How To Decorate With Mirrors

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When you think about it, mirrors are just tools. You use them to make sure there’s no lipstick on your teeth, and that your pearls are hanging straight. They’re great for a final check as you walk out the door, whether that’s to a gala ball or just out to walk the dogs. Mirrors are great for letting you know if you’ve got yourself together.

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There was a time when every DIY interior design book had a section on mirrors. (This was before blogs, so I guess there are million blogs about mirrors now.) The advice, apart from the structural engineering it took to hang one of those heavy old mirrors, was to get it as big as you could and put it on a wall to make the room feel bigger. If you were really clever, you might be able to position a mirror to bring light into a dark room, as well.

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When I use a mirror, I want it to be more than just a tool. A mirror, used right, is a living snapshot of your life, in a way, reflecting how you look at that moment. Maybe that’s the reason they are in a frame.

Over the vanity, you need it to tell you your hair doesn’t look like a bird’s nest. But in the living room, a mirror can reflect more than light — it can reflect what you are doing at that moment in your life. You can use a big mirror to reflect your family relaxing on the sofa. You can use a long mirror to give the illusion of a door or tall window and imagine that you could step through it. And you can use small mirrors to show little slices of reflections of art on another wall or maybe views into the garden.

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I’ve got a little mirror I keep on the chest of drawers in my closet. (Don’t laugh; I spend a lot of time in that closet.) It’s an antique shaving mirror that Michael had when we married, and when I’m there it reflects some of my hanging clothes and tells me how tired and exhausted I’m feeling at the moment. It also helps me get my attitude in check for the evening ahead, and makes me realize that I can look much better with a smile on my face. A mirror is honest, and we all need to be honest with ourselves, especially when we’re hiding out in our closets.

And in a pinch, that mirror is pretty good for seeing if I’ve got any lipstick on my teeth.

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