A round mirror frames the face and is perfect for a vanity or dresser.

How to Use Round & Rectangular Mirrors in a Room

by Aiden Summer

Mirrors are usually hung for utilitarian purposes, often in the form of a full-length mirror in the corner of a bedroom, or a rectangular mirror above a bathroom sink. But mirrors can serve multiple decorative and functional purposes, including brightening and expanding a room, or even serving as sculptural decor. Round and rectangular mirrors each have unique assets to consider.

Bedroom Textures

A mirror in the bedroom doesn't have to be relegated to the inside of the closet door. Try covering a sliding closet door with rectangular mirrors, which will help to enlarge your space. If you have a smaller closet or wardrobe, try paneling the outer doors with oval mirrors, which can be helpful for checking details while you get dressed in the morning, and also for adding textural depth to a plain piece of furniture. If your decor is more traditional, select a mirror shape according to the other elements in the room. A four-poster bed or sharp-edged dresser is nicely balanced with a large rectangular mirror on the wall above. Similarly, if your bed or sofa features ruffles or soft edges, balance them out with a round mirror.

Playful Accents for Kids' Rooms

One fanciful way to use a mirror is to integrate it into a mural or playful motif. For instance, use a round mirror as the center of a flower painted on the wall, or line up three round mirrors in a row with white frames to signify the portholes of a ship. If complicated artistry is not on your agenda, simply frame a mirror in a bright, lively color to sit above your child's dresser. Avoid putting a mirror near a young child's bed as it can be distracting and disrupt sleep.

Soft Edges in the Bathroom

Mirrors are essential to a bathroom, but you don't have to stick with the standard medicine-cabinet mirror. Rectangular mirrors with sharp edges or corners can make a bathroom seem clinical, whereas round mirrors tend to be softer, making the room a cozier, more inviting place. Try a large oval mirror hung vertically above the sink for an elongated view. Or, soften a rectangular wall mirror with a frame that features curved edges and shapes. If you have a vanity or an extra surface in your bathroom, a small round table mirror that frames your face is useful for applying makeup or styling hair.

Living Room Layers

Mirrors can take on more decorative roles in a living room, where they can serve as artistic touches and conversation pieces. Create textural contrast between an indoor reflection and an outdoor view by hanging a small round mirror, framed or unframed, in front of a window. Another artistic technique is to layer a contrasting empty frame in front of a framed mirror for an illusory effect. For a pleasing decorative touch, try mixing round mirrors of different sizes and/or different frames above a fireplace mantel.

About the Author

Aiden Summer is a creative production consultant for artists, architects and designers.

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