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Bathroom Mirror Buying Guide
Swapping out your old bathroom mirror for something contemporary and up to date is a simple and inexpensive way to update your decor.
There are a few important decisions you need to make before you start your project.
Determining the size and shape you’re searching for and what type of finish you desire will help you when shopping for options. You’ll also need to assess how best to remove your existing mirrors, and what type of mounting option you want to use for the new ones.
A. Types of Bathroom Mirrors
When most people think of a bathroom mirror, they envision one large, solid piece of glass that sits over the vanity. While that may be a common design choice, it can lack character and personality.
There are several different types of mirrors that could have a place in your bathroom. Here are a few to consider.
1. Wall Mirror
Wall mirror is a general term for any mirror that is mounted directly on a wall. You can find these anywhere in your home.
Specific to your bathroom, wall mirrors can be a variety of shapes and sizes to fit your space best and match your decor. Some options are frameless, while others can have a frame to provide a pop of color, or material compliment or contrast to your vanity and hardware.
Depending on the size and shape of your wall mounted mirror, they can be easy to install or be a larger job. We’ll discuss installation considerations below, but be aware that the bigger and heavier your wall mirror, the most important it is to do a careful and complete job of hanging it in your bathroom.
2. Decorative Mirrors
Source: Red Candy
Decorative mirrors usually fall under the category of wall mirrors, but when it comes to bathroom design, they deserve to be mentioned separately.
These smaller wall-mounted options come in a variety of shapes and sizes and can include interesting design elements by being uniquely shaped like birds, flowers, the sun, or simple geometric shapes that aren’t a typical square or rectangle.
Additionally, decorative bathroom mirrors may include especially interesting frames that add ornate, modern, or glamorous touches to your space.
Their dimensions tend to be on the small side, so it’s possible to create a mosaic or arrange a combination of them in an artful pattern for a unique display feature that adds depth to your room.
3. Full-Length Mirror
Full-length mirrors help create space and bring more light into a bathroom.
Depending on the space, you can mount them horizontally over your dual vanity to add a large reflective surface to your design without having to sacrifice style like you would with a traditional, frameless mirror.
A full-length mirror could also be mounted vertically across from a vanity mirror to create the illusion of more space and give you a way to see yourself from head to toe.
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Other ways to incorporate a full-length mirror into your bathroom is as part of the shower door, bathroom door, or on the door leading to your private commode.
4. Floor Mirror
The floor mirror is a full-length mirror that is a perfect addition to a bathroom.
Constructed with an independent frame, these options don’t require any installation beyond unfolding and placing them where they best fit.
Many floor mirrors can be angled, which can make the ceilings in your bathroom look higher. These angles also have a slimming effect on your reflection.
Often, floor mirrors have a classic, ornate designs. These are appealing if you have a soaker tub, or have opted for traditional finishes like brass or wood in your space.
They are also appealing because they’re versatile and easy to move. Much like a traditional wall-mounted full-length mirror, they can be placed across from a window or another mirror to open up your space and make even the smallest bathrooms seem much larger.
5. Pivot Mirror
A pivot mirror is a type of wall-mounted mirror that is a perfect addition to a bathroom vanity. Equipped with a flexible mount, this option pulls away from the wall and angles in several different directions to give you the right view and lighting to apply makeup or style your hair.
Some options are two-sided and feature a traditional mirror surface on one, and a magnified surface on the opposite side.
Additionally, some pivot mirrors may also have built-in lighting options.
6. Medicine Cabinet
Source: Signature Hardware
The days of the boring medicine cabinet are over.
While homeowners still need the storage provided by the traditional bathroom fixture, now there are built-in mirrored options that can complement your space while still providing hidden shelving.
Some options integrate into your over the vanity mirror, while others are stand-alone medicine cabinets with interesting design elements that look more like decor and less like a necessary evil.
7. Lighted Mirror
Lighted mirror technology has come a long way in recent years. Now, not only can you brighten your bathroom, but your design can also mimic natural light creating optimum conditions for makeup application.
These options are particularly useful if you have a bathroom that doesn’t have any windows because it will assist with creating a light and bright space.
B. Bathroom Mirror Shape
Once you’ve determined which mirror type or types make the most sense to help you create a tranquil bathroom, it’s time to choose the right shape.
Note that not every kind of mirror will be available in every shape. For example, you won’t find a floor mirror with a small, decorative design.
