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Small-Space Hack: Make Your Mirrors Work Harder

A little twist on a classic design lesson will make any room grow

A floor mirror seemlessly elongates a wall of windows.
A floor mirror seemlessly elongates a wall of windows.
Photo: Mackenzie Schmidt

We all know the old rule that mirrors make a small room look larger, but the real trick for using one to visually expand your space is location, location, location.  

I accidentally discovered the magic of a minimalist floor mirror in my last apartment—a large but windowless box that often threw visitors for a loop as far as spacial awareness was concerned. People would walk in the front door and think the wide, full-length leaning mirror to their left was a doorway leading to more apartment. (In reality it was a cheap Ikea find intended for last looks before heading out the door.) While the David Blaine moment was unintentional, it got me thinking about just how transformative a large, spare mirror can be in a small space. 

So when I moved into my current place I decided to take that same simple mirror and put it up to more visual trickery. I happened to have a section of wall almost the perfect size for it between the two sets of windows in my living room (pictured above). Mounting the mirror at the same height as the top of the windows visually connected them, while white linen curtains (Ikea again! God bless) hide the aluminum edges. A little antique bar cabinet hides the bottom edge, and ensures it doesn't read like a bizarre floating doorway. Now, it's not so much a trick to be uncovered by visitors, but a great unifying agent that makes the space feel bigger overall and bounces light around the room. Below, find two minimal mirrors that are more than up for the job.

From left: Hovet Mirror, $129, Ikea; Floating Wood Wall Mirror, $199, West Elm.
From left: Hovet Mirror, $129, Ikea; Floating Wood Wall Mirror, $199, West Elm.

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