Timeless or Trendy? Sunburst Mirrors

By Kate Riley July 19, 2011

Greetings all, I’m back today with another topic for your vote!  Last week, it was Open Shelving in Kitchens, with “Trendy” edging out “Timeless” by a 54% to 45%.   Most of you ended up in the “Like it, but too impractical for me” category (60%) with 15% not liking the look, and 24% loving it.  Thanks so much to everyone who voted and shared your opinion and personal experiences. 

So let’s get started – how do you feel about sunburst mirrors?  louis xiv sunburst

Many interior designers love them, and there’s a bit of a DIY craze going on. 

We’re all making our own versions out of everything we can find. coming up with new interpretations every week.  Me? Guilty!

Sunburst mirrors date back to Louis XIV, known as the “Sun King”, and as the story goes, he used to stare into his sunburst mirror each morning to see his face in the center of the sun’s rays.  Oh, the vanity.


This decorative mirror became popular yet again in the mid twentieth century, and in the last few years, they are everywhere.

thibaut gold sunburst




Sunburst mirrors create a focal point and certainly add sparkle to any room.  We all associate light and warmth from images of the sun, so naturally we love to incorporate décor that is directly inspired by the sun’s rays. 

Could the look ever get old?

james michael howard sunburst mirror bedroom

James Michael Howard


lonny blue lattic rug sunburst mirror



bhg sunburst above bed

Better Homes & Gardens


caldwell flake sofa sunburst

Caldwell Flake Design


sunburst mirror hgtv



wisteria linen settee plus sunburst



bone mirror betsy burnham

Betsy Burnham, House Beautiful


tobi fairley green white and sunburst

Tobi Fairley, Traditional Home


veranda sunburst kathryn ireland

Kathryn Ireland, Veranda


Sunburst and starburst mirrors have had their share of influence on other décor too, from light fixtures, to wall art, to clocks and medallions.   

sunburst inspired decor

Mirrored sconce; gold sun sculpture; walnut sunburst clock; flame fixture; ceiling medallion.


What are your thoughts on sunburst or starburst mirrors?  Are you a fan or not?  Do you prefer the more traditional golden versions, or the whimsical modern takes, like bone inlay or rustic wood and even branches? 

Will sunburst mirrors always be with us, or will they fade from style in a few years?  What say you?

Like I mentioned last week, these polls are not meant to discourage anyone from embracing their own personal style and taste.  Let’s keep it respectful and fun!

Do share your opinion and vote!  Same as last time, two polls, if you’re visiting in a reader, you need to visit the site to place your vote. 








Thanks for participating everyone, results reported next week!   Got something to say about sunburst or starburst mirrors?  Ever made one yourself?  What’s your favorite retail or DIY version? Feel free to add your comment or link.




  1. I think they’ll come in and out over time, and this is definitely an “in” time. I think the last time they were in was 50’s (ish)?…Think mid-century furniture and wood paneling with the spiny starburst clocks. But the look was updated now in the 2010’s! So who knows! I think it all comes and goes!

  2. I really like the ones that look more like a flower than a sunburst. (Better Homes & Gardens and Lonny) and I really like the ceiling medallion in your last image. It’s not a straight-up sunburst. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but for the most part I think it’s far too overdone.

  3. I like the more organic looking sunburst mirrors. I’m a sea lover so I’m totally into the sunburst mirrors made with driftwood…, I found some pretty amazing ones too. I do think they’re timeless.

  4. I think it falls in the category of most things that are trendy ‘at the moment’ – we think they’re timeless, but in a decade’s time, we will see them everywhere in second hand shops and go, “Ugh, so 2011”. With that said, just because it’s trendy doesn’t mean it’s not fab – I do love them! I just think they’re something that’s best to buy on the cheap or DIY, and invest your $$ into more classic pieces.

  5. I have gone back and forth on this. Loved them, hated them, loved them, now I am seeing so many EVERYWHERE that i am seeing it as a bit of a design cop out.


