious feel of the surroundings. Whether you’re working with a small sized, cosy room or a grand, palatial room, a mirror can do wonders to liven up your decor.
Modern mirrors no longer mean a rectangular sheet of glass above a bath, a la 70s bungalow chic or a rickety set of sliding wardrobe doors - a myriad of shapes, sizes, tints and frames now mean mirrors are not only functional but also pieces of art. There are five basic shapes associated with wall mirrors: square, oval, round, rectangular and irregular. Any one of these shapes can work well in any style of home decor.
Branching Out Mirror, £199.
You can create eye-catching and elaborate wall groupings using wall mirrors by clustering one or more together - this is ideal for boho, eclectic, shabby chic and contemporary settings.
In your bedroom, position a mirror adjacent to windows to reflect daylight into your room. A full length mirror helps to draw the eye upwards, accentuating the height and depth of the space.
Finally, here's some handy Do's and Don'ts for mirrors in your home:
Don't hang mirrors in random spots. It may seem like a good idea to cover a blank space on your wall with a mirror, but always make sure it is reflecting something worthwhile. Hang a mirror opposite a sparkly French chandelier or your favourite piece of wall art, as opposed to cluttered shelves or the cloakroom door!
Don't hang mirrors in the kitchen - they're just not necessary!
We'd like to think this one's a given, but we'll say it anyway - DON'T put mirrors on the ceiling!
Do use large mirrors in small rooms. Don't be afraid to go big in small spaces
Do use mirrors in long hallways; A smaller, horizontal mirror works in a narrow hallway or staircase. This will act to widen the space, which creates a better flow from room to room.
Do make mirrors a focal point; a large mirror leaning against the wall in a dressing space or forgotten corner can transform the space.
Do use mirrored furniture to your advantage. Mirrors can give the illusion of invisibility - making a small room appear to have less in it adds to the mirage of space.
Antique Venetian Bed, £1295