If you're looking for a way to visually expand a tight space that features floor-to-ceiling cabinets, I highly recommend mirrored uppers. This easy, inexpensive DIY project makes major impact, especially love them installed in galley layouts, often found in small kitchens and closets. Mirrored cabinets have the power to toss light and reflect glittery, crystal, prismed light fixtures. They level up snug spaces without the distraction of catching your own reflection as you pass by.
When we first toured our 1935 colonial, I was thrilled to see the original closet cabinetry in our primary bedroom still intact. The cabinets include special storage for shoes, valet rods, and divided drawers. What a dream! But our closet was also dark, uninviting, and a little claustrophobia inducing. It desperately needed a dose of glamour and fun.
- Keep reading: 15 stylish walk-in closet ideas that'll keep you organized, too
I found cheery, cabbage rose wallpaper on Ebay for the large, sliding, closet doors, painted everything in a fresh coat of glowy and blushing Behr Illuminate paint, and finished with the addition of mirrored uppers. The mirrors provide the illusion of more square footage and add much-needed brightness and glamour. They catch and reflect light from the original mini chandelier as well as the natural light coming from the far window.
If you don't have a closet in need of a rehab, this mirror installation process can also be used for furniture doors, and could be modified using or creating antique mirrors, or finishing with decorative mullions. Flat panel cabinets? No problem, you can add the necessary trim for a few dollars.
Want to give it a try? Keep reading for a step-by-step overview of the process I used to create mirrored cabinet doors.
DIY mirrored cabinets: Materials
- Large frameless mirror, cut to size, at Lowes or an other hardware stores that provide the service
- Medium sanding block.
- Mirror glue
- Heavy books or objects to weigh down mirrors
- All purpose caulk
DIY mirrored cabinets: Directions
- Measure all your cabinet insets where mirrors will be installed. I like to short the measurements just a hair, since the cuts will not be exact. It is easier to fill with caulk rather than chip away the cabinet trim if the mirrors are cut a bit large.
- Visit Lowes, or another hardware store that offers mirror cutting services. You will select a large mirror that can accommodate all your cuts. The service is FREE! Lowes wrapped my mirror pieces in brown paper for easy and safe transport.
Tip: Try to visit during the store’s down time when an associate will have plenty of time to dedicate to your cuts. If you need many mirrors trimmed, consider splitting your cuts into a few visits.
- Remove cabinet doors and lay flat on the floor. Scuff door insets with a medium sanding block for maximum adhesion. Wipe clean.
- Apply mirror adhesive per the package directions using a caulk gun and moving in an “S” pattern.
- Use heavy books to weigh down the mirrors and allow them to dry 24 hours
- Caulk between the mirror edge and cabinet. Smooth. Allow to dry.
- Rehang the doors and admire your gleaming beauties.
I used this same technique in our last kitchen, as well. It was a tiny, Tudor, galley kitchen. I painted it in a tuxedo color scheme with dark bottoms and creamy, white uppers. The mirrors added just a bit of an update to the original 1930s cabinets.
About our expert
Ruth Jackson is an Iowa-based DIYer, furniture flipper, certified interior decorator, and lover of all things vintage. She's currently renovating her family's 1930s colonial home, which she documents on Instagram at @miracleonthirtyfourth.