    Art by Karena

  6. Round framed mirror? Timeless.

    Sunburst specifically? Trendy, and seems to come and go in surges. The star/space-age kind was trendy in the 1950s, and for some reason they’re trending again now. I’ve seen quite a few I like…but anything in gold or brass screams 1970s gaudy to me.

  7. I think they’re very trendy right now and hope they die out soon. I don’t care for them at all in any finish in any room. They’re one of those things that I’ve just always hated so I’ll never own one.

  8. Hi Kate! I love a gorgeous sunburst mirror. It seems hard to come to a decision on timeless or trendy, I think they’re a little of both. They’ve come in and out of style for hundreds of years and I think they’ll continue to do so. Know what I mean? That being said, I made my own version a couple months ago and I LOVE it!! I makes me smile every time I walk into my room and see it. Have a look. http://catiescorner2.blogspot.com/2011/05/diy-sunburst-mirror.html Great post! ~ Catie

  9. I’m gonna have to agree with Karen ’cause, my grandparents had one 20 years ago. I thought it was the most hideous thing ever. It’ll go out again. But that’s okay! Enjoy it will ya can, right?

  10. I seem to be one of the only designers that has never cared much for these mirrors. They remind me of hotels…and they’re fine for that I suppose. I just can’t ever imagine having one in my home. I do kind of like the picture of the wall sconce, it’s cute on a smaller scale.

  11. I have always thought sunburst mirrors were a bit trendy and will definately say ‘2010/2011’ in the future. But that doesn’t mean they won’t come back. And to be honest, I think it’s more of how you use it; mixed with more classic furniture it won’t date nearly as quickly as a room filled with chevron, chinoiserie, lacquer and zebra print (as much as I love all those things in small doses I’m quite it will seem very 2010 in a little while!).

  12. I loath sunburst mirrors but it probably has more to do with when I grew up than the actual design. I remember them on paneled walls in the 60s and against avocado green walls in the 70s and I truly believe it is very difficult to like a trend you’ve lived through previously.

  13. Ugh….even though I’ve seen some great DIY’s out there….can’t wait until these are out. Ugh again. :)

  14. I think they are timeless… But I am tired of seeing them everywhere!! I can’t wait for the trend to be over =). I’ve had one in our master for almost 10 years, have always loved it… but done seeing them everywhere!

  15. I do love them, and the truth is that they’ve been around a long time. I think one in a special place is fab and there’s so many options out there now (including diy!) I say why not? :)

  16. Sunburst mirrors are definitely timeless. Yes, we will get tired of them after a bit, but they always come back. That’s what makes them timeless. I think they light up any room, and I like them in all sorts of textures and colors.
    What makes them overdone to me is that they’re often done WRONG. You can tell when someone just ran out of steam at the end of doing a room and stuck a sunburst someplace. But done well, they will live forever!

  17. Gosh, I’m really surprised at how many people loathe these mirrors! I think they are fab and love them just about anywhere, even those big ole gaudy ones :) But then, I voted that open shelves in a kitchen are things of the devil so what do I know? I guess I’m not a cutting edge kinda girl!

  18. I voted trendy, but I do like the trend now. I think wreaths as a whole have had a resurgence. It’s okay with me, but we will probably move on soon (probably when all the dollar stores and Targets get full of sunburst mirrors).

  19. I used to love sunburst mirrors and even bought three small plain mirrors to make my own display of them, but I’ve waited so long to do it that now I’m just over them and trying to think of another cool diy mirror idea. Sunburst mirrors = overdone. Someone please think up something new for us all to copy!

  20. I like them, but not absolutely crazy about the DIY ones. They always look good in the photos, but I know that if I try to make them, they’d end up looking… well… like I made them.

    It makes me sad because I had a sunburst mirror in my room growing up and ended up giving it to my mom later who lives in a more desert area since I thought the look was so “southwestern.” Little did I know how popular they’d get 15 years later!

