Putting Up Mirror Tiles
Mirrors can create an illusion of extra space, and lining an alcove or even an entire wall can transform the look of a room.
They are also very easy to install.
Mirrors have an obvious practical function but as well as this they can be used for purely decorative purposes. A wall lined with mirrors can bring a special magic to a room, making it lighter and more airy. Besides this, it creates an illusion of extra space, so that while you well know there’s a wall there you feel there’s something beyond. Mirrors add a touch of glamour and, quite apart from the inbuilt fascination they seem to inspire, the surface is as interesting and mobile as the scene it reflects. You can use them to decorate smaller areas as well, for example behind a set of shelves to set off a display area.
The problem with ordinary mirrors is that they are expensive and larger ones can be awkward to hang. For a large area like a wall you may decide to opt instead for mirror tiles, small mirrors which, when stuck down side by side, combine to produce a larger mirror, in fact as large a mirror as you like. They will not give the same quality image as sheet glass mirrors as the reflection will be broken up into squares, but they can perform the same decorative functions. As well as using them to line a wall or alcove you can use them to give an added dimension to other surfaces, too, such as cupboard doors, room doors, not to mention ceilings. Mirror tiles are extremely durable and also easy to look after. Though not as expensive as sheet glass mirrors, they are something of a luxury, generally costing a little more than good-quality ceramic tiles. But properly applied, they will last for years and when you bear in mind what they can do for your home, can represent real value for money.
Although you may come across mirror tiles carrying applied designs of one sort or another, the majority are left plain, and considering how long the tiles are likely to be around, it’s probably best that way; you can get awfully tired of patterned tiles after a few years. If you do want something that bit special, consider using bronzed or smoked glass tiles, rather than the normal silvered variety. They cost a little more and aren’t as widely available and you’ll have less choice when it comes to size, but they are very useful if you want to create a slightly subdued atmosphere, or if you feel that ordinary mirrors would make the room too ‘bright’ for comfort.
The other choice you will have to make concerns size. Most suppliers can offer tiles 108, 150, 225 and 300mm (4-1/4, 6, 9 and 12in) square, with perhaps the addition of oblong tiles 300 x 150mm (12 x 6in). However, if you are prepared to order the tiles specially, larger sizes are available: up to 610mm (24in) in oblongs. Shaped tiles, mainly circles, semicircles and quadrants, are also available but you will really have to hunt round for them. You are more likely to find them part of a big mirror from mirror tiles’ kit, they are rarely sold on their own.
Sheet glass mirrors are available smoked or otherwise coloured, or with patterns etched on them, and come in a very wide varied sizes and shapes.
Working out quantities
With sheet glass mirrors, you will have to measure up the surface to be covered and then buy a mirror, or mirrors, of an appropriate size. With tiles, the simplest way to work out how many you will need is to measure the length and height of the surface to be covered, divide each dimension by the length or height of the tiles (whichever is appropriate) then, having rounded the results up to the nearest whole number, multiply them together to obtain an estimate of the total number of tiles.
A more accurate method, and considering the cost of mirror tiles the more accurate you can be the better, is to make a scale drawing of the wall or whatever else is to be tiled on graph paper; then you can work out the setting of the tiles and draw in the position of each individual tile. You can then count the tiles up, counting each tile as a whole tile. Finally, add on a few extra to allow for any mistakes or accidents which may occur when you’re installing them.