Decorating with Antique Mirrors

Interior designer Phoebe Howard discusses her stunning antique mirror with Antiques Roadshow appraiser Stuart Whitehurst. Plus, the designer shares a few of her favorite ways to decorate with antique mirrors.


-When you brought us over to a nice corner of your dining room. I was particularly drawn to this mirror. What made you put it here? -I think this piece has such a timeless quality. It's such a classic. This is a very traditional setting, but I could see this in a stark white New York apartment with modern art and it will be just your focal point. I think it's just stunning, timeless, and a perfect example of making an investment that will stay with you throughout the terms of decorating. -I almost look at it as a form of sculpture. When you look at the eagle, the eagle is very sculptural. The canvass leaves are very sculptural, and the whole frame is put together in such a bold, three dimensional way. -I think it'd be beautiful over a mantel in any sort of a living room setting. It's a great size for that. But I think a mirror in the dining room is wonderful to add a little sparkle. You know they were originally used for illumination, just put candles in front of it and still create that old fashioned sparkly [unk]. -The illumination you bring up is a really interesting point. And as we look at this particular mirror, for antiques people like myself, we want it to be original, but the mirror plate on this is losing some silvering. Does that make any difference to you? -I say no, unless you're using it in a powder bath or in the bathroom where you need to see yourself. If it's in a living room or a bedroom or dining room, absolutely not. Don't touch those. -That's a really interesting point, because here we don't need illumination anymore and it's here just to look pretty. -So what would you say is the value of a piece like this? -Well, it's a really nice mirror, and I would expect in a retail environment, you would be looking at around $15,000. -Wow! We certainly didn't pay that for. That just proves that antiques can be something that not only you can love and live with, but they can be a good investment as well. -That doesn't happen with all of them, but if you live with it, what difference does it make? -We've had it in our house for 25 years. It's brought us all kinds of joy and pleasure, and now to find out that it's worth more than you paid for? What else do you want? -You are way ahead of the game.
Experience our exclusive vacation collection.