Monday, March 23, 2009

Beautiful symmetry

This is perhaps one of the most popular dining rooms in the blogosphere. Designed by Suzanne Kasler, it is greatly admired for its bold color and charming mismatched chairs. However, I don't think I have ever read a single comment about the symmetrical Queen Anne style mirrors that flank the door, even though these mirrors play a major role in the look and feel of the room. In some way, they help balance and ground the room.

It is not that common to see a door in the middle of the main wall in the dining room. A pair of mirrors is an effective way to utilize the two small sections that have been created by the door.


Ever since I noticed the symmetrical mirrors in the Kasler designed dining room, I have noticed this motif in quite a few other rooms. This beautiful living room, designed by Gerrie Bremmerman (Southern Accents, photo by Tria Giovan) utlizes two large mirrors and two matching Italian consoles. There is a very large piece of art on the wall to the left (not seen in this picture), and the mirrors provide a great balance for the large art, as well as some nice sparkle in the room. The lamps on the end tables pick up the silver metallic look.

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This dining room also has a large object breaking up the wall (a fireplace this time), and designer Carole Weaks utlized mirrors to balance the sides (as well as settees underneath the mirrors). This room was part of the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Christmas showhouse, and also featured several beautiful paintings by artist Heidee Becker.


Designer Mary McDonald used ornate matching mirrors to flank a canopy bed in this bedroom. Sometimes I prefer mirrors to art because of the infinite possibilities in the frame style and color. I have put myself on a mirror purchasing moratorium as I have a few too many around the house!


This room (from Phoebe Howard's store Max & Co.) is one of my favorites because of the light and casual feel of the space. I love the look of the large mirrors flanking the fireplace, and think that it is unusual to have two matching mirrors that are on either side of another mirror. Somehow it works, perhaps because the sunburst mirror is more about the sculptural shape of the rays than the mirror itself.

The recent issue of House Beautiful had a particularly beautiful example of dual mirrors; these are giltwood. Interior design by Albert Hadley and Harry Heissmann.

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Until I really studied this picture, I thought that the mirrors - Louis Phillipe style - were identifical. But upon closer examination, it looks like they are similar in shape and style, but somewhat different. Perhaps it is the lighting, but the one on the right looks like it has a darker frame. The one on the left looks like it is much more gold. Image from Wind Lost and House to Home.


I love this room by Jeffrey Bilhuber - the two mirrors facing each other, accompanied by Italian consoles, create beautiful symmetry in this room, and make a nice break between the two sitting areas of this NYC apartment.


Another bedroom that has the mirrors symmetrically placed on either side of the bed. This was part of the 2008 Atlanta Symphony Showhouse, interiors by Kim Regas of Regas Interiors.


Barrie Benson used two matched mirrors to flank the window in this dining room.


These mirrors were made from an old French window (via Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, photography by Mali Azima). I am not quite sure if they are identical, although the shape is the same. The one on the left seems to have fewer segments, but perhaps this effect is because the one on the right is reflecting a bookcase. I always think it is nice when a mirror reflects something interesting. I like how the mirror on the left reflects the piano and the gallery wall above the piano.


I have loved this picture for years; it is actually an ad for a flooring company, but the interior design was by Ondine Karrady. Karrady was recently a contestant on the show 'Top Design', and made it to the top three. The two matching mirrors are one of my favorite things in this room (although I do love those coral silk curtains too), and I love how this picture illustrates that the effect of two mirrors can be achieved even with very small mirrors. In a sidenote, when researching this post, I googled images for 'symmetrical mirrors', and it led me to one of my old posts on Ondine Karrady!

I can't say that I have seen the dramatic use of matched mirrors very often in the homes of friends and family, but it would be easy enough to do. I found numerous examples of this style used in bedrooms, living rooms, dining rooms; it is quite versatile. The architecture of the room has to be right, but matched mirrors are an easy and inexpensive (provided you are not getting antique gilt wood!) way to deal with walls and spaces that are segmented by windows, doors, beds, and fireplaces.  Plus, for a mirror lover like me, two mirrors are always better than one, and provide such a beautiful and dramatic focal point to a room!


  1. That's it I'm going out to look for two matching mirrors today! It's so simple and would really add a feeling of space to the room! I love it...good eye!

  2. Good observation. While not exactly alike, I used two mirrors on either side of our bed in our master bedroom over the large dressers on either side of it. I do really like the look. The pictures that you used here to illustrate your point are gorgeous.

