No Window? No Problem — Here’s How to Fake One (Zero Sledgehammers Required)

published Jun 12, 2021
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Credit: Rikki Snyder

The Small/Cool Experience is a shoppable online home design showcase and social event full of decorating tips and tricks from your favorite designers. Check out the whole virtual experience online and at @apartmenttherapy on Instagram from June 11-13. Thank you to our sponsors BEHR® Paint, Genesis G70, LUMAS, Overstock, Tuft & Needle, Chasing Paper, and Interior Define for making this experience possible.

One downside of living in a small space is that you may not have a ton of light pouring in. While there are tons of great lamp options, there’s another smart way to fake the look of big, beautiful windows (no cords required).

For this year’s Small/Cool Experience, designer David Quarles IV created a colorful, 120-square-foot maximalist masterpiece. “Maximalism is all about filling a space with the things you love,” Quarles says, and one thing he loves is letting light illuminate his bright spaces. In lieu of an actual window inside his room, Quarles faked the look with a mirror behind a beautiful set of blue velvet panels from Ballard Designs.

What makes this setup especially convincing is the rectangle-shaped paneled mirror with a window pane look, also from Ballard Designs. According to Apartment Therapy’s home director, Danielle Blundell, mirrors are a key design trend this year — “and the bigger, the better!” she says. They’re not just a design piece, either — a mirror helps bounce light around to make a room look both bigger and brighter.

Want to bring Quarles’s trick into a windowless room in your own home? Choose a mirror with a window pane look — or fake it using a plain mirror and some black electrical tape. Once you hang your mirror, install a curtain rod above and add your favorite drapes. Instant “window!”

To hear even more from Quarles, be sure to watch his whole conversation with Danielle below — and check out the rest of our Small/Cool Experience here.