How To Upcycle Old Mirrors Around The House

Mirrors are a helpful décor piece if you're attempting to make a room feel bigger or inject a bit of visual interest without relying on color and pattern, but sometimes, the pieces we choose to decorate our spaces run their course, whether that's because they've gained a bit of wear and tear around the edges or because they're just starting to feel a bit outdated. According to data from Joybird, the average American spends between $500 and $1,000 on home décor each year, so, instead of simply tossing your past-their-prime pieces in the garbage or hauling them off to donate, consider repurposing them around the house to cut down on your budget. This way, you'll be left with a decorative piece that feels new without actually having to spend money on one. 

Because of their general simplicity and functionality, mirrors are one of the best pieces to repurpose and rework. Whether you're in the mood for a full ground-up DIY or you'd rather just give your existing piece a facelift, you're sure to find an idea that piques your interest.

DIY your own vanity

Congratulations! If you have a wall mirror and a desk, you have a vanity. Creating a space to do your makeup, hair, or skincare in the morning is a great way to make your everyday routine feel more luxurious, but pre-made vanities often come with a luxurious price tag as well. Instead of shelling out hundreds of dollars on a new furniture piece, combine a simple desk with an old wall mirror to give it some new life. You don't even have to make this a permanent change — just balance your mirror against the wall to avoid screw holes and make this a renter-friendly DIY.

Transform it into a tray

Trays are great to have around the house, both for decorative and functional purposes, but many people don't realize just how easy they are to DIY. If you have a smaller mirror that you're looking to repurpose, simply lay it flat on a table or ottoman and it becomes a trendy mirrored tray. If you want to take this a step further, you can also glue or screw on some handles to make it easier to hold on to. It's unlikely that you'll find tray-specific handles when shopping, but cabinet pulls can do the job and give you plenty of flexibility in your final look.

Build a mirror mosaic

Breaking a mirror might signal seven years of bad luck to the superstitious crowd, but it could also mean the beginning of a fun art project. If your mirror is shattered — or if you're willing to get destructive — consider rearranging and gluing down the broken pieces to create a mosaic. This can be as simple as arranging the mirror like a puzzle to preserve that just-broken look, or as complex as using the pieces to create a more intentional design. You could even use the pieces to bring some shine to another mosaic project, whether that's a simple art piece or a creative kitchen backsplash.

Create a chalk board

Just about anything can transform into a chalkboard with the right kind of paint, and, if you're willing to do a bit of prep work to ensure everything will stick, an old mirror is no exception. To DIY your own chalkboard, begin by preparing your mirror's surface with a quick sand. After the surface of the glass has been roughed up, go in with a coat of primer to ensure everything sticks. Once this is fully dry, you can finally cover the surface with a few coats of writeable chalk paint, then hang it and use it just like any other chalkboard.

Try out glass etching

If your existing mirror is making you feel bored, consider trying your hand at glass etching. This technique uses specialized etching cream to slightly deteriorate the surface of the glass and create a hazy, almost frosted look. Create a simple border if you're just looking for a bit more visual interest, or try your hand at adding on some text like creator @craftylumberjacks did in a recent TikTok video. Either way, make sure you're wearing gloves and properly ventilating your space — etching cream is simple to use, but it contains some heavy-duty chemicals that can be dangerous if not properly handled.

Add a painted design

If you're in need of a way to level up both your home décor and your mirror selfies, consider treating your mirror like a canvas. Painting a design along the edges — whether it's a few plain dots or an involved field of flowers — can bring some more interest to your existing mirror while still ensuring that it's functional. If you intend to do this yourself, just make sure you're using enamel or acrylic paint, priming with white gesso, and applying a layer of sealant after you're done with your masterpiece to ensure that it actually sticks to the mirror's smooth surface.

Incorporate some macrame accents

As eclectic, bohemian-style décor continues to dominate current trends, it's no surprise that macrame is having a moment, too. If you've already DIYed your own adjustable plant holders and invested in a wall hanging or two, consider upcycling one of your old mirrors to bring even more laid back textural interest to your space. Hand weave a border around an existing round mirror to create a cheery sunburst shape, or keep it simple with a few dangling tassels or fringy edges if you're not an expert at tying complex knots just yet.

Create an eclectic gallery wall

One mirror on its own might feel boring or outdated, but, if you pair it with a mix of other pieces, you have an eclectic gallery wall. Spray paint each of your pieces the same color and cluster them close together to create a complex focal point on your wall, or mix and match different colors, textures, and styles to give off more of a curated maximalist vibe. If you want to get even more creative, consider using your mirror as a centerpiece, then surrounding it with framed photos and art. Your guests won't be able to resist a quick mirror selfie.

Add some lighting

Backlit mirrors might seem like something that's only accessible in luxury hotels, but they're actually fairly easy to create on your own if you buy the correct materials. Grab some battery-operated LED strip lights, then simply stick them around the edge of your mirror. If you want to be able to conveniently turn them on and off, it's also a good idea to invest in an option that uses either a remote or your phone, like these DAYBETTER LED Strip Lights from Walmart. This way, you won't have to hunt for a hidden button every time you want to turn them on or switch up the color.

Install trim

Trim might be more commonly used to finish off building projects, but it has a place in other DIYs, too. If you have a more minimalistic mirror that you'd like to bring a bit of classic flair to, consider adding some trim around the edges like a frame. This can be accomplished with regular wood trim fairly easily, but, if you want to simplify the process even more, try out some flexible molding like this JCOLUSHI Flexible Molding Trim Self Adhesive from Amazon. With a product like this, all you have to do is trim it down to size and apply it like a sticker.