  21. Like somebody else mentioned, my grandparents had a sunburst clock. It wasn’t on anyone’s list of fave decor items. Trendy…

  22. I think they could be timeless but have become trendy. They’re everywhere, all the time.

    Much as I sometimes like them, I wouldn’t hang one right now because they’re just too ubiquitous.

  23. I agree that they could be timeless but since everyone seems to have embraced them all at once, they’ve become trendy. I really like the more simplistic styles, but I had a feeling I’d get sick of seeing them so just recently I bought a rattan framed circle mirror to hold me over until I decide what to do.

  24. I’m surprised by the results so far! (Seeing the percentages after I voted). It seems that “Trendy” is winning out over “Timeless”! Although the mirrors may be “trending” now, I think the history of them proves that they are timeless! Hello, Louis XIV?!
    I love them all. I especially love the one in the James Michael Howard photo that your posted above (the bedroom picture) – a more modern take on what I feel is a timeless piece! And so what if they’re popular right now? Just because many people love them doesn’t make them any less beautiful. This reminds me of what a friend’s sister once said about a very odd looking pair of pants.
    “Those are awesome! Where did you find them?” Obviously hoping for a tale of a goody find from a 2nd hand store.
    “I got them at Nordstroms”
    “Ohhh…” Obviously let down, then deciding they weren’t so awesome.

    It’s like reverse discrimination or something! lol, I digress.

  25. I think they’re super trendy. Although really I think the trend is petering out. Or at least I hope it is, because I’m getting really, really sick of sunburst mirrors. I hope the go the way of acid washed jeans, and quick.

  26. Love them!!! I’m wanting one, but have no where to put it. Everytime I see a post from you, it makes me want to completely redecorate! :)

  27. I guess I like the ones that look less like an actual sun and more just like a circle mirror with some decoration…

  28. I’m on the fence about them. In fact, my father-in-law has one from the late 50’s (in the gold finish but with a clock face instead of a mirror) in his basement and I keep thinking maybe I should haul it out and hang it. Wouldn’t you definitely call them a trend since they were in style back in the 50’s and have now popped back into fashion?

  29. Great topic Kate! Personally, I am over them. It’s kinda like the one song or commercial they play over and over. First 10 times, you love it, then it just gets on your nerves. I think it’s been overdone.

  30. Trendy with a capital T. Doesn’t make them bad (in fact, I really like them!) but they’re not going to stand the test of time.

  31. Well, having been around since the previous mid-century (that makes me sound positively ancient!), I’d have to go with Trendy and WAYYYY over sunburst mirrors. There are several “new” versions of this old decoration and some are even more than a little clever, but not many. Lots of people like them, but I’m not one of them.

  32. While I think they are timeless I also think they are a current trend that will fade away once everyone has used it. In fact, that may be happening now because there seem to be an awful lot of blog posts asking if they are trendy or not. I like the look but feel it has been overused lately. I am looking forward to seeing what we designers hang over our sofas and beds next.

  33. It’s definitely a trend right now, and one I dearly hope dies out soon. I adore round mirrors, and the more ornate the frame, the better. But something about the sunray design puts me off. It may be that I’m a children’s designer and have been using suns in my art for years. No matter the interpretation, I still just see a giant sunshine, hanging on a wall. blah.

  34. I do love sunburst in those interior decor pics above especially the one that does not look so sunburst-y looking like the Better Homes Garden one. I have one sunburst that I bought from Home Goods for USD 40.00 and I keep on thinking to put a fresh new color of paint on it. And debating if I should just take it down from the wall all together. The fancy one is quite expensive though and I am not into DIY sunburst. So I think it will go around for a long time as long as they can come with a new look for it, I will not have a problem with sunburst, I like them ! Thanks Kate !

  35. Initially when they first sort of hit the scene, I loved them! But I never got one and now I have to admit that I am a bit glad I did not as they have become FAR too common. They can look amazing in the right space, though.

