Using mirrors in the kitchen

Incorporating a carefully chosen mirror into your kitchen is a clever design move. As well as injecting a touch of glamour, a mirror brings other benefits too. The reflective surface bounces light back across a room, boosting brightness and adding a sense of depth. It’s also a simple but highly effective way to make your space look bigger. Depending on what type of mirror you go for, it can be a relatively inexpensive way to boost your cook space. Browse these imaginative ways to add mirrored glass to your kitchen.

Put one behind your hob…
Clever positioning of a mirror can boost your kitchen’s design in several ways. For example, locating a mirrored splashback behind a hob (as pictured) will let you easily keep an eye on small children or continue to chat to friends, without having to turn around while cooking.

This mirrored splashback reflects the garden, creating the illusion of more outdoor space, as well as visually doubling the presence of the feature brick wall. This light- and space-boosting effect is heightened by combining the mirror with the glass ceiling and large windows.

…or your sink
As mentioned, mirrors are great for reflecting light, which will make a kitchen feel more spacious, open and bright. This means they’re especially effective in small or dark kitchens, where they can transform an otherwise dingy space into a comfortable place for cooking, working and socialising. Here, the mirror reflects the garden back into the room, which really helps to open it up.

Choose the right finish
Getting the right type of mirror is key. For a traditional kitchen or one in a period home, consider an antiqued or ‘foxed’ design, which has a mottled appearance and creates a lovely soft, vintage look (it can also work well in a modern kitchen). If you want to go ultra contemporary, a tinted mirror is a good option. Tinted designs come in a choice of colours, including smoked black glass and bronze, as shown here.

A mirrored glass splashback must be made from toughened or tempered glass, otherwise exposure to heat or an accidental knock could cause it to crack or break. And as long as it’s carried out prior to templating, mirrored glass can be shaped, drilled or cut to include socket cut-outs or to work around awkward corners. Mirrored glass can also be fitted in sheets up to 3m long which, for most kitchens, means you won’t have any visible joins.

While it looks beautiful, the major downside of a mirrored glass splashback is that its intensive manufacturing process is reflected in the cost, making it more expensive than most other splashbacks. But consider how dramatically it could affect the feel of your kitchen and the sense of space – you might decide it’s worth the investment.

Reach for reflective pendants
If you really want to make a statement, consider having a mirrored kitchen ceiling. This isn’t a look that will appeal to everyone, but a softer alternative can be achieved using stylish mirrored light fixtures and fittings. Oversized lights, such as these classic copper pendants, look fantastic above an island or dining table, grabbing attention and creating bright and interesting reflections. Similarly, fittings with mirrored details or chandelier crystals will also reflect the light and make soft patterns across your kitchen walls, creating instant ambience in the evenings.

Select a strip…
A mirrored panel is typically bought cut to size, so it has the potential to be fitted in a number of areas in the kitchen, whether it’s over a door, on the fronts of units or, as seen here, horizontally fixed across the width of an island. Here, the panel creates the illusion that the floor extends beyond the depth of the island. This clever positioning means the kitchen seems far more expansive than it is.

Consider your cabinets
Mirrored cabinet doors work beautifully on wall units because the eye-level position offers maximum light reflection, giving the impression of a brighter, larger, more open space.

Mirror is also a good alternative to plain glass if you struggle to keep your cupboards tidy inside.

If you’re worried about keeping the shiny surface clean, a finish such as antiqued mirrored glass, as seen here, will make fingermarks or smudges less noticeable, as well as adding character.

Try out a tile
Another way to make a decorative statement is by using mirrored tiles, but make sure they’re not competing with any other kitchen feature, as these tiles are designed to keep the limelight fully on themselves.

These metro tiles create a striking feature in a small corner, adding a big shot of glamour and boosting light, without the trompe l’oeil effect of sheet mirror. Mirrored tiles come in all sorts of tints and shapes, from hexagons to mosaics, and may be a more affordable option than getting sheet glass cut to size. Be sure to check that your tiles are suitable for the position you have in mind – hob splashback tiles will need to be heat-resistant.

…or take it to the top
Fill an entire wall with cut-to-fit mirror and the optical illusion becomes a centrestage feature. It works especially well in this smaller kitchen, making the space seem larger.

Follow the traditional route
You don’t need to opt for an expensive reflective splashback or custom-cut length of mirror to get the benefits of this material in your kitchen. A simple wall-hung or freestanding mirror can do just as much to brighten your room and enhance the feeling of space, and potentially at a lower cost.

Aside from being decorative, a mirror with a stylish or attention-grabbing frame is also a great way to inject your own sense of style into your kitchen and personalise the look.

Disguise features you want to hide
Another smart use of mirror is to disguise a kitchen element or structure that doesn’t appeal to you.

Structural pillars are a good example of this; these support posts are often present in extended kitchens as they can expensive to remove, but they’re often bulky and prominent. In this kitchen, the pillar has been clad in mirror, which effectively makes it vanish, as all you see are the reflections, not the structure itself. And while cleverly disguising the pillar, the mirror also turns it into a contemporary feature.

This trick can be used to disguise other features too. Here, the large overhead extractor appears far less intrusive because of its reflective, mirrored disguise.

Look in it
When planning what type of mirror to go for and where to put it, particularly if you’re focused on maximising its light-reflective qualities, it can be easy to forget the obvious: that a mirror will be looked in.

The last thing you want is to spend time, money and effort planning your layout, only to spoil it with a reflected view of a kitchen bin, dirty sink, laundry room or garden shed. Take a look in the mirror and make sure that whatever is reflected is a view that will enhance your space, not clutter it up.