5 places you didn’t know you needed a mirror in your home, but where placing one elevates everything

There are some places in the home where a mirror is the obvious choice, but you might not have considered these 5 spots

A dining room with mirror above the dining table
(Image credit: Peter Wilds Design)

When it comes to mirror placement in the home, you pretty much tend to find mirrors in the same place - in the bathroom, above the entryway console table, on the living room chimney breast to name a few firm favorite mirror destinations. But these tried and tested locations aren't making the most of your mirror's potential. 

Working hard as decorative pieces, they also bounce light around the room, can help create the illusion of space, all the while providing handy spots in the home where you can check your reflection. 

We encourage you to harness mirror's power to improve your home's design, and start thinking outside the box. You might not have given these spots a moment's thought before, but they are perfect for decorating with mirrors.

1. Used as backing on a bookshelf

A bookshelf with a mirrored back

(Image credit: Nicole Franzen. Design: Husband.Wife)

Shelving is a subtle place to add mirror but one that really packs a punch. Helping to reflect light around the room and giving a stage for your decor to really sing, it's an easy DIY addition that gives a floating shelf illusion.

This design is from the New York-based design duo, Husband.wife, formed by Justin Capuco and Brittany Hart. 'Since the views from this apartment are so incredible, we expanded the sight lines by backing the shelving unit with a mirror,' they explain.

'With that reflective element, every seating area has a beautiful view of the city.'

Tommaso Franchi, founder of interior design firm, Tomèf also sees a bookshelf as the perfect spot for mirror. 'Incorporating a mirror behind a bookshelf not only amplifies the visual appeal of the bookshelf, but also creates the illusion of a larger room by reflecting light and making the space feel more open. 

'The mirror allows for the books and decorative items to come to the fore while also maximising the use of available light and is an innovative way to enhance the room's aesthetic.' 

2. As backsplash in the kitchen

A kitchen with mirrored backsplash

(Image credit: Barbora Vokac Taylor. Design: Scott Norsworthy Design)

Mirrors are often found in spaces in the home that are associated with daily routine, and so the kitchen isn't an obvious spot. But a well-placed mirror in the kitchen can be a clever, stylish way of making the very most of the space.

'I love mirror in a kitchen, to bounce light around in the evening and make a utility space feel more intimate and decorative,' says Los Angeles interior designer, Sally Breer.

Go large and decorative, with a mirror used hanging on the wall above the kitchen backsplash, or incorporate it into the backsplash itself as an alternative to the traditional materials - quartzite, granite, to name a few. 

Mirrored glass creates a feeling of space and light in the kitchen. In this example from architects Barbora Vokac Taylor, going for silver mirror instead of a copper or bronze-tinged mirror adds brightness. It also makes it easy to pair with other finishes and colors in the space.

'A mirrored backsplash in the kitchen reflects whatever is happening in the space: work or rest,' says Barbora. 'We used the mirrored backsplash to disguise the kitchen and have it 'disappear' when it wasn't in use. It was also a great device to double up the natural light in the space, reflecting the garden in the window opposite.'

3. In place of a window

A dining room with mirror above the dining table

(Image credit: Peter Wilds Design)

You might not have thought of your dining room as a space for a large mirror wall, but if done well, they can help the space feel more like a dedicated zone. 

This use of mirrored panelling in a dining area designed by Peter Wilds Design helps expand the space, breaking up the monotony of the brickwork and almost acting like a window would. The slightly burnished, vintage look makes the mirror feel like a piece of artwork and works alongside the brick for an industrial interior design.

'Considering windows are located on the north end of the chamber like space, I wanted to bring reflective light to the dining area, while still honouring the industrial spirit of the space,' says Peter Wilds. 

'The wall of antiqued glass creates a dramatic effect, pairs beautifully with the patina of the brick, wood tone of the table and the concrete floor, while still creating a warm and inviting environment. The mirrors are a nod to a moody cafe or lounge.'

4. In the backyard

A backyard mirror

(Image credit: Stark Design)

Mirror in the backyard is a clever tool to help reflect the space, make it feel more green and lush and works as a clever outdoor wall decor idea to disguise an unsightly wall or view.

'By including a mirror in the backyard, it reflects and amplifies the size of a space, exaggerates specific details, and can be used as a focal point or to deliberately disorient,' says Jane Stark, creative director of Stark Design. 

'For example, we used mirrors on three sides of a courtyard to create the Droste effect, to hence enlarge the space.'

Recreate this look by placing your mirror behind a row of trees or bush in a more subtle way, or simply place an outdoor powder steel coated framed mirror that can withstand the elements on a backyard wall to help your yard come together.

5. In an awkward room that lacks light

A bedroom with a mirror leaning against a wall

(Image credit: Sara Ligorria Tramp. Julie Rose for Emily Henderson Design)

I've recently seen oversized mirrors used in awkward sized bedrooms, leaning against the wall to bring a casual and cool aesthetic and taking up empty wall space. You might not have considered bringing in a large piece of furniture to a small space, but using their magic, they help brighten the room, making a small bedroom feel bigger.

In this bedroom, designer Julia Rose for Emily Henderson used an oversized mirror to take up space on an awkward wall in a room suffering from very little natural light. Adding that side table and plant also helps to make the space feel put together. 

'There are no ceiling or wall lights in this room,' says Julia. 'So it all comes down to lamps at night and reflecting the natural light as much as possible during the day which this amazing arched floor mirror does that job very well.'

Oonagh Turner
Livingetc content editor and design expert

Oonagh is a content editor at Livingetc.com and an expert at spotting the interior trends that are making waves in the design world. Writing a mix of everything and everything from home tours to news, long-form features to design idea pieces on the website, as well as frequently featured in the monthly print magazine, she's the go-to for design advice in the home. Previously, she worked on a London property title, producing long-read interiors features, style pages and conducting interviews with a range of famous faces from the UK interiors scene, from Kit Kemp to Robert Kime. In doing so, she has developed a keen interest in London's historical architecture and the city's distinct tastemakers paving the way in the world of interiors.