Friday, June 3, 2011

what to do when you don't have windows

Shortly after Reid was born, we bought a townhome and I quickly learned lots of tricks for "faking big" in a small space.  One of my best tricks was hanging oversized mirrors on windowless walls.  The lack of windows in a condo/townhome is probably the biggest challenge.  You have at least half of your walls that are shared with another unit, so those spaces are without windows and also without as much light.

Adding mirrors reflects light and adds an illusion of space that nothing else can.

Here is a photo of the mirrors in that townhome I mentioned:
Even though we aren't in that home any longer, I am making use of the same trick in the new house since we used a fairly dark paint color in the Dining Room.  One wall is shared with another interior wall {Grant's Room}, so there are no windows.  But, the sunroom is adjacent to the Dining Room, so I am taking advantage of bringing that light over by way of the big mirrors.

Here is the before of the Dining Room that I shared a few weeks ago and the after with the mirrors:

 Such a big difference.  It doesn't hurt that it's been cleaned up either.

Here are a few more photos:

See that hazy film on the mirror?  Does anyone have any tricks for getting mirrors sparkly?  My glass cleaner seems to be leaving behind streaks.

 Here are my 5 tips to use with mirrors if you are try to add light and space to a windowless wall: 

Make sure that the scale is appropriate.  You are trying to mimic a window so you want the mirror to be the same size and shape that a window would be if there was one installed there. 

If there is space, use a set of two mirrors.  It always looks better than one and adds lots of drama.

Hanging the mirrors vertically will add height, so do that if you have the room to.

Be sure that the mirrors reflect something pretty or architectural.  It's best if the mirrors can face a window so that they'll reflect the light and the pretty outdoor surroundings, but if not, be sure it's at least facing the fireplace, pretty staircase, etc.  You don't want to set a mirror opposite your tv or a plain wall.  Be sure and consider what you'll see through the mirrors when you look at them and be sure it's something you like looking at.

Have a light source.  It could be the light from an adjacent window, a tall lamp or candlesticks placed in front of the mirror, hardwire or candle sconces beside the mirror, etc.  Light reflected in a mirror is gorgeous and amplified, so be sure and take advantage of that in some way, or multiple ways if you can.

One last thing...if you place your mirrors over a piece of furniture, don't worry about them creeping over the edges.  You can see in the photo below that my mirrors come out from the buffet by about 6" on each side.  It's perfectly okay.  Nobody will really key into that unless you point it out.

Now, install your mirrors and watch your space double!


  1. I've recently started using diluted white vinegar as my glass cleaner. I haven't used it on anything other than the bathroom mirror at this point (and it's tiny) but I've heard rave reviews. Try it!

  2. Try cleaning your mirrors with old newspapers! the paper won't leave a film on the glass.

  3. Norwex micro fibre clothes are the best. Just use water and they will sparkle. The fun part is your kids can use them and they still don't streak. I had a home party and their hostess plan is the best I have ever seen. But I am sure you can just order on-line too. They are guarenteed so youcan return them if you don't like them. Totally worth the $, not at all like the cheaper version. Laura-Lea

  4. these are such great tips! I use a lot of mirrors (my house doesn't have a ton of light) and they are great! Thanks for the inspiration! xoxo


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