Decorating with Antique Mirrors

At reDesign Home, it is our mission to deliver unique interior design solutions that enhance the existing architecture of a home and highlight its unique elements to create one-of-a-kind spaces. Antique mirrors are one tool that helps us achieve that extra-special feeling.They can have a dramatic impact in a space and are appropriate for many design aesthetics from layered and collected to minimal and sleek.

Wall clad with antique mirrors

Source: Rupert Bevan

First known by the name ‘looking glass,’ mirrors were originally produced in Murano and silvered in Venice as early as the 16th Century. By the middle of the 17th Century, they were being produced in London through a process where cylinders of glass were blown, and then split open and laid flat. Due to the limitations of this process, only small plates could be made, and several pieces were needed to create a single large mirror.

By the late 18th Century, improvements to the process meant larger and better-quality plates, which brought larger decorative mirrors to the market for the first time. Framing styles soon changed dramatically from the elegantly-carved gilt wood frames of the Chippendale period to beautiful polished frames like the silver Cheval mirror of the Victorian period.*

Le Flandrin, Paris, by architect Joseph Dirand

Source: Le Flandrin, Paris / Architecture by Joseph Dirand

Today, we use framed decorative mirrors to add beauty and layers to a space, but also use the individual mirrored plates in many applications and in all rooms of a house. The smoky patina of antique mirror plates have a more subtle reflective quality that is better-suited to a large installation than new mirrors, and they bring an aged, bespoke quality to a room.


  • To create the illusion of space in a small space

  • To bounce light around a dark or interior room

  • To create a dramatic feature wall that highlights or creates an architectural feature

  • On a backsplash or range hood

  • Inset in cabinetry, furniture, or door panels

  • Leaning, layered over artwork

  • To establish a moody, Parisian vibe

English Cottage Reno by ReDesign Home


Bathroom with marble and antique mirrors

Source: Solís Betancourt & Sherrill / Photo: Pieter Estersohn for Architectural Digest

A large reflective surface like the antique mirror is most effective in a space with a monochromatic color palette. As with any mirror, what it reflects from every angle should be considered, and in a space already full of color or objects, a mirror can increase a feeling of busyness. In a room with an understated palette, however, they bring life and movement.


Cabinetry inset with antique mirrors

Source: G.P. Schafer / Photo by Eric Piasecki for Architectural Digest

Inset into cabinetry, doors, or millwork, antique mirrors bring warmth and interest to a space often overlooked. In the small dressing room above, mirrors set into closet doors create the illusion of more space, not to mention the practical aspect of have multiple mirrored surfaces in a closet.


River Forest Reno by ReDesign Home

English Cottage Reno by ReDesign Home

Source: Pierce & Ward

Antique mirrors are lovely when applied to the back of a bookshelf or used as a backsplash in either a kitchen or bar. The single surface is a chic, glamorous alternative to wallpaper or tile, but special care should be taken during installation for any mirror used in a high-use space such as a kitchen or bath.

* Source: Antiques World