Decorating with mirror

Editor Mary Jane Harris sings the praises of the most versatile decorating material of all

During the holidays I was invited to lunch in a small but glamorous apartment in which the owner had used mirror in all sorts of interesting ways. Sitting at the dining table, updated with a bevelled mirror surface, it struck me that mirror really is one of the most versatile decorating tools around, especially as it can be used in conjunction with a variety of decorating styles.

Here are some of the ideas that I’ve spotted:

1. On table tops

Lesley Donel-Douglas of Hertex Fabrics turned a rattan bench into a coffee table (pictured left) just by placing a custom-cut piece of bevelled mirror on the top. “It’s so much more practical as, unlike the rattan, it’s stable and easy to clean,” she says.

2. To create a window effect

Use a large casement mirror to create the effect of an extra window, as this homeowner did in her Fourways, Johannesburg home.

3. Updating furniture

Decorator Candice Woodward glammed up an ordinary chest of drawers just by cladding the top and the fronts of the drawers with mirror and adding new crystal handles.

4. In table settings

Top catering company By Word of Mouth often uses mirror in their table settings and buffets. On the left they’ve placed trays upside down and topped them with mirror to create a raised plinth for a collection of flower-filled vases. On the right they’ve used a plain square of mirror as a serving tray which doubles the effect of the glassware and candles.

5. To add interest to cupboard doors

Although full-length mirrors are often seen on cupboard doors, Marius Hitge of Cape Town did something slightly different and placed three squares of mirror on each door to break up the solid expanse of cupboards and bring light into the corner.

6. As a frame

Suttie Marais Designs used mirror frames for this collection of etchings. “They don’t overpower the artwork yet still add a glamorous touch,” they say.