Clear thoughts about glass and mirrors

The tiered dress in this Jacobs + Interiors design project highlights the versatility of glass.
Dominique Taylor Photography/

Colour, reflection and a sense of spaciousness: these are just a few ways mirrors and glass brighten up your home.

NanaWalls and floor-to-ceiling windows are the most obvious ways to incorporate glass, but there are plenty of other ways to add a sense of light, reflection, and expansion to your home through glass and mirrors.

Glass balustrades on balconies and terraces open up the views and add an airy aesthetic. Kasia Karska, owner of Kasia Karska Design, said that installing glass railings on the inside of homes also maintains a clean, modern look.

“Glass balustrades are really growing in popularity because there are no-holds-barred views,” said John Warnock, owner of Highlands Glass & Shower in Eagle. “In Denver, in new buildings, you’re likely to see glass railings.”

“The nice thing about clear glass is that it creates atmosphere in a room, but doesn’t hide what’s behind it.” John Warnock, Hylands Glass & Shower

Decorative glass can add style and dimension to homes. Yvonne Jacobs, lead interior designer for Jacobs + Interiors, likes to put textured glass, such as smoked or cracked glass, in backsplashes in bar areas and mix glass tiles with real stone in bathrooms. Glass shelves and mirrors are common in pubs, Warnock said, adding that antique mirror reproductions — or antiques themselves — are trending in the valley.

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“Glass always has a beautiful transparent quality,” Jacobs said.

Most of Highland Glass & Shower’s business includes mirrors and glass in bathrooms, including shower enclosures, which are nearly always frameless these days. The company ensures homeowners receive high-quality glass and mirrors, which is more important than one might think.

For example, plain clear glass in a white marble or ultra-white bathroom will cast a greenish tint to the room. To avoid this, Highland Glass & Shower uses low-iron glass, which results in a clean, crisp look. There’s no industry standard for “clear” glass, which varies greatly between batches and manufacturers, so Warnock relies on Starphire, a company that makes glass that’s 87% less green than other “clear” glass, so your bathroom’s true colors shine through.

Clear glass adds a spacious look and feel to bathrooms and other rooms by expanding the view; With opaque glass, the room appears to “stop” at the glass, while translucency allows decorative shower tiles to shine through floor plans or open to extend from staircases with glass balustrades or areas with space dividers.

“The nice thing about clear glass is that it creates atmosphere in a room, but it doesn’t hide what’s behind it,” Warnock said.

Clear glass allows the colors and textures of what’s behind to be seen, as seen in the Highlands Glass and Shower project.
Image courtesy, Highlands Glass and Shower


Long sheets of mirror in wet bars and bathrooms make rooms appear larger, but it’s important to buy high-quality mirrors to avoid distortion. Warnock always uses at least 1/4 inch sheet and framed mirrors.

“The thinner the mirror, the more distorted the image becomes,” he said. “The mirror is positioned along the perimeter of the wall, so if the mirror isn’t thick enough, it can make you look fatter, or really thin.”

In addition to bathrooms and bars, mirrors become practical elements in entryways, mudrooms, and bedrooms. Jacobs likes to place mirrors at the end of a long hallway or in smaller rooms to open them up.

“A properly placed mirror can be a great home feeling,” Jacobs said, adding that she loves mixing mirrors with artwork. ‘We like to put mirrors in areas that will get a big reflection when needed – a small room can benefit from a mirror to help create space that isn’t there. I also like to put a mirror where candlelight or a flickering fire is reflecting off. Also placing mirrors next to a window that has a view Brilliant is really interesting.”

Mirrors, like glass, add a sense of openness and a sense of cleanliness and modernity, Karska said.

A mirror is often used as a Feng Shui cure, accessory, and decorative object. According to the principles of Feng Shui, the northern and eastern parts of the house correspond to abundance and money; Water may be the primary ingredient to incorporate, but if that’s not possible, mirrors can be used as a substitute, she says.

Other ways of lighting

Glass is a work of art in itself. From modern designs of blown horns in glass to glass sculptures that blend crushed glass and sand into art pieces—as found in the Reitman Art Galleries—glass art offers unique pieces that change according to ambient light.

“Glass artists are doing some amazing pieces right now,” Jacobs said. “This is a great way to add color to a room and display an appreciated piece of art.”

Karska also likes to incorporate crystals into homes, in the form of crystal balls, bowls, geodes, and sculptures.

“They add a little bit of magic to the space,” she said, noting that Simon Pearce is her favorite glass artist.

The functions and artistic elements that glass and mirrors bring to homes are only limited by imagination. Its incorporation can be as functional as outdoor tables made of tempered glass or inch plate glass protecting interior coffee tables and desks or as artistic as antique mirrors or glass sculptures. So go ahead: add a little sparkle.

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