Where to hang dining room mirrors – learn from the experts!


Ornate gilded mirror

Dining rooms are making a comeback as intelligent homeowners appreciate the benefits of having a formal family meeting place that encourages conversation, promotes good manners and removes children from the influences of social media. Mirrors are an important component of your home but how do you decide where to place dining room mirrors for the best effect?

Etched glass at Govinda's Restauran...
Etched glass at Govinda's Restaurant, Tucson

Dining room mirrors are best used to widen a narrow space, reflect light from windows, and emphasize attractive elements like chandeliers and artwork. The best places to hang wall mirrors are: centered over furniture like buffets and sideboards and either along the side or at the head of the dining table.

Are you irritated by the numerous mirror design sites that endlessly recycle all the old boring suggestions – making a room wider, brightening a dark space?

Here, at last, is a simple and organized summary of exactly how to use mirrors in the dining room.

The decline of the traditional dining room can be traced back to the great Frank Lloyd Wright with his revolutionary open-plan, Usonian homes of the 1950s. However, the amalgamation of kitchen, dining room, and living room into a so-called great room really gained momentum in the 1990s. Since then, the traditional single room devoted to dining has been a relict of a former era.

Although seldom constructed these days, individual dining rooms are still an important part of most traditional homes: this post explains how wall mirrors can enhance your dining experience.

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The two best places to hang dining room mirrors

For traditional dining rooms, the two best positions for wall mirrors are either opposite the sides of the table (see “sideboard” or “buffet” mirrors below) or at the head of the table (called fireplace mirror below).

Recommended positions of mrrors in a dining room
Plan showing optimum positions of dining room mirrors

Examples of mirrors in a formal dining room

Formal dining room with mirror
Formal dining room with mirror opposite the side of table
Formal dining room with mirror over the fireplace
Formal dining room with a mirror at the head of the table

In this elegant throwback to a more gracious age, mirrors help to enhance the formal dining experience. A gilded gesso mirror is centered over the Sheraton-style buffet opposite the length of the table (at left). As an alternative, the head of the table is spotlighted by a landscape rectangle centered over the fireplace.

Designer Tip #1

For a formal dining room indulge yourself with a gilded and beveled mirror like this superb Howard Elliott Talida 38″ * 27″ example available on Amazon.

Designer Tip #2: experiment to see which location gives the best reflection and extra view of the candelabra-style chandelier.

Designer Tip #3: always consider the extra elegance of beveled mirrors in traditional dining rooms.


Examples of contemporary dining room mirrors

Open-plan homes with great rooms offer more flexibility in mirror locations but facing the long side of the dining table is still often the best option as in these two examples:

Wall mirror in modern dining room
Contemporary open-plan dining room with a mirror reflecting light from exterior windows (right)
Modern rectangular mirror at side of dining table
Contemporary dining room featuring a large mirror centered over the buffet

Contemporary interiors look best with minimalistic, narrow metal frames rather than elaborate gilded creations. Do not be afraid of asymmetric placement (above left) but wherever possible use the rules of placement to center your mirror over the furniture (above right).

Two mirrors on a blue wall
Bold blue wall with two square mirrors

Do not be afraid of asymmetry

Contemporary dining areas sometimes look best with an uneven arrangement of wall mirrors. To test your options before hammering nails in the wall, use cardboard templates taped to the wall.

Why should you hang wall mirrors in your dining room?

Dining room walls are obviously great places for artwork and photographs – these can create family interest and promote the tradition of eating together. So why choose to hang a mirror in your dining room?

Mirrors play an important role in interior design. In dining rooms, here are five key reasons to use mirrors.

Widen a narrow room

Large wall mirror is opposite window

Large mirror opposite window

This oversized wall mirror checks all the important design boxes: it reflects light from the exterior windows, shows off a signature chandelier, AND makes this narrow dining room look wider.

Insider tips from a glass professional

If in doubt – GO LARGE

For room-widening or illumination have the courage to use a large mirror (lean it against the wall for heroic effect if necessary). Contact Artistry in Glass for great advice on how to save on mirrors.

Hamilton Hills Gold Baroque Mirror

We like the traditional opulence of this beautiful and affordable 28″ x 42 1/4″ gold, baroque-topped framed wall mirror available from Amazon.

