Decorate Your Mantle with a Mirror Decorate Your Mantle with a Mirror

A mantle is the centerpiece of any family room, and to have a mirror atop it creates the illusion of an expansive space. Even if it houses a faux fireplace or none at all, a mantle still draws the attention of guests and family members. A room with a mantle that lacks a mirror seems incomplete, two dimensional, whereas one with a mirror makes the room expand. Its reflective ability brings the entire room together within the looking glass, hiding the wall behind it in the process. Decorating your mantle with a mirror offers both a practical and a stylish alternative to a picture, hanging or mantle piece.

Decorating a Mantle

Whether or not the mantle contains a real fireplace, wood stove, gas fireplace or is simply ornamental, it creates a warm space that is perfect for decorating. The entire wall next to which the mantle sits lends itself to the design of a comfortable hearth. Bookshelves on either side of the mantle frame the centerpiece of the room, while decorating the mantle itself is open to many possibilities. The wall just above the mantle seems bare when left undecorated. For that reason, it calls for a picture, tapestry or some other hanging or mirror to fill in the space. Oftentimes a clock is placed in the center of the mantle. In addition to decorating the wall, the smart placement of picture frames, candelabras or other portable items on either end of the mantle adds to the design.

Use of a Mirror

A mirror not only provides a looking glass for reflection. Arguably, its most important function—at least atop a mantle—is to create the illusion of an expansive room. Most people are familiar with the illusion of infinite reflection when two mirrors are placed opposite one another. Whatever image appears in one is reflected into the other one and back again and on and on into infinity. One mirror atop the mantle does not create this effect, but it does reflect the room as a whole and create the impression that it is much larger than it really is. A mirror on a mantle can take a small family room and make it seem twice its size. With the right lighting and a soft atmosphere—especially when burning a fire—the glow of the lights and the flicker of the flames dance in the mirror and are reflected throughout the room.

Another trick is to position the mirror so it tilts a bit toward the floor. A slightly tilted mirror picks up light from table lamps, and during Christmas, when the tree is aglow with lights and decorations and the fire is going, the mantle mirror catches everything and returns it. It creates a truly magical atmosphere.  

There are numerous ways to decorate a mantle, from hanging a picture or tapestry to filling the space with a decorative clock. A mirror, however, provides nice filler for the empty space on the wall and opens up the room tremendously. Its reflective ability can make a small room seem much bigger and create a cozy, well-lit atmosphere even when the lights are low.

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