Living Space

Living Space: Mirrors magnify outdoor beauty

Tribune Content AgencyJuly 4, 2014 

This striking mirrored sculpture in a Monaco garden offers just a taste of how outdoor mirrors can magnify the beauty of the landscape.

FOTOLIA

Mirrors can bring in a beautiful view from outdoors, make a room feel lighter and brighter and open up a dark corner. Large mirrors can make a room look twice its normal size. But mirrors don’t have to stay indoors. You can use them creatively outside, too.

Living area

One of the hottest trends of recent years is the outdoor room. In such spaces, mirrors can be used much the same way as they are indoors. Have an outdoor fireplace? Place a mirror over it. A distressed mirror looks posh in an outdoor setting.

If your mirror is too shiny, give it an antique finish by coating the back of the glass with paint stripper. Let sit for 10 to 15 minutes, then scrape the silver away with a scraper. Reapply until you get the amount of distressing you want. Consider distressing the frame, too.

Expand your space

Use a stand-up mirror to take advantage of a pretty view or reflect a special feature in your yard, such as a pool, fountain, flower garden, tree or topiary. If your yard or patio is small, you can instantly double the size by placing a mirror against a wall or fence.

Plant vines to grow over a mirror. Small bits of the glass will show through and create the illusion that the garden continues on and on. Try hanging a mirror over a seating group, just as you would a sofa indoors.

For al fresco dining, create your own mirrored chandelier. Suspending a mirror over the table will double the illumination. Simply turn the mirror to face the table and hang it from the ceiling using wire and a hook. Screw eye hooks into the mirror at various points around the frame. Use these to dangle crystal beads or hang candles like the Raindrop hanging candle holders ($5, shopwildthings.com/hacaho).

Illusion and safety

If your garden is fenced or walled and seems small, frame it to create a doorway with 1-by-4 lumber and paint. Insert a sheet of mirror in the frame, making sure the edges are under the framing. Add rocks or gravel to disguise the bottom edge. Guests will swear that your “secret garden” or patio extends farther than it does.

Don’t forget that wherever mirrors are placed, it’s a good idea to make sure that sunlight won’t be reflected in a way that could blind someone. Mirrors should also be anchored so they don’t blow over in stormy weather. If you’re worried about breaking glass, opt for mirrored plastic. You’ll get the same reflection with fewer safety concerns.

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