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Home decor trend: Large mirrors

These reflective pieces give way to art, dimension and even "new wallpaper"

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As Snow White's nemesis took pride in her own reflection in the mirror, people take pride in where they live, be it a house, apartment, condo -- or even castle. One way to add some pizzazz to your home -- any evil queen plotting to take out the most beautiful in the land would agree -- and brighten the space is to incorporate large mirrors into the space to bounce light.

Mirrors with avant-garde frames, spanning 3 feet wide and more, perk up a room like the colors of a Picasso painting can. Mirrors are timeless, and according to local home interior store owners, there are a number of ways to utilize these reflective components in your home.

At Blacklion in Dilworth, more than 80 mirrors framed with painted ceramics, antique metals, grainy woods and stretched fabrics (including animal print) adorn the store. One mirror we gravitated toward was a $250 cow print-framed piece, propped against the cream-colored walls of a living room display.

Sales associate Trish Allread suggests using big mirrors in formal dens and dining rooms instead of family rooms, as these more frequented living areas tend to be more casual. Also, instead of hanging a mirror, she says "propping a mirror against the wall is a fun addition to any space because most people don't expect to see a big mirror sitting on the floor." It catches a person's eye as soon as they walk into the room.

Propped mirrors can be great accents in formal rooms, but it's important not to overuse them. Jillian Ledford, a sales associate at High Cotton on South Boulevard, suggests turning your attention to your foyer. "Long mirrors in an entryway open a small space and give it more dimension," she says.

An oversized mirror can also liven up a bland wall by morphing into a substitute window. The mirror behind High Cotton's front counter is complete with window panels and shutters, and nearly covers the entire wall. The dusty off-white $738 mirror looks like an actual window weathered gray after being exposed to several storms. Ledford says that transparency like this "opens the area for more accessories and flairs," such as the nearby miniature green pine tree knickknacks.

Mirrors can also be used as elements of texture in a home, says Steed Cone, owner of City Supply on Thomas Avenue. A neutral tone like the $999 glazed black mirror hanging in City Supply's front window would complement any area. Rectangles and squares are fitted together like puzzle pieces to create the illusion of a mosaic mirror made of black ice.

Cone says he doesn't just hang mirrors on walls; he drapes them over fabric panels as space dividers between rooms. "I use chains to hang the panels from the ceiling," he says. "The panels are see-through like screens, so I'll hang a mirror over them to create a sense of separation."

With their intricate details, the oversized frames of these reflective glasses often resemble art. Debbie Harnett, owner of Slate Interiors in Plaza Midwood, knows a few things about using art to decorate a home. Her store carries paintings from some of Charlotte's local artists, such as March's featured artist Heather LaHaise.

"Hanging a mirror over your mantle or bed gives you the same effect of an original piece of art, without the cost," she says. But, if you seek a more unconventional look, she recommends hanging mirrors in places like the divider of a double window and the lip of a bookshelf. But take heed: Mirrors can accessorize any space, but if placed awkwardly, they may become a blemish on the room's overall appeal. Harnett says placing a mirror too high on a wall can create an eyesore. "If it reflects the ceiling, it doesn't make sense," she says.

Far from an eyesore is a $4,500 French-inspired zinc mirror at Post & Gray in South End. The cream-colored frame has a smoky antique garnish like smudges from charcoal briquettes. Its 3-D quality stems from the carved, protruding casing with a top that resembles the knob on a knoll post.

Post & Gray owner Kelley Vieregg says she loves to use antique mirrors in dining rooms. "The mirror adds depth and reflective quality, providing some glamour or romanticism," she says. "An antiqued mirror is especially interesting in a space like [an interior room] since the functionality of the mirror is not necessary."

She also recommends grouping like shapes and sizes and blanketing an entire wall. "I would group nine to 12 identical mirrors very close together to create an overall wall treatment," she says. "Think of it as new wallpaper."


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