What Materials Are Best for Reflecting?

Reflective materials are a useful and attractive decorative element to incorporate into your next interior design project, as they catch light and brighten a room. According to the Physics Classroom, a science education website, reflection occurs when light frequencies hit an object with a different frequency, and rather than being absorbed by the object, the light and energy is re-emitted as a reflection. Reflective surfaces such as mirror, glass, metal, polished stone and water are also desirable because they create the illusion that a space is larger.


Incorporate a mirror in your design plan to reflect light.

When thinking of a reflective surface, mirrors commonly come to mind because their purpose is to show your reflection. Not only do mirrors reflect images, they also catch light and reflect it around the room. Mirrors are a versatile design element that can act as a focal point, such as a floor-length mirror or a mirrored table or armoire, or they can serve as an accent by using small mirrors or a bowl of mirrored balls on a table.


Glass is a relatively inexpensive design element that can easily be incorporated into your room scheme and give you the reflective look you seek. The glass in windows and picture frames also serves this purpose, if you want to take a more subtle approach. Additionally, glass can be incorporated though accessories such as vases, bowls and colorful glass window decorations.


Smooth metallic surfaces lend themselves to a chic modern look and the metal conducts electricity and allows for high levels of light reflection. Aluminum, gold and silver are all popular elements that have high reflective indexes. Hang a silver tray on the wall or adorn your pictures with a polished aluminum frame to add flair to your room.

Polished Stone

Cut and polished stones are a decorative element that can add glamour to a room, and act as a conduit to reflect light. Hanging cut crystals or gemstones in the room, especially near the windows, allows the light to reflect and refract around the room in a delightful pattern. Larger pieces of polished stone can be used as a wall ornament or a table top. According to Design Boom, primitive mirrors were made of polished stone, such as the shiny and reflective black obsidian.


Water is the perfect natural reflective surface, but it can be tricky to incorporate into design, especially in interior spaces. Use water in outdoor yard and patio landscaping by creating a fountain, waterfall, or small reflecting pool or pond. A fish tank or bowl is a great way to incorporate this element to the interior of a room.

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