Observe Your True Reflection

By Cathy Lee Posted in: Celebrate StyleImprove

When looking to bring any room together, choose a mirror that accurately matches your sense of style and grandeur. Then, make sure you place it in the right spot

I’m sure you’re already aware that mirrors often make a room feel larger, but did you know they can do so much more? A single mirror can add style and pizzazz because it often serves as the focal point of a room.

So if you’re shopping for the right mirror, I have a few tips to help you locate the one that truly reflects your sense of style.

Find your style. First, take inventory of what’s already in the room. What style do your pieces reflect? What style will your mirror need to enhance? Urban and edgy? Contemporary? Island?

Let’s say you’re looking for a mirror to place above a dresser, console table or vanity. You can find one with elements that match the piece. But wouldn’t it be more interesting if it were juxtaposed with a completely different style, color or finish?

Mix styles. If you’re like me and you definitely want to go for a bit more interest and contrast, then opt for a completely different style of mirror — but remember to look for an element that will still tie it in with the furniture piece underneath. If the mirror’s finish of, say, bronze or silver coincides with the hardware on your table, that’s great!

I personally love the effect of mixing styles, as shown in the photo at far right. The console table is a carved Asian piece, so the safe route would have been to go with a more traditional mirror, with perhaps a gold frame.

Instead, I opted for a super-contemporary mirror with clean lines and no frame. What makes the grouping work is that the contemporary feel of the mirror is repeated in the silver tray on the table, while the table’s Asian style is picked up in both the reflected silver Buddha head and the orchid arrangement.

If you want to put a wood-frame mirror over a wooden table, give the pairing more visual interest by searching for a mirror with a completely different look from the style of the table.

A mirror can be a fantastic focal piece, as the other photo on this page shows. This mirror, with a frame of studded lime green, would work fabulously in a fun and funky room — much like a teenager’s bedroom (imagine the fun she’d have looking at herself!), or an office that wants a splash of life and interest. I would pair it with a very simple table or vanity to allow the color and style of the mirror to be the star.

Size matters! Now let’s talk about size. A good rule of thumb is to not go top-heavy with mirrors. Generally speaking, the piece of furniture beneath your mirror should be several inches longer on either side, giving the mirror room to breathe.

Small can be beautiful. I’m not a big fan of having a lot of little things. So when it comes to mirrors and artwork, I prefer to go bigger. However, what I have done — especially when dealing with smaller spaces — is to put several smaller mirrors of varying styles together to create a larger grouping. That can be a fun and interesting look!

How big? Consider the layout of your room and the other pieces of furniture in it. If you have a large bookcase, entertainment center or window, you may want a large mirror for balance.

Think of the view. And finally, where do you place this mirror? I’m not the feng shui expert around these parts (see feng shui consultant Alice Inoue on page 13), but a simple question is, what is that mirror reflecting? As a simple rule, you want it to reflect something beautiful or appealing — not the TV or a closet door. Finally, keep placement in mind. The mirror’s height should rest comfortably at eye level.

Whether you’re shopping at Cathy’s Marketplace or any other furniture and accessories store, mirrors can be a great, affordable way to add style to your home. After all, you want to be sure that the mirror looks as good as you do!

Cathy Lee is president and designer of Cathy Lee Style and Cathy’s Marketplace, a furniture and accessories showroom with design services at 1110 University Ave. in Moiliili. Lee’s interior design work has been featured in local and national publications, on HGTV and in her DIY design workshops that teach homeowners the basics of style. Visit www.cathyleestyle.com.