“Smoke-and-mirrors” trickery -- like the way children bury their spinach under the mashed potatoes -- is a handy tool when you want to create the illusion of a window. Windows provide natural light and openness, and when used correctly, so can mirrors. With more than one “trick up your sleeve," achieve the idea of an open view, lightness and even more space.
Across from a Window
When you don’t have a window where you want one, reflect on it, literally. By hanging a mirror across from a window, the reflection that bounces back is that of -- obviously -- the window including its view and flow of natural light. Use a mirror large enough to capture the whole window when you look at it from across the room. The mirror’s frame should mimic that of the window's frame -- if your window's frame is white, use a mirror with a white frame.
For the space with a small window or no window at all, cast the illusion of an outdoor garden from a mirror. You have two choices: Place the mirror across from an attractive grouping of indoor plants -- real or silk -- or place the mirror where you want it to simulate a window, and then create an attractive greenery arrangement in its path. Use a mirror that resembles an arched Palladian window or a window with panes, for example. Or instead, make one using a vintage window fitted with a mirror. Hang a pair of curtains from a decorative curtain rod above, use a window topper or leave the mirror unadorned.
Indoors, shutters are an unexpected design element. Wood shutters that are roughly half the width of your mirror, and almost as tall, create the illusion of a window when they're flanking a mirror. Age shutters made from new wood by using a painting and glazing technique, or rough up painted shutters with sandpaper along the slats, top and sides -- everywhere you’d expect the sun, wind and rain to cause natural wear. Alternatively, paint shutters a vivid color, such as sky blue, grassy green or sunflower yellow to complement the surrounding decor. The idea is to make the shutters the center of attention rather than the simulated window.
Often, what sits across from a large picture window is a windowless wall. If the window has a view worth replicating, create a faux sunroom. Sunrooms boast multiple windows, so imitate those windows with multiple wall mirrors or mirror tiles placed wherever wall space allows. Daylight and outdoor spaces will appear to surround the room. To avoid an overstimulating, “house-of-mirrors” effect, hang plants randomly around the room’s perimeter and set some along the floor -- they'll break up the view's monotony. Fill the space with glass tables, cane or wicker furniture, a jute rug and fabrics with vivid floral prints or stripes for a summer-like atmosphere year-round.
For safety's sake, always fix mirrors securely to wall studs using mirror-hanging hardware designed to carry the mirror's weight. Secure mirror tiles with mirror adhesive or caulking that won't strip the mirrors' silvery backing.