Large wall mirrors adding light to a corridor

How to Use Mirrors to Make Your Home Bigger and Brighter

In interior design, a lack of space can prove as big a challenge as a tight budget. However, unlike the latter, there are several creative ways to get around a shortage of square feet – the easiest of which is to install a few well-placed mirrors.

Large mirrored feature wall in a lounge

As well as expanding the sense of space, mirrors dramatically increase the light levels in a room. And even in this age of phone cameras and selfies, bathroom and bedroom mirrors remain the only serious way to check your appearance.

While home retailers and furniture stores are great places to find “off the peg” mirrors, bespoke options are worth considering. At abc Glass, we specialise in cutting mirrors to size for a made-to-measure design.

So, where to start? With dozens of different mirror styles on the market, it helps to know what kind of mirrors work best in what spaces. In this blog, we’ll run through some of the most effective ways to use mirrors to increase light and space.

Large wall mirrors

Large wall mirrors adding light to a corridor

Sometimes the simplest option works best. Large wall mirrors are a quick and cost-effective way to make a living room or bedroom seem bigger and brighter. Requiring no installation, they can be simply hung or lent against a wall, serving as a statement piece of furniture.

By adding a frame, you can tailor the mirror to the style of any room. In a period bathroom, for example, an ornate mirror frame is the perfect counterpart to a traditional bathtub with Edwardian-style brass or chrome taps. There’s no better way to boost the authenticity of the room’s style while adding extra space and light.

Splashbacks

mirrors used as a splashback in a kitchen rather than tiles

No two splashbacks are exactly alike – especially when mirrored. A bespoke mirrored splashback can add depth and light to your bathroom or kitchen. This is in stark contrast to frosted glass splashbacks or wall tiles, which, although great to look at, lack the multi-purpose benefits of a mirror.

Mirrored bathroom slashback

What’s more, mirrored splashbacks are often cheaper and simpler to install than wall tiles. In bathrooms, they can be used against a bath panel to reflect the floor tiles and create the sensation of more space. Another trick is to install them around a bathtub on multiple walls.

Wall cladding

Mirrored walls adding light and feeling of space

Wall cladding instantly “doubles” the size of a room, no matter how small the space. Cloakrooms are the classic example, with half-tiled, half-mirrored walls proving a popular style in contemporary homes. But you can also apply wall cladding to awkward areas like alcoves and hallways to create the illusion of a long corridor.

If possible, consider cladding two walls or more – nothing beats the radical feeling of space with multiple reflections.

Mirrored doors

Like any glass product that can be cut and shaped, mirrors offer incredible versatility for designers. Take our bespoke mirror service – we can create a customized mirror to fit almost any door, wardrobe, cabinet, or vanity unit in your home.

Mirrored wardrobe doors make this bedroom feel larger

What better way to add space and light in the bedroom than adding mirrors to a fitted wardrobe door? Just like with a floor-to-ceiling mirrored wall, you’ll be able to instantly check your appearance in its full head-to-toe glory. Mirrored doors are also a great option for vanity units in bathrooms and dressing rooms. Even shower doors can be kitted out with a mirror to squeeze more space from a small bathroom.

Courtyard gardens

It’s not just interiors where mirrors can transform a space. If you’re proud of your garden and want to add a whole new perspective, why not prop a large mirror against a tree, fence, or bench? Another trick is to place mirrored panels on the ground against your borders – this will capture the best of your flowers and plants, making them seem fuller and more lush.

Garden mirror used to give the illusion of a doorway and a bigger space beyond

Antique and silver effects

Clear mirrored glass is just one of several options available to designers. Softer, warmer finishes are often more welcome than the sharpness of a standard mirror. We specialise in both modern silver mirrors and antique effect mirrors, which our technicians can cut to virtually any shape or size. This includes cut outs for sockets, handles, and light fittings, depending on your requirements.

To learn more about abc Glass’ made-to-measure mirrors service, feel free to chat with one of our experts. You can contact us via phone or email – we’re always happy to offer advice and tips relating to our glass products and services.

Molten glass being cooled in large sheets

How Is Glass Made?

