Mirrors are an affordable way to bring in more light and increase the aesthetic appeal of a room. Aside from being decorative, a floor mirror makes a small room look larger, amplifies the natural light and reflects your favorite accessories from different angles for a “new and improved” view of them.
There may be more to choosing a floor mirror than you realize when you start out. We want to educate you on some of the things you are going to encounter so that shopping is less overwhelming and the decision-making process less overwhelming.
What Are the Various Types of Floor Mirrors?
You will find that there are many (possibly countless) mirrors, and we cannot list all of them here. However, we have selected several basic types, so that you can decide before shopping which type best fits your needs and décor.
This is the most common type of floor mirror. Traditionally, it is rectangular, but you will also see many variations, such as rectangular with arched or crowned top, curved corners or in a sunburst design.
Leaning the mirror against the wall is a classic technique of interior decorators. It gives a casual, relaxed ambiance to a room, as well as instantly opens it up. If the mirror is wood-framed, match it to your furniture. Or, for the more “rebellious” among you, choose a type of wood or metal that will complement your existing décor while creating a focal point for the room.
A cheval mirror stands upright. “Cheval” is French for “horse,” so named for the vertical bar and four feet that resemble those of a horse. Or so they thought back in the 1700s when it was invented. It has been popular ever since so there is no point in debating the name!
The main thing about a cheval mirror is that the mirror and stand are two separate pieces that are joined by a joint that allows the mirror to swivel. You can move it in any direction for the vantage point that you need.
Cheval mirrors tend to be elegant, and when the mirror is oval shaped, they have a very charming vintage appeal.
This mirror is supported by a rear adjustable easel. It is a modern update to the leaning mirror. You can adjust the easel for the “tilt” that you like. Easel mirrors, as a rule, have clean, simple lines and are lightweight for portability.
This mirror is very similar to an easel mirror except that the back support has rungs that you can use to hold your clothes or, for instance, colorful scarves if you want to use it for decoration. If you are one who tends to drape clothing helter-skelter around the room, the ladder allows you to keep the room looking neat. Even better, it’s a very convenient way of putting out your clothes for the next day.
A mirror that is glamorous as well as functional. Maybe you want a touch of Old Hollywood. Maybe you have a poorly lit area of the room. Either way, you can check your outfit, hair and makeup all at one time. Lights may go all around the mirror or along three sides. Some mirrors have lights that can be dimmed. Look for LED lights that provide daylight color.
Imagine the most wonderful jewelry box ever! This mirror stands upright. It is attached to a cabinet door that opens to reveal hooks, holders, and soft foam notches for all of your jewelry—all organized, untangled, dust-free. You have the convenience of getting dressed and accessorizing and being able to see right away if it all works.
This free-standing mirror is large and sophisticated and provides a room with drama. You have three full-length mirrors, the center one as wide as the two side mirrors combined.
Choose one with a back that is decorative, just in case you want to set the mirror away from the wall. In fact, with a beautiful back, you can use the mirror in place of a screen to section off an area of a large room.
There Are “Fat” and “Thin” Mirrors. What Mirror Provides a True Reflection?
Concave mirrors make us look wider and shorter. Convex mirrors make us look thinner and taller. They both have their uses, such as in photography and medical imaging, but they do not belong in our homes. As nice as it may sound to look thinner, it’s counterproductive if we select clothing that is, in reality, not flattering at all. A completely flat mirror gives a true reflection. The slightest curve one way or the other gives a distorted image.
There are three factors you need to look into when assessing the glass in a mirror:
The quality of the glass depends on how it is manufactured and how pure the raw material used was. High-quality glass has no inconsistencies in its makeup and will not distort a reflection.
Test to see if the glass has a flat surface. Pick up an item and examine it. Then look at it in a mirror. If the reflected image is not distorted, the glass quality is good.
Typically, mirrors are 1/8-inch, 3/16-inch, or 1/4-inch thick (.031cm, .047cm, .063cm). High-quality glass is 1/4-inch thick. Thicker mirrors are much less likely to distort the reflection. Thinner mirrors, even if they appear fine in the showroom, will warp over time.
The mirror should have a high-quality, thick coating of silvering—the coating, usually silver nitrate and other chemical compounds, on the back of the glass. That is what makes the glass reflective. There should be several coats of silvering, finished with a sealer to prevent tarnishing.
Is There a Way to Know What Size Mirror to Buy?
Select a size that fits in with your furnishings. If they are simple or small-ish, choose a floor mirror with a light frame. If you have a large room with large furnishings, a large and/or ornate mirror will look best.
The size also depends on the role you want the mirror to play: center stage or background. A large mirror will demand attention, particularly one with an eye-catching frame. A small one will quietly support the rest of your décor. A really large mirror without a significant frame will become part of the background because it is making the space appear larger.
A secret to decorating with mirrors is where to position them.
- Let mirrors capture whatever light is coming into your home. Not only does that amplify the light, it enhances the beauty of the mirror itself.
- If natural light is insufficient, direct overhead or wall lighting toward the mirror.
- When a floor mirror is set between two windows, a relaxed mood results from the subtle reflection of light.
- When a mirror is placed directly across from a window, the light will bounce around the room.
- Position a mirror so that your favorite piece of art is reflected in it or that the outdoor view is.
- Some other less expected places for a floor mirror can be at the end of a hallway, in the entryway, in a sun room or on a porch.
- Is the idea of a mirror by a small garden outrageous? Try it and be entranced by how your blossoms have multiplied!