  36. Too funny! I was just roaming around Homegoods this morning looking for a sunburst mirror. I love the DIY versions – but I lack the time or energy. :)

    They might be a bit trendy – but I still love them!

  37. I think I’m way in the minority on this one, but I don’t like them at all! I keep scratching my head in confusion every time I see one. I think they look gaudy and tacky. :) Wow, maybe I’m being too honest here? I mostly love what my favorite DIY crafty bloggers are doing, but this one…not for me!

  38. I’m SO over them. I’ve been seeing them everywhere for so long now (YEARS!) that I just want them to go away. But that’s just me :)

  39. It’s funny you posted this because I was at Graceland in Memphis, TN last month, and the house is a shrine to the times when Elvis was living there. Nothing has been changed and I laughed when I looked in the living room and smack dab on the wall of the living room as soon as you walked in was a huge sun burst mirror. I told my husband that tons of people right now would be jealous of that mirror and he thought I was crazy! I like them though, used sparingly and in the right scale then can look great!

  40. Hands down timeless. If you get the right style, shape and size, I don’t think it will ever go out of style. You just have to make the right choice in my opinion :) Thanks for sharing some good pics!

  41. I was going through the new Ethan Allen flyer just yesterday and they had the traditional sunburst mirror in there – I could have died! It looked great! My brother had one of these in his room in the 70’s and now his wife still has it hanging on the wall and it looks awesome! I am a more traditional person when it comes to mirrors but I do believe they can give the right space a big punch of awesome!

  42. Darn. Just when I had started looking for ways to make one, they become a subject of controversy. It’s okay. After searching the house for stick-like objects, all I came up with were about two thousand bamboo chopsticks from the House of Dynasty (a name right out of the Department of Redundancy Department, if ya know what I mean!) Oh, yeah, and a jumbo pack of stale Twizzlers from my forgotten Halloween miscalculation. Can you spray paint Twizzlers?

    Anyway. I kinda still want to take one of those convex mirrors that my grandma had at the end of her driveway and hotglue Twizzers all around the perimeter, just for fun. If it goes out of style, we can eat it.

  43. Definitely trendy imo. I’m over them, especially the hundreds of DIY versions. They’re reached the same overexposure point as Keep Calm & Carry On posters for me.

  44. I voted timeless. I think the sun is an unavoidable enduring icon that humanity will always be drawn to. Because of that, I expect incarnations of its form will always pop up in design one way or another. I guess that’s a bit of a broad rationalization for sunburst mirrors in particular, but I’m confident that it applies to them.

    Personally I’m in the “I like some versions in some spaces” camp. I tend to like the versions that play off the traditional look and go in a different direction, like rustic, industrial, modern, or abstract. :)

  45. Don’t get me wrong. I DO like these. I’d have to say however, these are trendy – trends do come & go. I remember these being a big hit when I was little – -Late 60’s maybe early 70’s . Someone said that makes these timeless- LOL- Well maybe if you consider something being stylish again for your grandkids or in 40 or 50 years. To me timeless means the item doesn’t look truly dated & tacky in 10 or 15 years. I don’t think you could find a sunburst mirror outside of a museum for mid century modern style between 1975 and 2008.

  46. I love a sunburst mirror but not all of them. And what if a mirror is circular but doesn’t have “rays” – still considered a sunburst mirror? I’ve seen some really great DIY sunburst mirrors which I think are great – I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on one as I think they will lose their appeal.

  47. I think it’s VERY trendy. People won’t like these in 5 years (or less). I know I’ll start seeing them in thrift stores around then.

  48. I know that these mirrors are everywhere and there a few (really, really few) that I find a teensy bit pretty, but, for the rest, U-G-L-Y. Hate me if you must, but you would never find one in my house. So there. I said it. My opinion and I’m stickin’ to it.

