How to Use Mirrors to Amplify Your Home’s Small Spaces, According to a Local Designer

living room with mirror and natural light

If renovating isn’t currently an option to open up your home, we have a few design tricks up our sleeves. When turning your cramped quarters into breathable spaces, look no further than Warrenton-based Olamar Interiors lead designer Paola Martinez. Working in contemporary design, new construction, and historic renovation, she has become an expert at using darker colors, wallpaper, and bolder patterns to create an illusion of a larger living space.

She explains that the key to opening up a room is creating a focal point.

“Mirrors can be functional and stylish in spaces like mudrooms or tighter entryways,” she says. “They bounce the light, making the spaces feel much brighter and larger, and they also ensure you look fantastic before heading out the door — same for bathrooms.”

Photo courtesy Olamar Interiors

There is a way to use them correctly in order to accomplish a brighter, open feel in otherwise cramped quarters. “Try to reflect a feature wall or focal point in a space — a window with a great view of greenery, or wallpaper and light fixtures, or art pieces — to create a second window where there is none, or to double the impact of an existing design element.”

Martinez also plays with finishes and textures to amplify paint colors and wallpaper, or tone down some more dramatic patterns and colors on interior walls and fixtures. Playing with size is also something to consider, if you’re bringing a mirror into a small space.

“Large floor mirrors can be utilized to create drama in a space, as sculptural wall pieces that bounce tons of natural or artificial light back into the space, making it feel brighter. Their reflective nature makes a space feel like it continues, helping create the illusion of more space,” she says.

Photo courtesy Olamar Interiors

They can also double as art, when incorporating a piece of an artist’s work into a space might make the area feel cluttered. “In groupings, they can create a structural wall sculpture that compliments or replaces art, while providing the benefits of being reflective.”

Of course, they serve a purpose where needed, but give a great excuse to get more creative in a utilitarian space that might typically be more subdued. “In bathrooms, they are both functional but can and should also create or accentuate an amazing feature wall,” she says.

When used correctly, they can reflect a focal or feature point in a space, making it even more impactful, for example great views outdoors and natural light, wallpaper, light fixtures, or other art pieces.

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