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Mirrors Making a Design Comeback

(ARA) – If you think of mirrors as just a way to check your outfit on the way out the door, think again. Designers are rediscovering the many decorative uses for this everyday object. ‘Mirrors have unique properties unlike other design elements,’ says Brian Pitman, director of marketing and communications for the Glass Association of North America (GANA). ‘Nothing can instantly expand the feel of size, enhance interior light properties or increase a person’s sense of space like a mirror.’

The use of mirrors in interior design hit their peak in the 1970s, when they could be found on walls, in architectural designs, and even on some ceilings. Over the next 10 years, their use declined, but designers are incorporating them again in new designs that add substance to style. With the addition of new shapes, edgings, decorative touches and even tasteful colors, mirrors are experiencing a renaissance in interior design.

‘Mirrors are making a comeback in a big way,’ says Mary Grether, an interior design instructor, with The Illinois Institute of Art – Schaumburg. ‘A strategically placed mirror can instantly make a room look larger, add drama, or create a focal point in a room,’ she says.

This emerging increase of mirror use was highlighted by the 2006 Design Awards competition, sponsored by the Mirror Division of GANA, which is comprised of North American manufacturers and suppliers of quality mirror for use in design, as well as in furniture and other residential and commercial applications. A winner was chosen for innovative designs in the home, as well as in business.

In addition to the mirrors themselves, innovative designers have pushed the envelope of attachment systems for them. Bathrooms with a mirror seemingly suspended in mid-air, or architectural art which provides functional use have changed perspectives in how mirrors can add to an overall aesthetic in a design.

‘The winners represent excellent use of mirrors in both aesthetic and performance design,’ says GANA technical director Greg Carney. ‘The functionality of the applications was enhanced with creative systems for structurally supporting the mirrors.’

‘When using mirrors, be sure to think through the placement before hanging them,’ says Grether. ‘For example, be sure they won’t create unpleasant glare in a room. Also, consider what they will reflect. Mounting a mirror above a fireplace or over a sofa can be attractive, but make sure it’s not going to be reflecting the unattractive tops of furniture or blank wall space.’

The variety of how mirrors can be used today is evident in the results of the Design Awards competition. A judging panel selected the winners and honorable mentions from the entries received. Each entry provided a unique design idea for home and business owners to consider within the realm of their own designs.

To view photos of the 2006 winners and honorable mentions, log on to The site also features access to a list of the members of the Mirror Division.

Courtesy of ARA Content