How to Pick the Best Vintage Mirror for Your Space
When it comes to vintage mirrors—you have to give them credit—they certainly give us options. From ornate Victorian mirrors to miniature brass mirrors to silver venetian mirrors, there’s really no limit to vintage mirror style or function. Long gone are the notions of mirrors used only as primp tools, as well. In the contemporary interior design world, vintage mirrors are recognized as visually appealing decorative accessories, capable of creating the illusion of space while providing low-scale illumination. To learn more about this most reflective accessory, including our favorite secondhand mirror styles, read on below.
Used as wall art for centuries, there’s no chance of vintage mini mirrors going out of style anytime soon. Stylistically, mini mirrors can pose a challenge, since unlike larger mirrors they'll struggle to hold their own a large wall. Rather, try using them as an accent on a small alcove wall, or used as a part of a larger vignette.
Best Way to Use: Vintage mini mirrors are inspired when used as part of a gallery wall. Use mirrors exclusively in an arrangement, or opt for using one or two among framed art. For an extra bolt of drama, try painting the wall as well. Popular locations for a gallery walls include stairwells, hallways, and entries.
Frameless mirrors—or mirrors without a typical frame or border—come in a various array of geometric shapes, opening the door for a landslide creativity.
Best Way to Use: Frameless mirrors absolutely radiate when used in a small bath or powder room. Their lack of a frame makes them easy for mixing and matching with existing fixtures and hardware, while their large surface space makes them an excellent source of light. If the look is a little too minimal for you, look for frameless mirrors with etchings on the border.
Playful but sophisticated, sunburst mirrors are composed of a circular center mirror surrounded by ray-like spikes or tines. Vintage sunburst mirrors are era-less mirrors that blend seamlessly with virtually any style artwork and furniture you throw at them.
Best Way to Use: Hands down, a sunburst mirror makes an inspired focal point. Use a single one above a console or credenza for a stylish look that requires minimal effort. Dare to go even bolder? Try an oversized sunburst mirror hung over a bed sans headboard. It’ll give a whole new meaning to the phrase Morning, Sunshine!
Although glamorous and antique-looking, venetian mirrors are surprisingly easy to pair with opposing styles. Typically composed of a frameless mirror with an elaborate cut edge, vintage Venetian mirrors read as a mix of tradition and modern, making them one of our all-time favorites for eclectic decorating.
Best Ways to Use: For a bold, feminine look in a bedroom, display a venetian mirror above a nightstand or dresser. The ornate design will lend a case piece a vanity-like feel in a room that might otherwise be too small to accommodate one. For an even grander moment, opt for a Venetian-style floor mirror. It will imbue a bedroom with palace-like vibes, even if it’s really a shoebox.
Choosing the Right-Sized Vintage Mirror
Before displaying mirrors in your home, make sure your mirror has enough wall space to hang so that it doesn’t overlap with the furniture below it (although this can be an intentional look if using a mirror as a headboard). Typically, a mirror should be about two-thirds of a size smaller than the furniture situated underneath it. For example, a six-foot mirror should be placed above a nine-foot sofa, and so on.
Problem Spots Remedied with Vintage Mirrors
When using a vintage mirror as a statement piece, you want your mirror to make an impact but also make sense in the context of the room. Below are some frequent problem spots in the home, along with some mirror-worthy solutions.
Over a Sofa
If you’re having trouble figuring out how adorn the space above your sofa, try hanging a floor mirror horizontally above it. The rectangular shape will read like a classic landscape painting, while providing a runway of glass for natural sunlight to reflect off of.
Over a Mantle
If you have a fireplace with a long, narrow recessed space above it, it can pose a perplexing design challenge. Do you stack paintings? Leave it bare? Again, a floor mirror comes to the rescue here. Hang one vertically in the recessed area for a look that will add interest without overshadowing the space’s architectural integrity. Similarly, you can try using an oversized arched mirror leaned directly on the mantle to cover the recess.