Lighten your dining room

If your dining room table is adjacent to an exterior window: take advantage by reflecting the light and the scenery (Sydney Opera House, Hanging Gardens of Babylon) in a large wall mirror,

Light from windows
A mirror amplifies the light from an external window.
Mirror with chandelier
Large rectangular mirror in modern dining area reflects exterior light

Bringing in natural light is the function of exterior windows and this light is amplified by skillfully located mirrors. If the view is pleasing the reflection serves a dual purpose.

Reflect a chandelier

Always remember the view when locating your mirror. Do not reflect untidiness or clutter.

Chandelier is reflected in dining room
A primary function of a dining room mirror is to reflect attractive objects – especially your prized chandelier
Mirror with chandelier
A primary function of a dining room mirror is to reflect attractive objects – especially your prized chandelier
Pier mirror is between two exterior windows
Pier mirror between two exterior windows reflects a candelabra

Signature chandeliers and prized artworks are prime candidates for mirror reflection. Search for objects of beauty in your home and double their impact using the laws of optics.

Add style with decorative framed mirrors

Create excitement with an appropriately styled wall mirror.

Ornate gilded mirror
A small formal dining room is embellished with a gilded rectangular mirror.
Round mirror over modern dining table
A contemporary dining room with a round mirror

Notice how the style of the mirror frame harmonizes with the room décor: traditional style looks best with a gilded rectangular frame whereas a contemporary dinner table benefits from a circular mirror with a minimalistic metal frame.

We hope you love the products we recommend! Just so you know, Artistry in Glass may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page

We like this selection of wall mirrors available from Pier 1 Imports


Sometimes the head of the table is the best position for a signature wall mirror.

Formal dining room with mirror over the fireplace
Formal dining room with mirror over the fireplace

A simple rectangular mirror is centered over the fireplace. The unusual height helps to reflect a view of the chandelier.

Modern round mirror at the head of dining table
Contemporary dining room with round mirror

A round mirror, centered over the side table, suits the décor of this modern dining room and reflects a table centerpiece.

Do you have a narcissistic spouse or head of the family? This “head of table” mirror arrangement may reinforce their self-esteem!

Safety warning glass is dangerous!

Take great care when hanging mirrors – a broken mirror can be dangerous. Follow this post to learn all you need to know about hanging wall mirrors.


Principles of mirror positioning

You have decided to hang mirrors in your dining room. Now, how do you figure out the size of the mirror and the best height to hang it?

Although mirror placement is an art rather than a science, there are commonly accepted aesthetic principles that help make your mirrors look good. These include the placement of mirrors over furniture and fireplaces and the height of the mirror above the floor.

Hanging your wall mirrors above furniture

An important principle of mirror placement is to center your wall mirror above a piece of furniture (or the fireplace) using the following recommended size guide:

Optimum mirror width is between 2/3 and 3/4
The size of the mirror should be proportional to the furniture underneath it

Learn how to size and position your wall mirrors in this comprehensive guide.


What’s the best height for your dining room mirror?

5 foot rule for mirror height
Position your wall mirrors at approximate eye-level

The optimum height of your wall mirror is somewhat subjective – depending on the height of your wall and the height of your family members. However, a very good general rule is to position the center of your wall mirror at around eye level or 5 feet above the floor. Study this informative post for a full explanation.


The future of the formal dining room

Although the self-contained dining room is now a thing of the past having been superseded by the open-plan, great-room concept, many smart parents are rediscovering the value of formal family meals around a communal table.

Studies show that families that eat together are more successful. Children are less likely to succumb to substance or alcohol abuse, their grades improve together with their conversational skills. Smart parents cherish the special family moments created around the holiday dinner table for Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays, and other events.

Making your dining room especially attractive with the use of mirrors is an incentive to nurture the traditions of family life.

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John

I was an exploration geologist and University Professor working in Botswana, Zambia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, Portugal, and other countries before opening Artistry in Glass in 1986. In my more than 35 years of experience, I have brought my technical abilities as a scientist to the trade of glasswork. During this time I have become an industry expert in glass and glass-related skills. Watch out for special insider tips developed from my detailed knowledge of the glass business.

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