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Architectural Mirrors

A handsome group of looking glasses inspired by classic house parts

Architectural Mirrors

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

Before electricity became a household staple, mirrors were hung mainly to illuminate interior spaces, with large pier glasses installed between parlor windows or placed in foyers to channel light inside. They also doubled as ornamentation, inserted into sculptural 18th-century fireplace overmantels or surrounded by hand-carved gilded frames. Over the years, simpler profiles caught on, and a looking glass came to be considered essential in grooming areas of the house too, such as bedrooms and bathrooms.

Today a select group of mirrors is bringing eye-catching adornment into homes in a unique way: by borrowing shapes and details from architectural features, such as windows, doors, crown moldings, and ceiling medallions. Framed with materials from metal to salvaged wood, the 13 we've gathered here are so alluring they're sure to invite everyone's gaze.

TOH Pro Advice: "To hang a mirror heavier than 30 pounds, fasten a piece of ¼-inch plywood an inch shorter than the mirror's width to the wall, catching at least two studs. Then nail two D-hooks onto the plywood for the mirror's hangers. This will evenly distribute the weight." —Myron Pollack, owner, Pelham Glass Products

Gothic Quatrefoil

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Uttermost

Frame: MDF with resin rosettes and a distressed silver-leaf finish

Size: 36"W x 36"H

Try it: To add a warm glow over a living room fireplace or dining room buffet. About $319; Home Decorators Collection

Latticework Shine

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Worlds Away

Frame: White lacquered MDF

Size: 31½"W x 42½"H

Try it: Over an entry console or in a powder room—its glossy finish and generous size will brighten a small space. Its trellis design nods to Victorian-era garden-room walls. About $450; The Classy Cottage

Victorian Motifs

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Shades of Light

Frame: Pecan-shell resin with a warm brown finish

Size: 31"W x 42"H

Try it: In a foyer or sitting room, where its fancy friezework and mantel-inspired shape can inject some stately vintage charm. About $350; Shades of Light

Patterned Panel

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Creative Co-op

Frame: Rust-painted iron

Size: 12½"W x 39½"H

Try it: In two pairs, flanking a plain window casing to dress it up. The frame's finish would also complement exposed brick walls. About $50; Bed Bath & Beyond

Leaf Motif

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by BP Industries Inc.

Frame: Black-painted iron

Size: 36"W x 36"H

Try it: Across from a window overlooking your yard so that the round glass can draw the outdoors in. Its scrollwork was inspired by 19th-century fences. About $130; JCPenney

Light and Airy

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Ballard Designs

Frame: Hand-painted polyurethane

Size: 16½"W x 42½"H

Try it: As one of several spaced across a sofa wall—the white trim tricks the eye into thinking they're windows. About $199 per set of two; Ballard Designs

Reflective Fanlight

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Bassett Mirror Company

Frame: Metal with a bronze finish

Size: 48"W x 24"H

Try it: High on a wall near the peak of a vaulted ceiling, where it'll have the effect of a window. About $189; Home Decorators Collection

Beveled Beauty

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Uttermost

Frame: Mirrored glass, MDF, and resin

Size: 243/10"W x 34 ¾"H

Try it: As a shapely accent in a master bedroom or bath, or over a foyer table. It would work equally well against pale paint or patterned wallpaper. About $219; Bed Bath & Beyond

Smoky Screen

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Ballard Designs

Frame: Bronze-finished steel

Size: 16½"W x 42"H

Try it: As a handsome accent in a study or office. Its riveted panels and antiqued glass will evoke an old-world library. About $149; Ballard Designs

Cottage Charmer

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Sagehill Designs

Frame: Solid maple and birch with a distressed white painted finish

Size: 30"W x 40"H

Try it: In a mudroom or bath with beadboard. The 4-inch-deep bottom shelf offers a handy perch for keys or toothpaste. About $280; Signature Hardware

Graphic Rosette

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Sedgefield by Adams

Frame: Lacquered solid basswood

Size: 24"W x 24"H

Try it: Hung at the end of a long hallway, where it can double as a faux window. Its rich finish and distinctive pattern make for a handsome focal point. About $278; Lighting by Lux

Weathered Window

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Wisteria

Frame: Painted salvaged fir

Size: 24"W x 27"H

Try it: In a windowless powder room; its aged whitewashed look will wake up blank walls and reflect available light. About $119; Wisteria

Mansard Style

Photo by Wendell T. Webber

by Vagabond Vintage

Frame: Antiqued recycled pine

Size: 41½"W x 38"H

Try it: Above a weathered wood dresser in a spacious bedroom, where its dormer detailing can shine. About $349; Redefine Home