Painting & Hanging Two Mirrors To Act As Windows

We’re back with another John’s-sister’s-nursery update as promised. After we shared the play by play on our fun wall striping project…

…and even revealed our little collection of fabrics…

… it was time to deal with the most challenging aspect of the room. Zero windows. Yes that’s right. Not a one. Emily’s modern new construction was designed so that this interior room met all the fire-safety codes since it was connected by a sliding barn door (on a cool industrial track) to her older son’s room (which has a giant 5′ x 5′ window) and is also accessible from the hallway by a traditional hinged door. But talk about a decorating doozie! So the name of the game was to get some light bouncing around the room stat. And to make things feel more open and spacious in the same way that rooms with a view often do. It ended up being as simple as adding two large, painted, and strategically placed mirrors. Easy peasy.

We snagged these giant bronze-framed mirrors at TJ Maxx for just $19 each (cheaper than all of the Craigslist or thrift store versions we hunted down first!). We purchased them knowing full well that they’d benefit from  some crisp white paint once we got them back to Emily’s house, but boy was the price right.

Then it was as simple as laying out a plastic drop-cloth in the yard, taping off the mirrors and applying three thin and even coats of glossy white Rustoleum spray paint. A great trick for removing any rogue spray paint that somehow manages to seep through and get on the mirror is to wait for it to dry and use a straight razor to shave it right off for a clean and finished look.

Little bonus tip: attempting to spray paint indoors is like attempting to cut your own hair- never a good idea. The spray dust will coat every single surface within a 20 foot radius- plus outside ventilation will keep you from getting woozy enough to attempt a little Posh Spice bob with the kitchen scissors afterwards. Double bonus.

And voila! Two crisp and fresh mirrors that reflect the outside world now that they’re hanging next to each other across from the window in the adjoined bedroom (when the barn door that connects the rooms is open they actually reflect sky and trees!). It’s like we installed two windows for $19 a pop and a few dollars worth of spray paint. And even when the sliding barn door is shut so they no longer reflect the leafy backyard beyond, they still bounce around so much light that the room feels larger, brighter, and lovelier in general. But we can’t share a wide shot just yet because it’ll reveal some of the other projects we have in the works. So we hope that this sneak peek of the glossy new mirrors will tide you over until we can reveal more of the room…

So that’s our under $45 windowless-room fix that only took us a few hours from soup to nuts (well, shopping to hanging). But we’re not done with that wall yet. We actually have a few finishing touches that we’ll be bringing in under each mirror to add a whole lotta function and form so don’t go anywhere. Oh and while we’re on the subject of mirrors, fill us in on how you’ve used mirrors to brighten and expand the rooms in your home. Any tricks or tried & true mirror uses that keep your house looking ooh la la? Do tell. And be sure to check out this old mirrors 101 post from back in the day (because mirrors can actually do more harm than good if they’re placed in the wrong spot!).


  1. Kim S says

    Hi Sherry, quick question…I’m wondering how hard it is to tape off the mirrors so that no spray paint gets on the mirror itself. I haven’t had much luck with spray paint in the past, it always ends up all over EVERYTHING and all drippy, and I’m reluctant to try on a frame that I can’t take the glass out of the middle.

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Kim,

      We forgot to mention our favorite mirror trick! You can use a straight razor to scrape off any paint that sneaks onto the mirror while it’s taped off. We had a few corners to clean up after we removed the tape so we waited for the spray paint to dry and just used a flat razor to scrape it right off without damaging the mirror at all. This also works for glass so if you’re painting a window frame or a glass door it’s always a good trick to have up your sleeve. Hope it helps!


  2. JJM says

    Sorry, as an engineer, I have to ask… how can a bedroom meet building codes if there are no windows? Is the sliding door going to always be open?

    • YoungHouseLove says

      JJM- Our sister in law is a stickler for safety- she even teaches a fire safety class! We don’t specifically know the details of her house-building process but we do know that she was super involved with the engineer to create a room that meets every single fire and safety code here in the state of Virginia (it’s adjoined to two spaces with large windows which we assume is part of the solution). Hope it helps!