  49. Timeless. The style is great and pleasing to the eye. Some of the variations are not my favorites, like the mid century modern styles, but the classic styles are beautiful. Now, how many of you actually know someone that has one? If they are in your bedroom, who would know? I think people are sick of seeing them in magazines or blogs, not living with them. All you DIYers, go ahead and make some. Ann

  50. And also….I think these mirrors are way less objectionable than words written all over the house. Like Eat, Dream, Love. Why doesn’t anyone complain about that trend.

  51. I place sunburst mirrors right there alongside deer horns/skulls/faux (or real) deer heads against the wall. These must be the two decorations I ABSOLUTELY ABHOR.

    I think it is because it robs the room of any sense of calm it could have had. I seldom have strong opinions about things, but these two invariably generate a ‘HATE IT!’ response in my gut!

  52. I’m not even going to read the other comments because it might make me feel badly when I say…I don’t like them at all. I don’t like the choices of timeless or trendy…my choice is tacky! I’m not saying that I’m right…just being honest with my opinion. They look too dated for my taste.

  53. So trendy but I still love in some homes. However, this mirror will not be in my home because almost “everyone” has one and I rather not be a copycat.

  54. Oh and I so agree with Ann W’s comment. Amen, Sister! Might I add not only are the words eat, dream, love, cafe and others abhorrent, how about getting those fork and knives off the wall and back on the table where they belong.

  55. WOW! there is a lot of passion here :) I find the true gilt colored classic sunburst style to be an enduring piece. I’m enjoying my sunbursts for now. I think there are very few things that are truly “timeless”. I’m staring down (with a can of white spray paint in hand) all the dark oil rubbed bronze stuff I collected only a few years ago. Enjoy the moment you’re in now and change it when you get sick of it! to each her (or his) own….

  56. Well, I USED TO like them…until a minute ago when I read the history behind them.

  57. Actually AnnW, I know way too many people who own them. Seems like I can’t walk into a home or store without seeing at least one. They’re ubiquitous right now. I equally dislike the inspirational words on the wall though.

  58. I just bought a sunburst mirror from EBay. It looks like the on Sarah Richardson used in her Sarah’s House (what ever the back-split one was). I am trying to recreate the ‘high’ bathroom look for a lower than low price.

    For me this is the mirror that will be in our bathroom until the day we move. I love it, though the thought of having to clean the numerous smaller mirror around the large round one may change my mind.

  59. I love sunburst mirrors. They’re definitely at their height of popularity right now, but it’s difficult for me to label something as “trendy” when it’s been around for hundreds of years. To me, that’s about like labeling a bergere chair as “trendy”. There are certainly trendy types of bergere chairs (e.g., painted in a high gloss white lacquer and upholstered in a British flag), but a bergere chair is timeless. Same with sunburst mirrors, in my opinion. There are certainly trendy expressions of the sunburst mirror, like the sputnik styles of the 60s and 70s, and the wood shim DIY types now (which I’ve done myself and love), but the sunburst mirror in general is timeless.

  60. I think they are “trendy” but like all trends they tend to “ebb and flow” every several years. I think we will see these mirrors decrease in numerous homes and then maybe five or ten years later they will pop up again as a “hot” item. Don’t get me wrong, I love all the DIY versions around blogland but I don’t think they will be a permanent fixture in the design world. Then again I am not a designer and could be way off base. :)

  61. Huh. I voted timeless, as I put two miniature ones in my daughter’s bedroom that I’ve owned since I was in college ten years ago. Perhaps it’s “timeless” on the scale of my adult life, only?

  62. I love a really nice sunburst mirror. I like the idea of DIYing one, but you run the risk of looking cheap. With something like this, there’s a distinct look that you have to be careful to capture. I personally haven’t bothered to make one because I believe it’s not timeless and in a year or two they’ll have phased out awaiting their 20 year later return.

  63. I want to like sunburst mirrors, I really do. I see them everywhere, but I just can’t get into “like” with them. Am I the only one?

  64. I just made a huge wood shim sunburst mirror. It’s gorgeous! Cost less than $40 to make, so when I tire of it, I can take it down and not feel like I’m losing a limb.

