The glorious spring sunshine is sparkling prettily outdoors, but don’t despair if you are stuck inside. The design team knows a fabulous way to bring the bright cheerful presence of sunshine into your home.

We just love to use mirrors to add light and sparkle. But think beyond the usual — mirrors can be used effectively and to lovely effect in many imaginative and unexpected ways.

For example, do you have a dark basement or other space with few windows? You can add “virtual” windows by positioning mirrors opposite your existing windows. And you can increase the amount of light directed into a room by finishing the windowsill and perhaps the side of interior window frames in mirror.

To visually expand space, think about mounting two full-length mirrors on either side of a fireplace — it actually makes the room look as if it continues beyond the fireplace.

Or use a row of long, tall mirrors spaced across a wall for contemporary flair. An oversized mirror in a frame, tilted against a wall in a bedroom or sitting area can add drama and elegance.

A small kitchen can benefit from a mirrored backsplash. You can add interest in a small bathroom by layering two mirrored layers—a framed mirror over a mirrored wall, for example. In a child’s room, you may use a collection of mirrors cut into pieces that reflect a theme, such as a collection of block shapes or stars and moons.

And mirrored furniture, besides being beautiful on its own, can also bring in light and expand space in any room of the house.

But there is one very important thing to remember about a mirror — it will reflect whatever is in front of it.

So don’t commit a design crime by placing a mirror in a place where it reflects a messy closet, a bathroom door, or something equally uninspiring. If you have a beautiful garden outdoors, or a woodsy backyard, cut flowers, or a work of art, reflect that lovely picture instead.

And if you put a mirror on a window sill or frame, make sure it reflects sky, or flowers or plants, for example. Do not use it to reflect a sidewalk, a utility pole, or the back side of an air conditioner. Be prepared to tilt the mirrored finish to reflect an attractive view.

Finally, avoid the dust and grime design crime. The wonderful reflective properties of mirror means that it will also reflect dirt — remember to dust or polish regularly.

To take full advantage of all the benefits of mirrors in your home, also consider the effect of putting mirror into the back of a china cabinet or using a mirrored display shelf to reflect your lovely things. Use a mirrored “place mat” to reflect a beautiful centerpiece on a table, or a gleaming china and crystal place setting. If you have a table with a damaged top, consider adding a mirrored surface. It addition to hiding the damaged tabletop, it will reflect warm lamplight or flickering candlelight. Very romantic!

Aside from the reflective benefits of mirror, it is also very practical — we’ve seen mirror placed on the back or above a deep pantry shelf — a godsend for those who are sick of digging through their canned goods in search of an elusive ingredient.

And as for gazing at yourself (another practical use for the mirror) consider bronze mirrors — they make people look healthier, younger, and ready to head out with confidence and optimism into that spring sunshine.

Tammy Schnurr and Jeffrey Fisher are hosts of Arresting Design on W Network. Tammy is an interior decorator. Jeffrey designs home furnishings and bedding through his company Jeffrey Fisher Home.

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