Have you ever looked at an impressive window or a piece of glass furniture and wondered: how is glass made? For a material so widespread, few people who know the ins and outs of making glass. In this article, we’ll lay out the basics of glassmaking so that you can appreciate the subtleties of this incredible material. We’ll also answer some of the most frequently asked questions about glass, from the common to the obscure.

Clear toughened safety glass

What is glass made of?

A lot of people ask us: Is glass made from sand? This is half-right – the raw material of glass is in fact made from three ingredients: sand, limestone and soda ash. In order to make glass, these three ingredients must be mixed together and heated in a giant furnace. Eventually, the mixture melts into a liquid called glass. That’s right: glass is actually a liquid!

Molten glass manufacturing process

To be clear, when we say “heated in a furnace”, we’re talking about serious heat. For liquid glass to form properly, the furnace temperature must be at least 1700°C (3090°F). Anything below this extreme heat level may be inadequate for making glass. Needless to say, unlike brewing beer or weaving fabrics, glassmaking is not something that can be done at home.

How does liquid glass become solid?

At abc Glass Processing, we typically use large sheets of float glass or plate glass that can be easily cut or shaped. This is raw, unprocessed or toughened glass in its basic form – the kind that, if you smash it, breaks into large pieces. So far we’ve explained how glass is formed as a liquid mixture, but how does it turn into the flat, solid sheets that we commonly call “glass”?

Molten glass being cooled in large sheets

There are two basic ways to make plate glass: rolling and floating. Both require the liquid glass to be cooled until it forms into a flat, solid material. The former method uses giant rollers to flatten the glass into thin sheets, which are left to cool before being cut into the desired shape. The latter way involves leaving the scorching-hot liquid to “float” on top of molten tin until it reaches a much lower temperature. The end result is an immaculate, flat sheet of solid glass.

Is glass recyclable?

Of course! Glass is among the most recyclable materials in the world, able to be re-used and re-processed over and over again. Recycled glass makes up a remarkable 95% of the raw materials of most new glass product. The more recycled glass used in the manufacturing process, the less energy is used by furnaces. This efficiency makes glass production one of the more sustainable industries in the modern world. So, if you want to help the planet through these challenging times, make sure you recycle those glass bottles!

shattered laminated glass example

Some popular uses for recycled glass

  • Making new glass products
  • Fibreglass insulation products
  • Manufacturing of bricks where glass is used as a flux
  • Astroturf and artificial grass products
  • Water filtration media
  • Reflective paints
  • Sandpaper and other abrasive materials

 

Each year abc Glass processing recycle around 120 tonnes of glass.

At abc Glass Processing, our team boasts years of experience in processing glass for all manner of commercial and domestic uses. Click here to explore our many glass processing services, or get in touch today if you have any questions about a potential project.

Green Switch Chelsea Garden photographed by Tim Sandall

How to use Glass in the Garden, as Demonstrated at Chelsea Flower Show 2019

This year’s Chelsea Flower Show brought use of glass in the garden to the vanguard for landscapers, property developers and have-a-go gardeners alike. Incorporated into various garden designs, which spanned silver to gold medal winners, the RHS’ most prestigious annual show revealed how glass walls, glass balustrades and feature lighting especially can add wow-factor to contemporary outdoor spaces.

Glass garden art

While abc Glass Processing makes the likes of glass partitions, glass balustrades and balconies, glass staircases and floors, glass table tops and glass mirrors that could be used in the garden, our glass aficionados appreciate there are a fair few other uses for glass in all its glory alfresco. Here’s a look at some of those uses with some suggestions of how you can get the most out of glass in the garden.

Glass elements that add elegance to the garden

Glass balustrade in a garden

  • Walls and balustrades – Achieve structure and multiple levels in the garden with glass walls and glass balustrades without interrupting views or messing with the aesthetics of the planting. More fluid that bushes and trees, glass partitions are also excellent for zoning and creating boundaries.
  • Mirrors and mirrored glass – Excellent for making smaller outdoor spaces seem bigger and for allowing light and colour to bounce around the garden, cleverly placed mirrored glass can also help create symmetry and extend the visual reach of your favourite plants and features.
  • Feature lighting – There are so many options for smart outdoor lighting, from eco-friendly solar lighting to fun and vibrant fairy lights, to choose from. But you should always make sure from your lighting supplier that your chosen lights are safe for outdoor use.
  • Water features – Whether you incorporate a glass wall to reflect water droplets and ripples or you choose a glass pathway over a pond for a wonderful walk-on-water effect, glass can be a fabulous addition to a water feature.
  • Art and sculptures – When it comes to glass sculptures and art for your garden, don’t just look to buy something to fill a space. Buy a piece that you form a connection with on sight – it should tell a story in 10 years’ time so that it’s still relevant to you and your space. Pick one statement piece or several smaller pieces that can placed throughout a larger plot to be found and enjoyed.

