Lighting your home and decorating with mirrors go hand in hand. Light and mirrors are perfect bedmates, and using one without the other is to ignore one of the basic principles of physics. Light is energy, and by reflecting this energy you can divert it without losing it: energy cannot be destroyed, so you can reflect light throughout your home without any apparent reduction in intensity.
By getting your angles right, you can set up mirrors to reflect light from a downstairs living room window to an upstairs bedroom. The strength of the light will eventually dissipate as the light of a star has dissipated by the time it reaches earth, but in your own home this energy loss is infinitesimal.
That’s enough science for one day. However, it is still true that decorating with mirrors is a popular means of adding space to a room, and that high intensity lighting systems such as spotlights can be directed to any room in your house by means of mirrors. That is the basis of mirror signaling, otherwise referred to as heliography.
Creating the Illusion of Space
One of the important aspects of decorating with mirrors is that they can be use to make your home look bigger. Many first time buyers have to start small and work up, and many inner-city apartments can be fairly small. By appropriately lighting your home and placing mirrors in strategic spots you can create an illusion of space. However, the must be paced correctly.
For example, if you hang a mirror over a fireplace, you should be careful with the angle. A mirror can reflect radiated heat as well as light, but not unless the angle of reflection is right. A mirror hung flat to the firewall will likely reflect the ceiling! If you want it to reflect anything significant, then it should be tilted downward. It might then reflect the radiant heat from the fireplace, but don’t count on it due to the angles involved.
Angular Reflection is Important
To really open up smaller room try hanging a mirror directly opposite a window, and try a few angles before settling on the one you prefer. A mirror reflects incident light back at the same angle as it enters the mirror. So if your mirror is set at a 10 degree angle, the light will be reflected off at exactly the same 10 degree opposite angle, just as if you bounced a ball off a wall at an angle.
You can set mirror angles to enable you see out the window from you favorite seat, or to reflect onto a second mirror and so on. It is possible to reflect a single outdoor scene all round your house by use of strategically angled mirrors! Keep in mind that a flat mirror forms a mirror image of the source reflected at the same angle as you are viewing it. So you will never see yourself unless you are directly in front of at least part of it.
Expand a Hallway
A narrow hallway can be expanded by hanging mirrors along its length and staggered along each wall. A mirror placed at the end of the hall can open it out further, particularly if facing a front door, when the hall will be lit from each end when the door is opened. A full length mirror, extending from floor to ceiling, will expand any room. If used in a bedroom it can be placed to expand a single-bedded room into one with two identical beds.
Their use is so effective, that if you move to a larger house it can actually appear smaller to you unless you employ the same tricks to expand your new home. Positioning reflective surfaces opposite sources of natural or artificial light is very effective, and you can add to the beauty of your home by reflecting vases of flowers, other mirrors at a slight angle or even a particularly impressive painting.
Combining Light and Mirrors
If you combine light and mirrors you can create some wonderful decorative effects. Lighting your home with a variety of sources, such as mixing spotlights and softly shaded lamps, can be very effective. Decorating with mirrors set at angles to reflect these sources can have a dramatic effect on the apparent available space, and also enables you to make the best use of the lighting you have installed.
Another trick is to hang mirrors on any ugly features in your home, such as vertical wall electrical conduits or bulky items of furniture: they will disappear or will be reduced in size, and replaced with a more expansive view of the room. Mirrors offer another dimension to your home, and if you know how to use them properly you will amaze your visitors with the benefits they offer.
Check out the Patterson Furniture website for a large selection of furniture in Atlanta, and also for more details on how decorating with mirrors can expand the apparent size of your home.
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