The walls have eyes. No, this isn’t a design-themed horror story or anything like that. Eye-shaped mirrors are having something of a moment, making mirrors feel a bit more watchful than they normally are. But what’s behind the trend?
The design itself is nothing new: visually, the simple, graphic eye seems like an immediate reference to the evil eye. The idea of a curse cast by an evil eye (or malevolent stare) exists in cultures across the globe, and belief often holds that they can be warded off with an eye amulet, also referred to as the evil eye. The look of the amulet varies from simple line drawings of an eye, similar to what we see in eye mirrors, to the blue, white, and black circles found in Greece and Turkey.
The growing popularity of the evil eye in the US may have something to do with a rise in interest in things like astrology as well as the occult. Things like crystals and tarot have gone mainstream. Women are more ready to call themselves “witches,” which can range from invoking a kind of “screw the patriachy” mentality to engaging in a wide variety of Pagan or Wiccan practices.
This trend towards a kind of vague spirituality is not without its critics, though. Sage smudging, for example, has caused overharvesting and has been criticized for making light of a spiritual practice that holds deep significance for indigenous people in North America. The evil eye exists in a more gray space: it’s such a universal symbol, it can be hard to say who, exactly, it's appropriating from.
Many people who buy an eye mirror (not all are marketed as “evil eye”) might not even be aware of the history. The bold, graphic lines and long lashes of an eye mirror also invoke a feminine, but still minimalist, aesthetic that is also popular. You also don’t have to be clued into the history of the evil eye to get a sense of some kind of spiritual, or even occult-adjacent, symbolism. The shape and feel of the mirror also straddles the line between the very old and the very ne: a mix of pared-down modernism and ancient meaning. Considering how trends like modern farmhouse have taken hold, the evil eye feels like something that would appeal to a witchier version of Chip and Joanna Gaines.
Considering how trends like modern farmhouse have taken hold, the evil eye feels like something that would appeal to a witchier version of Chip and Joanna Gaines.
From a décor perspective, they also create a very bold look, making them an easy choice to fill up a bare spot on your walls. An eye mirror can be mixed into a gallery wall as well, and doesn’t have to be eye level, either. Depending on the size and placement, it can be pure decoration or a more functional part of your walls. An eye mirror can also be placed with a cluster of other small, decorative mirrors. In other words, it’s versatile as well as potentially protective.
Interested in taking part in this trend? Here are 9 eye-catching mirrors ready to hang on your walls.