  3. I love those chairs from the House Beautiful spread. Good choices for examples of gorgeous symmetry!

  4. You never fail to disappoint! My grandmother always said you should hang a mirror with a wonderful reflection. What a beautiful room
    Suzanne Kasler designed and what a beautiful reflection in those mirrors!

  5. A pair of mirrors is one of my favorite looks. Great post!! {as always}

  6. Great post! I have a pair of old church windows that have mirrors in them. I have them hanging together in my entry hall. They are one of my favorite purchases ever!

  7. Yes, I really love the look and symetry of flanking mirrors; and what they reflect. A good balance of art & mirrors is so important.

  8. Thank you for the comments, everyone! I have been slowly but surely collecting these images for a while now.

    I agree - a combination and balance of art and mirrors is important. When I first posted this, my last paragraph said that mirrors are a cheaper purchase than art. I rewrote it, because I think that original art is such an essential part of a beautiful home. I never think that mirrors should entirely replace art, but I think they both work well together. I do think it is easier to find mirrors though - finding a piece of art that really speaks to me is so much harder than finding a mirror, perhaps because art is so personal. I am extremely picky about what art I bring into my home!

  9. I was just rereading my John Saladino book (I don't have his new one yet) and as you probably know, he is a big proponent of symmetry. I think it lends an air of relaxation and serenity in a room when things are balanced. Great post!

  10. This is such a great post. My eye is always attracted to symmetry. I attribute my need for it to the fact that I am slightly OCD. :) All of these rooms are beautfiul!

  11. Great post! I saw a very cool sunburst mirror yesterday that I'm now wishing I had bought for a client of mine (at the time I was thinking of me and that I had no place for it, now I'm reading this post and realized I should have bought it).

    It's such a good post to reinforce that mirrors are such a great option to artwork to create balance and symmetry like you've described in your post.

    Your blog truly is inspiring!

  12. i couldn't agree more- i've had a picture of a pair of matched mirrors and wall mounted consoles designed by mariette hines-gomez on my desktop for ages as inspiration.

    sad thing is, there is not a single place in my home to utilize the style- the architecture of my home is asymmetry personified, so much as i LOVE to balance things in pairs and think symmetry in decor is sooo pleasing to the eye, i can't do it for myself. ;-(

  13. I love symmetry or asymmetry.
    Either or work wonders!

  14. Such beautiful pictures. Now I need to go mirror shopping, because I have a serious shortage!

  15. The mirrors were the first thing I noticed in the first image - I haven't seen it before. I love mirrors and have one in almost every room of my home; I hadn't thought about symmetrical mirrors before. It works beautifully in these examples of yours. Great post.

  16. Lovely post. What great examples of symmetry. I want to run out and get two mirrors myself to try it out myself.

  17. I know what you mean about wanting to try it out...after doing this post (despite my self-imposed freeze on buying mirrors) I started to think about the places in my own home where I could put two mirrors! I am a big fan of symmetry, it is really pleasing to my eye.

    I like the mirrors in the room by Ondine Karrady as it shows you can even achieve this effect even with very small mirrors.

  18. LOVE all of these images & great observation!! They really do wonders for the spaces. It's so great to see all of these examples because sometimes I find myself wondering how many mirrors are too many in a room??

    Thanks for the sweet comment too- I know I just need to keep my head up & raelize the right thing will happen. (ps- I TOTALLy was able to justify a higher price (via monthly mortgage calculations) too!! hhaha)

  19. Most of the rooms are stunning, but that top dining room looks cheap with those mixed chairs - the chairs do not coordinate and are too haphazard - gives a flea market effect.

  20. Phoebe's stores are simply remarkable, aren't they?


  22. don't usually go for symmetry but these spaces look great, think it is the mix of other furnishings that make it work, really great!

  23. Mm. Mirrors and and symmetry. Two of our favorite things.

  24. I like so many of "your" rooms...like the turquoise chairs in the dining room. And I love the crisp look of the Benson space. I always want a certain amount of symmetry in my own home as well; it gives balance and a more contemporary/modern and feel to a room.
    Nice post! -susan

  25. I've never noticed the symmetrical mirrors- great post!

  26. I'm such a sucker for symmetry that when I find something that I think would look good in pairs I have to have it! I love balance in a space so I find this post very pleasing... so many beautiful rooms... it's making my symmetry craving go into overdrive... off to re-arrange my mantel.

