PEOPLE first saw their reflections in pools of water, streams and rivers. The earliest man-made mirrors were from polished stone made from black volcanic glass and date as far back as 6000 BC.

Today of course, mirrors, or as the Victorians called them, looking glasses, are far more than an instrument to gaze at oneself. Over the years, through trial and error, I've learnt a thing or two about mirrors and the effect they can have on a space and furniture design.

The first rule to know when hanging a mirror is that it will reflect - in fact double - whatever it is hung in front of. To give you an idea, there was a reason why candles and candle sconces were placed in front of mirrors - they doubled the light effect of a candle.

Place a vase of flowers close to a mirror. Hey presto! Your vase of blooms is doubled. The reverse applies, so I suggest you don't place anything ugly in front of a mirror.

Another design element is the light that mirrors can bring into a space. For instance, in a dimly lit bedroom, position a large mirrored door wardrobe wisely in front of the nearest light source, like a hallway or window, to bounce light into an otherwise dark room.

Mirroring is also increasingly popular as a design effect for furniture, especially mirrored knobs. These tiny design finishes can add instant glamour and light to even a plain, simple piece of furniture. And there are now experts who can instantly "distress'' your mirrors, creating a wonderful antique look.

There's a reason why the Palace of Versailles was known as the Sun King's palace - the famous Hall of Mirrors is the central gallery of the palace.

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