22 Jun 2017
August 30, 2014 - Filed under: Features — Harriet

When it comes to looking at oneself, usually only the best frame will do. While perhaps a little vain, a quality antique mirror can do much more than just feed your ego; it can also help to act as a centrepiece for a room, especially when placed above a well-adorned mantelpiece or antique coffee tables.

However, there are a few different aspects involved in the search for a good reflecting piece, which we will take a look at now.

The reflection

While you want to make sure that the actual mirror is clean before you buy it, the image it produces does not have to have too much clarity. This is because antiques are rarely bought to be placed above the bathroom sink, but can instead operate as decoration, so the need for functionality is not there.

While you may not be able to see yourself too clearly in the glass or polished metal, the surface will still reflect light most adequately, meaning that it will help to brighten a room, as well as make it appear more spacious. Often, this is much more important when it comes to interiors than being able to look at oneself. The unique blemishes and scratches often add to the item’s charm, especially with older designs.

The style

Of course, you will want your vintage mirror to be able to fit in with the rest of your décor choices. For example, if you have decked out a room with inlaid Edwardian furniture, it may be a good decision to pick a mirror from the beginning of the 20th Century, as many of the designs of this time will match well with the golden hues that characterise this style.

However, for a more modern appeal that still harkens back to the past, perhaps an Art Deco vintage mirror might be the best choice. Making use of solid geometric shapes and contours, this continental style can often add a hint of quiet sophistication to a living space or bedroom, especially when combined with antique bedroom furniture of the same or a complementary design.

There are many other fashions in mirror crafting to look at as well, from Gothic to Rococo, and by combining one or two items from different eras it is possible to create a space that is tailored to your own sensibilities.

The condition

The quality of the antique mirror should also be considered, although this is not always clear cut.

For one, the patina that may have built up over the surface or frame, which is caused by oxidation overtime, especially on metalwork, can in fact add to its charm and value. Not to mention that the layer often protects a mirror from further damage.

If the mirror has bronze elements, any bright spots in the patina may be an indication of corrosion, and as such it should be taken to a specialist for treatment.

Also, be sure to check for any warping of the frame. As mirrors may have spent many years hung over a fireplace, its structure may have been affected by constant heating and cooling.

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