  65. I like some of them in some settings. I think Kristi (Addicted2Decorating) explained my view much better than I can.
    By the way, I thought the idea of many decorating/DIY blogs is for people to do things themselves and enjoy trends without breaking the bank. The trendy sunburst mirrors will disappear to reappear at thrift stores and some creative mind will buy them and reinvent them yet again. The classic mirrors will still hang around.
    It really is all about getting people to spend money. New styles in clothing, new paint colors, variations of furniture styles- it is all about having to have the latest and greatest.
    Being {ahem} a little older than most bloggers, I see some of the ideas and remember when they were popular before. I recently came across a very cute blog and the 20 something blogger couldn’t wait to find some small shutters so she could use them as a mail organizer. Really? I did that 30 years ago.

  66. My sister bought a beautiful sunburst mirror about 30 years ago when she lived in Panama, way before they were trendy. She still has it in her home. When all the “trendy” sunburst mirrors are gone, we will still admire a beautiful, well made sunburst mirror. I vote “timeless”.

  67. I LOVE sunburst mirrors and I loved them before they became “mainstream” again. It’s stupid to say that because everyone seems to have them that it’s tacky. Not following a trend just for the sake of not being a follower makes you every bit as easily influenced and unoriginal as those who follow something just because it’s trendy. Love what you love! Who cares what anyone says will be outdated in a week or two!?

  68. Even though they are very on trend right now, I do think they are a timeless look. There are SO many different versions, which makes them easy to incorporate into any look. No matter what your style is (modern, glam, rustic, global) you can find a sunburst mirror to match it.

  69. My grandmother had one of these and I was so surprised to start suddenly seeing them everywhere a few years ago. I’m thinking if they were nowhere for so many years and then all of a sudden are all the rage, that it will be short-lived. But I love seeing them whenever I do, because it makes me think of my grandmother!

  70. I love mirrors now matter what shape they are, but a sunburst mirror, I do not own and probably won’t any time soon. I love them though. I’ve seen many versions of the sunburst mirror and like some better than others, but I tend to think that some are classic and some are a trend. Depends on the mirror itself.

  71. I have three in my home and I love them. I think they’re classic and if done well, they are gorgeous. They are definitely trendy right now, but I don’t plan to get rid of mine anytime soon! Gosh, I had no idea so many others dislike them so much. I think they’re beautiful!!!

  72. I love the pic from Traditional Home. So chic. I think these mirrors are hit and miss. I actually just bought my first round mirror. I think they add a challenge to decorating.

  73. Timeless—as is animal print—they come and go but if you love ’em then keep decorating with them! If you make it really your own, then a piece is never trendy.

  74. I have never been a fan of the mirrors, until I got one of course. Mine is RED! I will be unveiling our master bedroom soon to show it off. I do think they can be a bit overdone sometimes though.

  75. I do find it really interesting what is deemed “trendy” in blogland. I guess when you can buy one at the Hob Lob for $24 it’s clearly overexposed, but the main question is whether or not you like them. Regardless of what is on trend if you decorate with what you love it will always be timeless to you. I think I’m more a fan of the diy versions I’ve seen over the store bought ones. I repurposed an art deco style sunburst clock (that had bad wiring) into a mirror for my hubs office and I’m in love with it!

  76. This is one look I have never liked. I don’t know what it is exactly but they remind me of cheap and tacky. I am sure there are some gorgeous and tastefully done sunburst mirrors and in the right space I’m sure they are lovely but I have serious doubts about one ever gracing the walls of my home.

  77. Sunbursts have been around since before the Aztecs. Id say that’s pretty timeless!
    That said, trendy is timeless as timeless is trendy. So it’s a win/win!

  78. wow these are all great ideas, i love to see variations of how a simple statement piece can easily transform a room. i i think for those who may be on a budget may not be able to afford sunburst mirror, however i think its possible to use clothes pins to recreate this! do you have any suggestions on what to stay away when you are placing a large statement piece in a room?

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