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!).
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.
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!
[email protected] says
LOVE the stripes!! (love your drama-free comment disclaimer too, I need to use that!)
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?
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…
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?
Jenny @ Words On Wendhurst says
Those mirrors are a great touch. This little baby is going to have the chic-est nursery on the block! We hung a mirror in our master bedroom across from the double windows. Brings in lots of light and is absolutely beautiful, and of course reflects the lovely sky outside. You can see it here http://wordsonwendhurst.blogspot.com/2009/02/its-glamorous-and-romantic.html
Thanks for all the inspiration!
Kim @ Yellow Brick Home says
We just scored an intricate gold, oval mirror from the flea market, and although everyone keeps telling me to keep it gold, this post made me realize I was right – I must paint it white!
Kristin @ Domestic Ease 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!
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!
kasey at thriftylittleblog 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!
[email protected] 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.
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
you made me think of this product (a fake window) I saw on the net sometimes ago:
but I like your solution much better! ;-)
I would of never thought of this! Great job!
white!white!white!white!white! Paint everything WHITE!
The majority of your DIY involves a can of WHITE! spraypaint. Wondering if you will every incorporate some color? Its all getting way to predictable.
We like white, what can we say? And in this case we’ve got blue-gray paint on the walls with yellow, brown, and blue stripes running through it! We also have tons of more saturated hues in our fabrics (see the photo in the post above) and have actually helped John’s sister with another colorful kids room in her house (complete with a desk that we painted bright pink!). So rest assured this nursery will be colorful and fun!
As for our home, we’ve painted a shelf green and even made a punchy headboard for our guest bedroom. And you’ll notice that we don’t have a single white wall in our house (so we use pops of white in the accessories for contrast). But design is definitely subjective and we can’t help what we like. To each his own, right?
I feel like I am on the same wavelength as you guys today. The corkboard makeover made me smile b/c I have some of that same great green and brown fabric that I used to recover one of those ribbon boards and then I just got back home with a mirror from the thrift store that I am going to spray paint white!!! I needed one for our basement bathroom and $4.99 was the perfect price!
Amanda V says
My mistake Sherry-
I really meant to ask if y’all were making the linens yourself from store bought fabric…Gotcha.
Anywho! I saw a cute white cabinet reflected in the mirror with a coordinating chair beside it…any chance these are part of the makeover??
Good eye! That white cabinet is definitely part of our little room makeover so you’ll have to stay tuned to catch a few more glances of it before the big reveal. Next week we have another fun little how-to video up our sleeves involving the very store-bought fabric that you speak of so definitely stay tuned…
Thanks for the tip about the razor for stray bits of paint; I’d been wondering about that and was feeling nervous!
I just painted a gold mirror white, too! It was a free hand-me-down from my mother in law. Looks so much better in a crisp white. …now to figure out a wall color.
Just a silly practical question: You mentioned you got the crib sheet on sale for $7 (great price!) but I was wondering if you picked up 2-3. I found out from experience that it is a good idea to have at least two crib sheets, that way when one is dirty you can put a clean one on right away while it goes in the wash. Or does your SIL have other extra ones she saved from her older kids?
Yup, good call! She snatched up two of them. I never would have known to do that, but she’s a third time momma so she’s on it!
Thanks for all the links, I’ll look at them when I have a chance. I guess all I’m saying is that it would be nice to see some designs that looked a little less… muted. It doesnt look like anyone lives in your house! Dont get me wrong, it all looks very clean and finished, but it lacks something to me. I love color :)
Jill Stigs says
Looks great……….sure can’t wait for the full reveal.
I love your home, it looks lived in, you both are obviously just people who take pride in their spaces and put things where they belong. There is nothing wrong with that. If you ever offer up “boot camp” services on how to keep your house straightened up I would enroll the hubs and kidlet in a heartbeat. I feel like all I do is constantly pick up after them! I have tried a bunch of tricks but nothing seems to work consistently!! LOL
I’m a little too excited for the reveal of this nursery. The linens, the stripes, the mirrors, I love it all, can’t wait to see how it all comes together!
And I sure do love the white. its nice :)
Curious if you guys picked out the fabric first before the paint colors or if you had the colors in mind and just happened to find some fabric that matched? I never know which to do first…pick the paint color or pick my bedspread/window treatment.
We actually drew a lot of our color palette inspiration from that cheap-o Dwell crib sheet that we found at Target. We loved the yellow blue and white tones and really used it as a jumping off point. Of course we picked more understated colors for the walls (a softer greyer blue, a more faded yellow as opposed to a bright one, etc) because Emily wanted a room that could grow with the baby. We also love the layered look over anything too matchy-matchy so we’re super excited about where it’s going so far. Babies are just fun, huh?
this room is making me want to have another baby…whoa!…did i just type that out loud???!!!
Thank you for your always great advice and tips. What is the cleanest and healthiest way to spray paint something if I live in an apartment and don’t have my own yard? Since I’m renting, I especially don’t want paint to get on anything. I would love any advice because I have been wanting to spray paint some Ikea table legs and then going on to other projects. Thank you!
