Thursday, April 20, 2006

Mother Mirror.

I must admit that I am extremely mirror-phobic. In this case, it's not a self-esteem problem, but a specific, traumatic incident: A run in with the 1980's.

When I moved in to my present bedroom, there was a half a wall of mirror tiles cemented to the wall. The tiles were immune to even the highest concentrations of goop-remover (it effectively erased 1/8th of my mental capacity, I suspect), and had to be taken off with a hammer and chisel, portions of the wall coming down with it.

Who on earth would do such a thing to their unsuspecting walls?

I suspect its another case of Home Cross-Dressing: Trying to pass off a room, home feature or accessory as Something That It Clearly Isn't. In this case, it's trying to pass off an incredibly tiny room (9x12) as a much bigger one. We've all seen those home tips that encourage you to visually extend a room's parameters by the way of mirrors. When read by a normal person, the urge is to procure a clever decorative mirror, displaying it on a wall of your choice.

When the same article is read by someone who is out of their mind, the urge is to haphazardly glue a series of mirrored tile squares halfway down a random wall. After the damage was done, did the person say, "Well now, it's just like having a huge penthouse! You'd never guess that I resided in a shoebox!"

I don't think so.

Repeat after me: You'll never, ever, EVER be able to pass off a miniscule room as a lofty space. You can mirror yourself in to next week, but the only thing your walls will reflect is the pity on your guests' faces.

But while you can't magically lengthen and widen a room, you can give the appearance of spaciousness with a well-chosen mirror.

The Mist Mirror from Foster's Urban Hardware (124 N. 3rd) begs to be hung in multiples, thanks to the art work-like framing. I'd go with six- 2 rows of three, on the horizontal- in a non-descript hall or foyer. I suppose you could hang these above a sofa, as the caption suggests, but make sure you purchase enough to make an emphatic enough statement. Three small mirrors above a large sofa looks skimpy, not minimalistic.

Placing a larger mirror above a mantel is an ideal thing to do. The somewhat unbroken vertical line that results heightens the ceiling. Try the Raleigh Arch Mirror from Restoration Hardware (4130 Main Street, Manayunk; 300 Route 73, Marlton, NJ). The arch nicely complements the horizontal lines of a mantel and the ceiling line.

In a smallish bedroom, I'm mad for this Venetian Beaded Mirror, also from Restoration Hardware. Since it's tilted, it reflects more of the blank ceiling, giving a hint of spaciousness. Be careful, since this is a major statement piece- keep this on a spare wall (meaning no accessories, and especially no messes), and try your best not to place it directly across from your bed, lest you come off as tawdry. I wouldn't encourage putting it, as the company recommends, in the bathroom, since most of us aren't very amused at such a bold, even if nicely framed, image of ourselves emerging from the bath.