  27. I was started to get spooked by symmetry overload until this one:

    Louis Phillipe style..."it looks like they are similar in shape and style, but somewhat different."

    I liked the balance rather than perfect symmetry. Neither mirrors, tables, lamps, or table "dressings" were the same. The tables weren't even the same height. That made it more interesting to me. Once I noticed the first difference, I kept looking and looking.

    I appreciate the effort. Harder to balance than to do matching pairs.

  28. I tried to make it over to your blog yesterday... too busy with my "real job"... but I'm glad I made it today to read your symetry post! I have a question for you... in your research for this post did you find any modern, contemporary or transitional rooms that utilized symetrically placed mirrors? I'm curious to know if the use of symetry is something you see in more traditional decors... perhaps it just depends on the mirror used. Hmmm... Curious to know what you think...

    I wanted to thank you for stopping by DesignTies yesterday and commenting on my bathroom remodel! You said in your comment that you don't have vision... and yet your blog is so inspirational... so I don't believe you ;-)

    We really did love this bathroom, especially the kids. I thought seriously of painting the room a pure white, but I couldn't get the vision of a warm brown out of my head... so brown it was! The tall linen tower was a perfect solution for the kids - there were three sections, one for each of them. And they were great = I never, ever saw unnecessary clutter around the sink or in the shower!! Anyway... soon enough I'll have 2 equally nice bathrooms here in our new "old" bungalow!!

    Take care!
    Victoria: EdinDesign Interiors @ DesignTies

  29. What a great post! Excellent powers of observation. I love these rooms but my favourite is the second image - utterly feminine and glamourous in a restrained sort of way. Beautiful!

  30. Anyone know where I could find a replica of that chandelier in the first photo?

  31. Very impresive pictures. What a great post.I don't know which one I like the best.

  32. Thank you for the wonderful comments, everyone! I am enjoying reading them.

    As far as a cheap reproduction chandelier, try www.gallery84.com. They advertise in the back of the design magazines, and have the biggest selection of inexpensive chandeliers that I have ever seen! I bought one, and had to assemble it myself with no instructions, but it was SO inexpensive and looks quite good.

  33. That Gerrie Bremermann room has to be one of my all-time favorites!

    The symmetry in all these rooms is so peaceful and soothing.

  34. Wonderful post - I love dissecting rooms like that, especially one so beautiful!!

  35. I loved this post. Symmetry suits my personality. It has a very calming effect. I must remember to use mirrors in this way more often.
    It is just wonderful to receive your posts via e-mail. I now have a "Things That Inspire" mailbox file. It is like having my own library of inspiration.


  36. I got a set of matching mirrors off ebay a couple of years ago and they have been going from room to room to find their perfect place... Right now they are part of a several-mirror display in my bedroom, but after this post I am considering using them on opposite sides of our dining room armoire. Hmmm.

  37. Fantastic posting and wonderful photos! Yes -- another fan of symmetry here -- there's something so pleasing about pairs that add such steady visual balance to any space. THEN another fantastic single element can be added in the middle (even a doorway!) and the classic trio is formed!

    LOVE your blog!

    Jan at Rosemary Cottage

  38. hi! thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on the tag what's your style post! i love this post. the first dining room is beautiful! i would eat there (although knowing me i would probably also have too much wine there and somehow end up on the table...but that's another post)
    anyway..the southern accents photo was a tear out for my deco-book, i used that same paint color in my own house. beautiful!

  39. Thanks for your comment!! When my profile says over 15,000 hits I know I'll have made it!!

  40. I like seeing mirrors used in interesting and unexpected ways. They add sparkle to a room and are like pieces of art when they reflect beautiful things.

    Kelly @ DesignTies

  41. WOW, THAT ALBERT HADLEY INSPIRED DININGROOM!!I have to find those mirrors, I have searched 1st Dibs, Bond&Bowery, even Vintage Modern Inc. NO LUCK!! ANy suggestions ??I will even settle for a good reproduction of them. Unfortunately they are not listed in the resource section of House Beautiful, April , so the search is on!!!

  42. I am a mirror nut and also a symmetry nut- you displayed the best of both worlds here! What beautiful images

  43. Symetry is gorgeous , it can add something special to a room

  44. Your decoration ideas is really great. Large mirrors are important for your houses decoration. I've just bought a new one from Ballards and it looks great on my enterance hall wall.

  45. This comment has been removed by the author.

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