Achieve The Regencycore Aesthetic On A Budget With This Antiqued Mirror DIY

Dearest gentlereaders, if you've found your way to this DIY, it's probably because you are a fan of "Bridgerton" or similar period shows, movies, and books that feature the coveted Regencycore aesthetic. Elegant, luxurious, and gilded, this decor scheme incorporates all that made the Regency era such a notable one. From Jane Austen's sprawling sagas to the glittering halls of Netflix's popular show, this aesthetic embodies both refinement and indulgence, and nothing sums these up as much as an antique mirror. If you are trying to capture the essence of Regencycore in your home, there are two hacks you can try to give your mirror an aged look. You can spray a deconstructed mirror with bleach and paint or apply vinegar and paint to the glass pane removed from a frame. The results will scream wealth, while your bank account will breathe a sigh of relief.

Mirrors, especially large, decorative ones, were signs of extreme wealth during the 1800's and the English Regency decor period. The bigger and more extravagant, the better, with well-to-do households featuring these as showpieces when possible. Finding one of these mirrors now will either cost you a great deal of money or be worth just as much should you thrift one. Rather than blowing your entire dowry on a vintage mirror, all you need is a little time and either an existing mirror or some glass that you don't mind donating to a good cause — aka your home's style.

Create an aged mirror by altering its backside

You can easily turn an actual mirror into an antiqued piece with bleach, paper towels, a sponge, and a spray bottle. You will also need paint stripper, spray paint in either black or a very dark gray or brown, and a putty knife. A respirator mask could come in handy, too. It's important to keep in mind that this process might be a bit arduous, especially since your next step involves removing the mirror's frame and adding paint stripper to the layer of paint on the back of your piece to get it off. CitriStrip is usable indoors if that's where you plan to work. Mirrors have three layers, and beneath the backing is a reflective layer, followed by the glass. You will need to get to the painted backside. This could require you to remove the frame, depending on the mirror. Scrape away the paint using paint stripper so your reflective surface is revealed. Wipe away the paint, then combine bleach with water to dilute it. Add ¼ bleach to ¾ water to a spray bottle and spray the reflective surface's backside. The more you scrape and the more you bleach, the created aging effect will increasingly show through.

Once you're happy with the bleaching, dry the backside where you've been working and add a layer of black, gray, or even gold/bronze paint. Adding bigger droplets to the edges will enhance the aged appearance and produce a more "unintentional" pattern.

Refashion a frame's glass pane into an antiqued mirror

If you don't have a mirror you want to work on, the cheaper and simpler alternative is to purchase a frame from a local home store with the glass still inside. You can also thrift a frame as long as it has a glass pane over the artwork, then just remove the art! For frames with borders, you will want to remove those so the glass has more space once you put it back together. Have looking glass spray paint nearby, as well as a bottle of black spray paint. Paper towels and a mixture of half vinegar and half water in a spray bottle will finish your supply list. Remove and clean the glass from your frame, putting one side facing downwards on your work surface. Spray the exposed side with your vinegar mixture, focusing on any areas you want particularly distressed with more.

Next, just spray the looking glass spray paint on top without wiping anything up. Let everything marinate for a minute or two before patting the back dry. Don't rub or pull since the vinegar will create your age spots, and patting dry will keep the droplets in place. Once it's dry, spray paint the back of your glass black to finish the antiqued impression. Cover the underside completely, let it dry, then add it back to your frame.

Turn a picture frame into an antique heirloom

You can also find different ways to decorate a mirror frame to nudge it towards Regencycore, like with accessories and paint. Adding wood embellishments like these wood onlays can be incorporated to gild your mirror, instantly upgrading it to look luxuriously vintage. Add them with super glue before putting the glass back in, taking care to paint the frame and let it dry fully. You can also choose smaller pieces to lay if you just want some simple additions, or use small stick-on pearls or glue dots to create dimension without overdoing decoration along the edges. 

Spray paint everything bronze or gold for a truly Regencycore aesthetic, and watch as your impeccable taste becomes the talk of the Ton — or town. If you want a simpler design that still denotes regality, TikTok's gold leaf mirror makeover is another great option! Just don't let the gossip columns catch on, and your piece might even pass for the real thing!