Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

Eclectic Jul 13, 2021

Image source: The Bird Cage of the Upper West Side, Manhattan

It's been a while since my last article but I'm super excited to back in the swing of things with this apartment. It was a fun one to take apart because it did a great job creating a lively atmosphere using mostly wall decor. It otherwise follows a fairly simple, minimalist style with smooth, glossy, mono-colored surfaces on furniture. The unit has interesting choices of art and mirror tricks. Mirror tricks? If you look at the featured image, you may, like I did, think there was a mirror on the left, and some abstract art on the right. But if you look closer, it actually is reflecting the wall pattern on the other side! How snazzy. Whether it was intentional or not, this appears multiple times throughout the home and creates moving, mural-esk, artwork throughout the house.

Now let's take a look at some of the wall art, both fixed and created.

Personality revealing wall decor

I mean, let's think about the name of this Airbnb in the first place: The Bird Cage of the Upper West Side. 🦜 I feel like we can expect some personality.

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

I wish there was a better shot of the art on the right - with musical notes and splashes of paint. I really love a good provocative piece of art at the top of a staircase. Gives the unsuspecting guest a nice "oh!" when they raise their head. We'll talk about those clear chairs in a bit.

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

These two pieces of art work well because they're the only busy thing in the room. And because they're pretty dark, they don't call for the eye's attention as dramatically. They're very appropriately motivational for what looks like an office space! Letting them rest on the cabinet is an interesting choice, as opposed to hanging them up. Something about them just sitting there feels unfinished or lackluster, for two pieces that should feel more purposefully placed. It looks like the protective cardboard corners are still on so perhaps this was taken before finishing up with the room 😛.

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks
Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

I'm more one to like a window or something calming when I do my least favorite chore, dishes. But others, may want a large black wall with chaotic lines on it! This is a very interesting approach. From the person manning the kitchen I'm not too sure what it provides, but I can see this wall creating a really intimate dining experience at night. Dimmed lights, a brown glow from the industrial-styled lamp, and dark surrounding furniture. Some candles or a low-hanging chandelier would really tie a bow on this experience.

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

Honestly not quite sure how I feel about this one. It definitely ties together the color scheme nicely... But I can't help seeing a bunch of octopus tentacles...

Reflections and murals

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

There are a few wonderful things happening in this room.

First, the two blue abstract blocks for wall decor seem relatively bland at first glance, the type where only art enthusiasts would find meaning while I think "oh, ocean!". BUT thanks to the glossy finish, the art takes on the effects of a double exposed piece of film. The art itself reflects the furniture on the other side of the room, giving it a second layer to pause and decipher.

Second, these transparent-backed chairs! By definition they are meant to be glanced right over so in a small space such as this one, they allow the viewer's eyes to travel past the chairs and onto the main attractions of the room - the blue accent arm chairs, and the paintings. It seems the homeowners may expect or want to provide seating for a large group to gather, but imagine if these were all solid colored chairs. Even if they looked great, it would make the room feel overcrowded. Expert use here 👏.

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks
Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

When you see it...

When I first saw the image on the left, I thought: "weird that they'd choose to put a painting instead of a vanity in front of the sinks....". But wow! It's a reflection of the beautiful, though admittedly rorschach-esk, wallpaper on the opposite wall. I imagine at every angle in the bathroom you can see the reflected wallpaper. I almost like the reflection more than the wallpaper head-on...  

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

This one is a curveball because I thought it was a reflection but upon closer inspection I think, for the first time, this mirror actually is tinted with small dots for visual effect. Sneaky sneaky...

Homevibes - Creating lively walls through art and mirror tricks

And we discussed this one in the opening paragraph, but as a quick recap, the frame behind the lamp on the right is a mirror, not a piece of art! 🤯

Now, do these really all look good together?

Here's where just seeing discrete photos of rooms is not enough. You would need to get a blueprint, or best of all walk through the space to understand how a guest moves through the space. Where would they most often be entering from? What angle would they be looking at the space in that case? Did they just come from a room with really intense walls and maybe could use a breather here? My instinct is they have thought this through. Each space maintains one, or one set, of focal images to reduce the visual noise, and make sure the experience is not overwhelming.

If you like this vibe... I’ve helped you find some options to replicate it in your own home.


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