Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

Top 10 Must-have Home Accessories


1
Mirrors
Mirrors may not always flatter the figure, but they can accentuate a room nicely.
Mirrors may not always flatter the figure, but they can accentuate a room nicely.
Jonathan Kantor Studios/Digital Vision/Getty Images

­For the ultimate in accessories, try adding mirrors to your home décor. Though we look into our mirrors many times throughout the day, rarely do we see the magic that is contained in these devices. Mirrors can serve many purposes, from helping us to fix our appearance to delighting a young child who catches a glimpse of his reflection. Mirrors also are an affordable, effective way to make your home look more spacious. How? Floor-to-ceiling mirrors, like those found on many closet doors, can instantly make a room look twice as big. A mirror placed across from a window will bring more natural light into your home, making it appear more spacious. Small mirrors placed in dark or small corners can draw light to the area and brighten it up.

Beyond these practical uses, mirrors are simply beautiful decorating items and come in many shapes and sizes. A large framed mirror can be hung like a painting, making it a centerpiece in a room. Even small hand mirrors, typically silver, can act as complementary accessories to your décor.

The earliest incarnations date back to the 1st century A.D. and were made of pieces of silver or bronze that were highly polished. Hand mirrors, and later full-body mirrors became popular in the Middle Ages, though it wasn't until the time of the Renaissance that anyone thought to add glass to improve the reflective images. This improvement was added by the Venetians, who were renowned for their glasswork. Their mirrors became popular throughout Europe because of the superior reflective quality they offered [source: Blackburn].

As mirror-making techniques improved, they became cheaper to produce. By the 19th century, they were found in most households throughout the western world. Today you'd be hard-pressed to find a home without some kind of mirror.