 

Let’s take a look at how some of these glass in the garden ideas were used to great effect at Chelsea Flower Show 2019:

The Greenfingers Charity Garden – Show Garden

RHS Green Fingers Garden photographed by Neil Hepworth

Image courtesy of RHS / Neil Hepworth

Built by Kate Gould Gardens, this Silver Gilt medal winning garden shows how glass balustrades can be used to add practicality and panache in an outside space. Over two levels, the garden was deigned to be a calming sanctuary and fortifying refuge:

“The innovative garden design aims to highlight and promote the therapeutic benefits of the 56 outside spaces created over the past 20 years by Greenfingers Charity, the charity dedicated to creating inspiring gardens for life-limited children and their families who spend time in hospices across the UK” – The RHS.

With a central planting border of dominant yet tranquil green, white and yellow tones, the lower level also features tiles and architectural elements that carry the green theme through.

The top deck can be reached by a lift constructed of glass walls with green metal framing to stay in perfect keeping with the garden’s theme. This means that the garden is not only accessible to all but visitors can enjoy the garden from all angles and heights with unrestricted views and the lift structure itself doesn’t compromise the design scheme.

On the top level a frameless glass balustrade has been chosen that provides safety and, again, unrestricted views. What’s really skilful is that the glass balustrades don’t distract those looking up from the lower level towards the beautiful medlar and silver birch trees behind, chosen for the structural beauty as well as their shade from the sunlight.

IKEA and Tom Dixon: Gardening Will Save The World – Show Garden

IKEA and Tom Dixon Chelsea garden photographed by Neil Hepworth

Image courtesy of RHS / Neil Hepworth

Again set on two levels, this garden was more controversial in design than other 2019 entries but meaningful in its environmental message:

“The garden showcases the potential for democratic and distributed urban farms and considers the future of the environment and the importance of growing food locally” – The RHS.

A partnership between Tom Dixon and Ikea that was unusually designed to be walked through by Chelsea visitors, the top level offers a wilder “botanic oasis”. While the lower level of this futuristic garden is super neat and ordered. It’s also dedicated to showcasing edible plants grown using hydroponic technology under soft pink lighting.

The pink glow has a job to do here but the effect is very pretty, warm and welcoming. This just goes to show that feature lighting, or carefully placed coloured glass that changes tonally with natural sunlight, can be a clever way to glam up your garden.

Green Switch – Artisan Garden

Green Switch Chelsea Garden photographed by Tim Sandall

Image courtesy of RHS / Tim Sandall

Kazuyuki Ishihara’s gardens are always a treat to behold and this one was no exception. Drawing on his cultural roots for the planting – with all the Japanese classics from maples to moss balls – this year’s entry explored how modern life and ancient traditions can still work side-by-side:

“The ‘green switch’ represents the space we inhabit when we ‘switch off’ from the stresses of contemporary urban life and seek the things we like to do, such as spending time in nature” – The RHS.

Another two-storey garden design, the top level showcases glass in the garden perfectly. On the left a modern shower room constructed using glass walls is surrounded by soft planting for privacy. To the right, is a tea room (a nod to Japan’s traditional tea gardens) but again glass walls are used for a contemporary yet open feel.

The light-infusing, space-enhancing, mirror-like theme is continued to the lower level where two waterfalls and a rippling pond reflect the surrounding plants and top up the garden’s sensory appeal.

Gorgeous glass garden products from abc Glass Processing

To find out more about our glass partitions, glass balustrades and balconies, glass staircases and floors, glass table tops and glass mirrors for use in your garden design or landscaping project, or to get a quote for any of our glass products, please contact us today.