      Amanda- Don’t you know us at all? We’re too cheap to have those baby linens custom made. We did snag some on-sale fabric from a local fabric store (and we scored that elephant crib sheet for $7 on sale at Target) but we’re all about DIYing things so this baby can have it all (without Emily having to spend it all!). Stay tuned for more details coming soon…


  3. Amanda Vrahiotes says


    Using mirrors has been a favorite decor of mine. And finding random mirrors with fabulous framing is even better. I have about 8-10 mirrors around the house and a few stored away for a quick switcheroo! I have found that finding cheap frames at yard sales and auctions has really kept my mirror budget in check. Once I find one, I’ll head to one Michaels or AC Moore (or JoAnns) and score a mirror at 40% off (coupon in hand!). About 60% of the time I can find one that fits. If I get really courageous, I’ll enlist Lowes or Home Depot to cut a mirror for me to fit. Love the white frames too!! Can’t wait to see the finished product! Did John’s sister purchase the linens are is she having them customed made?

  4. says

    Love the room!! Just realized we used the same paint (polished limestone) in our living/dining combo–LOVE the color!!

    I am so glad to see the gloss spray look so good! One question–I kicked around the idea of buying some gaudy animal figurines and coating them with a clean coat of gloss spray paint–have you tried this? Do you think it will work? It may be the cheapest way for me to get the look of your animal figures that I love! Just wondering!


    • says

      Hey Kristin,

      Hmm, good question! It’s definitely worth a try. My only suggestion is if the paint doesn’t stick well on such a slick surface, some spray primer as the first coat would probably solve the problem. Happy spraying!


  5. says

    Windowless rooms are tricky! I’m currently dealing with two bathrooms that feel like caves. I have giant mirrors that help out a lot, but we just might go for a skylight. I’m sure that the baby’s room won’t miss them by the time you’re through!

  6. says

    It’s amazing what a little spray paint can do! My local Homegoods had an amazing selection of mirrors this past weekend but I didn’t have an immediate need for them. I’m kind of regretting not picking up two or three small ones with unique frames and finding a place for them.

  7. jessica says

    First of all, love love love the stripes! But I was wondering about using regular indoor paint (leftover from another project) on a mirror that I have. Would that work, or should I stick with the spray paint? Thanks in advance!

    • YoungHouseLove says

      Hey Jessica,

      Definitely make use of that leftover paint! If you have any primer around it wouldn’t hurt to slap a coat of that on first since wall paint tends to stick a bit less thoroughly than spray paint for small project like these. But even if you don’t have any, two thin and even coats of paint applied with a brush should work just fine. Since no one places drinks on mirrors or walks on them, the coverage doesn’t have to be as durable so the odds are in your favor! Hope it helps!


  8. Erica says

    I’ve recently stumbled across your blog in the last few weeks, and I absolutely love it! It has been such an awesome resource for my boyfriend and I while we attempt to make our first house a home. Thanks!

    How long did you wait between each coat of paint before applying the next? Is a spray primer necessary? I am actually doing the same type of project today and this is a huge help!

    • says

      Hey Erica,

      If the surface of your mirror frame is super glossy, spray primer will definitely help. Ours were matte so they took the spray paint perfectly without any. Spray paint is pretty quick to dry so only about 30 mins or so between each coat should be plenty. Hope it helps!


  9. says

    I got impatient the other day when it was windy out but I wanted to spray paint a piece of glass I’m turning into a magnetic chalkboard. So I took it down to the basement and sure enough, we had fumes throughout the house in no time, uggh. I’ve learned my lesson, on windy days i’m using the garage from now on!

  10. Rachael says

    Hi Guys!
    Great work with these mirrors – y’all always inspire me to want to whip out the spray paint!

    My husband and I don’t have much budget for decorating our first little apartment, so we purchased a cheapie full-length dressing mirror with a decorative black frame at walmart for $15 bucks and hung it horizontally over our bed in lieu of a headboard. We’re about to try our hand at an upholstered headboard, but I suspect we’ll be hanging that mirror over our dresser!

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