Back when we lived in Manhattan we used to bring everything downstairs and outside and lay out an old sheet and spray paint right on the city sidewalk! Sure it got some sideways glances and we had to stay out with our projects until they were dry enough to bring back in, but it definitely beat getting spay dust everywhere and fainting from the fumes! Hope it helps.
I recently spray-painted an old mirror using this method as well. I thought I applied the tape meticulously. However, when I pulled it off, there is a thin strip of the old gold showing through around the interior rim (closest to the glass). Any ideas on how to touch that up?? I used a black, glossy spray paint. I wouldn’t normally be so picky, but since it’s close to the mirror, the gold strip reflects!!
I love using mirrors to reflect light! We have a pretty dark living room with one large window facing the interior wall. I found two long and narrow mirrors at Ikea for some ridiculously cheap price (can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure they were under $10 each). They are framed in very simple, flat wood so I painted them the same white as the wall and hung both on either side of our media cabinet, facing out the window. They blend right in and bounce a ton of light around the room. Keep up the great work!
I am drooling! What a great, great job!
Erin W says
If mirrors are what you’re looking for, let me tell you Kirkland’s Home stores have the best prices and quality around. I just moved into a new house, and I was in the store this past weekend and could have done it all! They have this bronze finish that matches perfectly to a lot of the hardware in our house. Love their mirror selection.
I’m a sucker for a cute mirror and anything white or gold lol Those mirrors are too cute! What a difference a can of paint makes
Love the mirrors! Question: A mirror specialist told me that you need to paint the inside grove of the frame also since the mirror will reflect it. Did you have any issues with this? Thanks!
Good point! By taping off just the mirror with blue painter’s tape, spray paint can still get into the inside groove since the blue tape starts outside of it. That way everything goes white so there’s not a telltale bronze ring where the frame meets the mirror. Hope it helps!
Mirrors are my FAVORITE trick for this old house with almost no overhead lighting. At least, they’re my favorite trick until we install some overhead lighting!
I’ve actually been seeing a lot of large and inexpensive mirrors at Wal-Mart lately!
Dana Miller says
Man, I wish you guys were in my life when my boys were born!
Oh the baby will LOVE a nice dark room for napping and snoozing. It’s nice that you can just close the door and viola, insta-sleep zone. Time to wake up? Open the door and welcome the outdoors in via mirrors. How cool. Looks great!
Cutting your own hair is never a good idea? Hmm. I’ve been cutting my own for the past nine years, and without any training. :) My dad cuts his own too — and he uses scissors, not clippers!
DIY isn’t just for homes. :)
Congrats R8chel! I’m definitely not coordinated enough to cut my own hair (how on earth do you get the back?!). We definitely agree that DIY is not just for homes, though. I’ve been cutting John’s hair for over four years (and I use scissors and not clippers too!). I’m just too scared to take them to my own head when I can only see 180 degrees of it!
Can I just say that I love, love, love YHL! I stumbled across your blog about a month ago and really, you seriously have me addicted. I am a beginner DIY’er since buying my first home a little over a year ago. I’ve finally passed the scaredy-cat stage of painting with colors other than white (yay). Since this post talked about mirrors, I have a question . . . I want to frame an already hanging mirror with wood – you know the standard “very basic and large” flat mirror in most bathrooms. My dilemma – the mirror is connected to the wall by mirror clips and I’m not sure how to frame around them without removing the mirror from the wall (which I am afraid to do). Any suggustions? Also, would any construction adhesive work to secure the wood frames to the mirror? Any advice you could offer would be appreciatd.
Thanks so much!
Yes, that sounds like a good plan. Ask around at your local home improvement center to see what construction grade adhesive to go with (you might want to tape the frame in place to hold it while the glue dries). Good luck!
i’m a big fan of your blog, and enjoy looking back through the archives for more and more young house love inspiration! we have a windowless landlocked room in the middle of our house, and we are constantly bouncing around ideas about how to deal with this depressing box of a bedroom. our latest idea is a little odd, but seems to be the way we’ll go. i’d love to have your opinion!
we’re planning to cut a wide opening and install sliding glass doors in the wall that connects this bedroom to our breakfast room off the kitchen. the idea is that curtains will be hung, and the room can always function as a bedroom in the future if we need it, but the glass will act as a window, letting in natural light from the windows in the breakfast room, and the doors would open into this bedroom that we currently use as an office/studio. being able to cut through this bedroom would create a better flow in the house as well.
do you think sliding glass doors in an interior room is too weird? how would you and john deal with a windowless landlocked room?
Ooh I would do french doors since they’re usually seen inside of homes (connecting rooms, and providing privacy when frosted or backed with decorative paper). Hope it helps!
Sorry for commenting on a post from a million years ago, but I want to paint the frame of a mirror I have since you have totally inspired me and white framed mirrors look beautiful. But in this post you describe using just white glossy Rustoleum spray paint and in another post, (the one about the mirror in your bathroom that hangs on the window?)you describe using a spray primer and then spray paint (and also just using regular paint all together which is what you did there). Long question short, do I need to spray prime first? And is using no VOC paint so important that its better than spray painting?
Either method can work, so if you’d rather spray paint, go for it! You might want to pick up something with a built in primer for better coverage/hold like Rustoleum Universal in white. Good luck!