No matter how you move the furniture, there’s always this problem: that gigantic space above the sofa. So you hunt and hunt for a five-by-three foot piece of art or a super-sized mirror that’ll fit the bill. Something large enough not to get swallowed up in the white (or green, or yellow…) space atop your family’s favorite gathering spot. But also a piece that doesn’t cost you the same as four weeks of your kids’ camp tuition! And do you find it?
Chances are you don’t. But there is an inexpensive way to find a great piece of art for above the sofa—do it yourself! While a large mirror can run upwards of $200, you can fill the same square footage for about $30 by mounting multiple mirrors.
The idea is to use small mirrors (less than 6-inch square mirrors work best) in a grid pattern that, once hung, will look like one large art installation. Because you’re buying lots of small mirrors rather than one large one, you can save a bundle. (It’s the same theory that applies to diamonds—a three carat diamond will set you way back; lots of little diamonds that add up to three carats: more manageable.) Depending on the size of the space you have to fill you’ll need about 30 mirrors.
The best place to find small mirrors is your local dollar store; many of these chains routinely stock a few varieties of little mirrors in large numbers. And for only $1 each! Check out national dollar-store chains like Dollar Tree, Dollar General and Family Dollar or similar regional shops. The dollar store is a here-today-gone-tomorrow kind of place, so don’t bet that your find will be there on your next trip. Take them home today, plus a few extra in case of breakage.
To hang the mirrors, first measure the space you want to fill. Take the length of the couch and record this. Then choose how far above the couch you want the first mirrors to hang, and how high you want them to go and measure that height. Next measure your mirrors precisely.
Now it’s time for some math. To figure out your mirror positioning, multiply the number of mirrors you would like to use horizontally by the width of the mirror. So if you want to place 10 mirrors across, each of which is five inches, you’ll need 50 inches. Subtract this from the total length of the space you’re filling. So if your sofa is 60 inches long you would have 10 inches leftover to use as spacing. Next, divide this amount by the number of spaces you will have. This is not the number of mirrors you have, since there isn’t space to the left of your starting mirror, or the right of your ending mirror. So for ten mirrors you will have eight spaces. Divide the total space by eight, and that is your spacing number—the exact amount you want between each mirror. Calculate the same for the vertical space you are trying to fill, to find the amount of space you want above and below each mirror.
To start hanging, create a frame, and then work in. So you’ll hang the bottom and top rows, then the far left and far right columns. Keep your tape measure handy so that your distance between the mirrors is correct, and a level on hand to be sure each mirror is hung straight. Then stand back and take in your work—perfection! And all for about $30!
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