Nothing increases the appearance of size in your home like a big mirror.

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Q: We’re looking for an effective and inexpensive way to add some liveliness to our bare, boring walls. Any suggestions?

A: Nothing increases the appearance of size in your home like a big mirror. Large or small, mirrors effectively double light and volume, increase brightness and give us a pleasant sense of openness.

In powder rooms or any bathroom that I wish to make feel bigger, I like to run the mirror from the backsplash all the way up to the ceiling. The larger the mirror, the bigger the impact. In bathrooms, mirrors provide both function and ambiance. Mirrors project a perfect image, magically and brilliantly reflecting the scenes around them.

But don’t make the mistake of limiting mirrors to your bathrooms. Mirrors can be used to create the illusion that there is another room adjoining the one you are occupying. As Lewis Carroll observed, mirrors are like a picture into a whole new world, opening up all kinds of possibilities. Placing a mirror is like placing a window: wherever we do, suddenly we are given an interesting new view of our world.

To put it another way, a mirror is also like a living painting that reflects a changing picture to viewers every time they move. Always consider the view a mirror will be reflecting — some views are great to accentuate; others, well, not so much.

We recently added a mirror to our dining room where we had also hung a colorful piece of Italian artwork. Below the art, we splashed more color using silk flowers and glass décor resting on a buffet serving table. However, this brilliant scene was only visible after entering the room. Once we added the mirror across from our scenic décor, the colors were carried back through the entrance, enabling us to enjoy it from our home’s entry and living room.

And talk about a lasting impression! It is said that breaking a mirror means seven years of bad luck — otherwise, mirrors never wear out, if they are properly prepared.

Mirrors are made by applying a thin layer of silver to glass. Yes, that’s real silver — and silver tarnishes easily when exposed to oxygen. Installation is important. Always choose professionals who specialize in this product.

The mirror should be sealed after it is cut to fit your home, and then well-secured for safety and so that the highly reactive silver is well-protected from contact with other metals. A properly sealed edge and installation will help keep your mirror looking great indefinitely.

Other good places for a mirror? Aside from adding a decorative-window effect to your home, mirrors are great for your workout room or at a stair landing. And a full-length mirror at your closet is very helpful for providing a full picture of how you look. The same is true of hanging one at the entry for a last look before you leave.

Dollar for dollar, nothing punctuates and adds pizzazz quite like adding a plate-glass mirror to a room. Mirrors sparkle and brighten by adding dimension and multiplying the surrounding features. Bright, brilliant, room-expanding and easy to maintain, mirrors are a great way to add something special to your home.

Kevin and Terri Kartak own AAA Kartak Glass & Closet and are members of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of the MBA’s more than 3,000 members, write to