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Home Staging - Making the best use of mirrors


Photo: Dan Kalleres - using cohesive finishes

In the past, the trend with mirrors was that using lots of mirrors could effectively double the size of the room. That’s why you can still see some older homes with a living room or dining room that has a full wall of mirrors or bathroom mirrors that stretch all the way across the wall, even though there may only be one small sink. While there is some truth to the ‘apparent’ increase in room size, style preferences have clearly changed.

Mirrors don’t really increase the size of any room. What they do is allow light to bounce back into a room, which can help illuminate rooms better. That doesn’t mean that you should install wall-to-wall mirrors – try improving your lighting instead.

Mirrors can be a powerful accessory for a variety of reasons. First, people like to look at themselves in mirrors and reflective surfaces catch our attention. Second, there are many different shapes, sizes and styles of mirrors and their associated frames that can really make them pieces of art. Third, feng shui employs mirrors to help the flow of positive energy to move through your home. Who can’t use a little extra positive energy?

If you are thinking of selling, then it’s time to take a look at all the mirrors in your house and see what may need some home staging assistance. Let’s break down the places where you’ll typically find mirrors and what to look for:

Foyers – There should be a mirror in the foyer that can be used to do a quick ‘check’ before walking out or first thing when you get home. Make sure it’s in scale with the size of the room.

Living room/family room – Any mirrors in these rooms should be a reflection (no pun intended) of the style of the room and used as an accent.

Bedrooms – Many dressers come with mirrors and that’s fine. A mirror on the back of the door is also perfectly acceptable. Mirrors on the ceilings – well, that’s just a little creepy.

Kitchens – There’s no real need for a mirror in the kitchen, so if you have any, think about why it’s there and if it doesn’t serve a real purpose, take it down.

Bathrooms – Here is the place where most mirror mistakes occur. If your bathroom wasn’t recently updated, chances are very good that the mirrors in your bathrooms probably stretch all the way across the wall or at least across the length of the counter. They are also likely to be unframed. Boring! The good news is that you have several great, cost-effective options:

Photo: Dan Kalleres - Two mirrors are better than one
  • Frame the mirror you currently have. Use molding that can be purchased at any home improvement store. Frame out the mirror and simply glue or otherwise adhere the framing on the mirror. The framing can be painted or stained depending on the look you’re trying to achieve and the materials used.
  • Take down the old mirror and purchase inexpensive, pre-framed mirrors. You can get a completely new look by changing out that old unframed mirror for something with more style.

If you plan to do a removal job yourself, take appropriate precautions. Working with mirrors can be dangerous. Use safety goggles to protect your eyes. Have appropriate gloves to protect your hands. Consider taping over the mirror or using carpet protector film. It’s sticky and comes in wide sheets.

Check to see how your mirror is installed. Some are glued on, some are held on by clips and there may even be a combination of methods used to hold it in place. The danger in removing mirrors is the chance that the mirror will break and cut you. If you are not comfortable doing it yourself, hire a professional to remove it for you. Disposing of your mirror is something you should plan for in advance. If you can find someone willing to come and take it away for you that can recycle it, that’s a plus.

If you are reducing the footprint of your mirror on the wall by taking down a larger mirror and replacing it with a smaller, framed one, be prepared to address repairs and painting of the wall behind it. You might find any number of unexpected projects like old wallpaper or previous wall damage, so plan for it ahead of time and you won’t be surprised.

Don’t forget that you may be able to repurpose an old mirror you have already in your house by painting it to update its style or moving it from one location to a more suitable location elsewhere. Some of the best bathroom mirrors aren’t found where they sell bathroom mirrors – you might find a great bathroom mirror in the furniture section or even in a second-hand store.

It goes without saying that any mirrors you have should be sparkling clean, so don’t forget to break out the glass cleaner!

If you have a home staging question or would like to share a staging tip, please let me know. Send me a photo of your home staging dilemma and I’ll be happy to help! 

Home Staging Tip: If you have one large bathroom mirror and you want it to look like two framed mirrors, don’t just frame around the outside of the mirror. Put frames down the center to split the mirror and it will appear that you installed two framed mirrors right next to each other for a higher-end look! 

For more info: If you want a framed mirror but haven’t got the carpentry skills to do it, try Mirror Mate. They can create a frame for the dimensions you tell them you need. You can also see how to do the job yourself by typing in “how to frame a mirror” in any search engine.



  • Wayne R 5 years ago

    Dan - thanks for this informative article. It has made me think about my bathroom which has a counter-long mirror. You offer some great ideas about changing the look, especially the very cost-effective idea of framing it. I look forward to reading more from you!