Give it a fresh coat of paint

Painting the frame of your mirror won't alter the style, but it's a great option to explore if your existing piece doesn't fit in with your existing color scheme or has a few unsightly scratches. Simple neutrals like white, gold, and black are good options if you need a piece that can fit in just about anywhere, but a bold shade like bright red or baby blue can bring some life and create a centerpiece out of an otherwise-lackluster mirror. Whatever color you choose, just make sure you properly cover your mirror — you don't want to deal with splatters on your final product.

DIY a disco mirror

Disco balls have been one of the trendiest décor items in the past couple of years as many people begin to make an effort to make their spaces feel more fun, but, if you're not quite ready to suspend one from the ceiling, consider making a disco ball mirror like @britandco shared in a TikTok. In the video, the creator glues cut foam balls around the mirror to create a frame, fills in the gaps between with putty, sands it down, gives it all a coat of silver paint, and glues down mirrored tiles to create that classic disco look.

Add some flowers

If you're looking to add a bit of visual interest to an existing piece, look no further than this DIY shared in a TikTok video by @xelayaki. In it, she uses several colors of air dry clay to create simplistic five-petal flowers. After they completely set, she uses hot glue to secure them around the edges of her mirror. The final result is a colorful, cartoonish, and custom mirror that's certainly more fun than something basic. If you're feeling creative, you could even try your hand at creating more realistic flower shapes like roses and daisies for a more refined look.

Bring in some coastal texture

If you live in a coastal state, you're likely familiar with the trend of incorporating seashells into décor, whether that be using them as a jewelry dish or including them as a textural element in wall art. Why stop there? If you have access to a wealth of shells, try using them to decorate the frame of a boring mirror. The variance of color, texture, shape, and size can make for an interesting and eye-catching piece, and incorporating something natural from the nearby area can act as the perfect addition to an already-beachy design scheme.

Try out tinting

The first thing that comes to mind when most people think of tinting is dark-colored car windows, but this glass treatment can do more than simply limit the amount of sunlight that gets into your car. By layering a colored window film over your existing mirror, you'll be able to switch up the color to just about anything your heart desires. Application is easy — all you need to do is peel and stick on a wet surface, similar to a phone screen protector — and the result is a unique twist that still ensures your mirror is functional enough for everyday use.

Install a tiled frame

Tiled accents are a great way to add a bit of texture and color to your space, but many people only incorporate them into their backsplashes or as flooring. There are, however, many smaller projects that you can use to incorporate this material, and mirrors are no exception. If you're tired of the frame on your existing mirror and it's a flat enough surface, try covering it in tile to create a Mediterranean-inspired look like creator @bangonstyle shared in an Instagram reel. It does require a base knowledge of how to grout tile, but this is a great place to start if you want to learn.

Create window-inspired panes

Sometimes, our homes don't have windows in the places we'd like them to be. If you want to display a piece of décor that mimics the look, however, a mirror can do the job. Any mirror will help to reflect light and make a space seem brighter, but you can take it a step further by DIYing some faux panes on a mirror you already have. The simplest approach only requires some well-placed electrical tape, but, if you're willing to get your hands a bit dirty, you can also cut down and glue some thin molding for a more three-dimensional look.

Glue on some pom-poms

If your mirror is still in good condition but just feeling a bit dull, try incorporating one of the most fun crafting materials out there: pom-poms. In her Tiktok, creator @fromkaytoz hand glues a mix of multi-colored pom-poms to a full-length mirror to add a bit of color and texture to an otherwise-boring piece. This DIY is great if you're in need of some colorful accents to finish off a playroom or child's bedroom, but it could fit in just as well in a more adult space if you're not afraid of a bit of maximalism and whimsy.

DIY a trendy organic mirror

Mirrors with curving edges and irregular shapes are one of the most trendy pieces right now, but finding one that isn't hundreds of dollars can be a challenge. If you're willing to try your hand at cutting glass, however, you can easily make your own out of an old mirror like creator @gregdwilson on Tiktok. In his video, he finds a large, but broken, piece of mirror on the street. With a bit of cutting to smooth out the edges and the addition of a flexible metallic trim, he's left with a large mirror that could easily go for $800 at a store like Anthropologie.

Create a bottle cap mirror

Using old bottle caps in DIY décor is nothing new, but most people stop at encasing them in resin to create a colorful tabletop. This idea to use them as a mirror frame, originally shared by @lamia_mohm in a Tiktok, however, is much less time consuming than waiting for a thick layer of resin to cure. Collect a mix of bottle caps — or stick with one brand if you're a loyalist to a certain beer or soda — and simply glue them down to your surface. The result will be a mirror that's the perfect addition to your home bar or man cave.

Add a wavy border

If you've been on TikTok for just about any stretch of time, you've likely seen the viral wavy mirror. Building it yourself, however, usually requires access to a power saw and the ability to make ultra-precise curvy cuts. With this hack shared in @genevavanderzeil's TikTok, however, you can cut your required effort in half. Instead of starting with a regular piece of wood, the creator picks up a pre-cut wine rack. After trimming it down to fit her mirror, painting, and securing the pieces together, she's left with an already-wavy frame, no power saw required.