Plagued With Dated Mirrored Walls? 5 Design Ideas to Make Them Work

published Feb 27, 2017
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Post Image
(Image credit: Ideal Home)

Sometime a few decades back, it seems that designers cottoned onto the fact that mirrors are (er, make that can be) fantastic for interiors. They reflect light, thus making a space look brighter and larger. There’s also a certain shiny-glam factor to them, owing to the fact that traditionally, glass is an expensive finish to splash about.

That all being said, there can definitely be too much of a good thing, especially when mirrors are concerned. Between the late ’70s and early ’90s, it seems landlords went a little overboard, mirror-ing walls in hallways, dining rooms, living rooms and bedrooms (though they weren’t all as simple as the full-wall version seen above from Ideal Home); sure, it might have been a good look decades ago, but today, it just screams “dated!!” On top of that, floor-to-ceiling mirrors really leaves little usable wall space. If you’re currently dealing with excessively mirrored walls in your rental apartment and need some help with how to give them a modern look, take heed of these tips.

(Image credit: Veranda)

Ignore it (& Style Away!)

There’s an inclination, when your walls are covered with paper, mirror, basically anything that isn’t paint, to avoid covering them up too much. (As a designer, I see the same thing with clients and art— nobody wants to place a chair or lamp where it might partially obscure a large painting on the wall behind). But really, it’s all about that layerin’. If you’re not feeling your mirrored walls, use large pieces of furniture (like the chest in the above photo from Veranda), art, potted plants, anything to obscure them as much as possible. Try hanging them with easily removable adhesive hooks!

(Image credit: Love Grows Wild)

Hang Art from the Ceiling

You might be thinking “sure, art— but how do I hang it?!” It’s true that hammering into a wall of glass is a no-go. Lighter pieces can be hung using adhesive hooks, but for anything heavier, you’ll want to utilize your ceiling. Take a cue from Love Grows Wild (above), and hang art from hooks and chain or rope to add an element of surprise (and it’s definitely easier to get that perfect art gallery height down).

Cover it with Curtains

Fabric isn’t just for windows. One of the most common complaints about mirrored walls is that they’re stark and cold—if that’s your issue, go in the opposite direction and drape them in fabric (a la the bedroom from Arch Daily shown above). Run from a ceiling track, inexpensive curtain panels (think IKEA) add softness, texture and interest to a space. You don’t need to do a whole wall, just where you want a little visual respite of your reflection.

Write On It

This one’s for the creatives out there. Think of a mirrored wall like a giant reflective whiteboard; given the right tools, you can turn it into art, a message board, a grocery list, anything (maybe even an oversize guest book, similar to one from Vogue Living). And it’s not just dry-erase markers and wipeable paints that work—venture into the land of removable decals and the possibilities are endless.

Paint It

Worse comes to worst, you can always paint it. Maybe not like the art above from The Apartment via My Scandinavian Home (or maybe so!), but with the right product, glass is absolutely paintable. You’ll have to check with your landlord first, and once painted caution will still be necessary (don’t forget what’s under there and get the hammer out), but sometimes it’s the simplest, cheapest and best-looking solution.

Have you ever lived somewhere with dated mirrored walls? What did you do to deal?