That said, there are literally dozens of mirror shapes that could compliment your space perfectly. Here we’ll examine the most common including a square, rectangle, oval, circle, hexagonal (six-sided), octagonal (eight-sided), and a few of the unique shapes available.
1. Square Bathroom Mirrors
Square bathroom mirrors are the same dimensions across as they are up and down, but this classic geometric shape doesn’t need to be boring.
Design features like intricate framing, backlighting, and mounting options that angle the mirror off the wall can create interest while still showcasing a classic or contemporary style.
Square mirrors are typically smaller than a rectangle or oval shapes, which might be perfect for your space. If you don’t want to see things like your toilet or laundry basket reflected back to you, using a square mirror is an effective way to limit what’s visible in the reflection.
2. Rectangle Bathroom Mirrors
Source: Better Homes and Gardens
Rectangle shaped mirrors are one of the most common, and they can be placed in your bathroom in a variety of ways for maximum impact.
Depending on the size and style of your vanity, you may want to purchase a mirror that matches the width to create seamless lines from your sink to the top of the reflection.
Rectangular mirrors can be hung vertically or horizontally. A vertical hang makes sense over a single-sink vanity, or over each individual sink if you have a double set-up. Positioning your mirror length-wise is also a smart choice if you have a full-length option and want to use it to survey your appearance from head to toe.
You could also hang a full-length mirror long ways and position it centered over your vanity. This creates not only an interesting design element, but it reflects natural light making your space seem larger and more open.
3. Oval Bathroom Mirrors
Oval mirrors are an excellent choice if you have limited wall space or are trying to achieve an elegant look. Unlike their circular counterparts, ovals can fit into narrow designs, and are an optimal choice if you want a full-length option but don’t have a wide space.
Sometimes thought to be a formal or regal shape, an oval mirror can add a luxurious feel to your bathroom.
Like mirrors of other shapes, oval options can be mounted vertically or horizontally. They come in both frameless and framed versions, making it easy to match them with your existing decor.
4. Circle Bathroom Mirrors
Source: Seasons in Color
Circular bathroom mirrors can create dynamic contrasts in your bathroom that enhance your design elements. If you have angular sinks, tiles, or fixtures, adding a perfectly proportional circular mirror or two can break up the hard edges in the space.
Conversely, if your design features soft edges and a variety of shapes, a round mirror may complement and enhance the overall look.
Round mirrors are also a popular form to use when creating a mosaic or tiled look in a bathroom. Try selecting several frameless round options of different sizes and arranging them on a wall opposite a full-length mirror to add dimension to space.
5. Hexagon Bathroom Mirrors
Source: Decor Pad
Bathroom mirrors with a hexagon, or six-sided shape, are an amazing geometric option to update a classic style. Paired with design elements like classic marble, oval sinks, round tubs, and ornate fixtures, this shape adds a modern, funky element to the room.
Remember, not all six-sided mirrors will have different sized sides. Here, the mirror sits vertically, but some designs will feature sides of the same length and add dimension to a space that might otherwise have a square or round mirror.
6. Octagon Bathroom Mirrors
Source: Decor Pad
While the octagon may be best known for being the shape of a stop sign, it is also a favorite mirror style used to update a bathroom.
Some designs feature an eight-sided mirror encased by a frame of the same shape, while others incorporate a round mirror within an octagonal frame.
If you’re feeling crafty and have a wood pallet laying around your yard or garage, you could use it to construct your own mirror from scratch.
7. Unique Bathroom Mirrors
Source: Poppington Art
In addition to all of the traditional mirror shapes, there are a plethora of unique possibilities to enhance your space.
Perfect to add interest to clean, contemporary lines, or match intricate decor, unusually shaped mirrors could become the talking point of your bathroom.
Keep in mind; one-of-a-kind shapes are available both in the cut of the glass and in the framing. For example, you could have a traditional rectangular piece of glass framed by an intricate and unusual frame which would make it look extraordinary mounted in your washroom.
C. Frame Materials and Finishes
Once you’ve determined the type, shape, and size of mirror that will best compliment your bathroom design, you’ll need to decide on whether or not you want to include a frame.
Bathroom mirrors are available in both frameless and framed varieties, and there are hundreds of frame finishes that can enhance your selection.
If you decide you like the look of a framed mirror, it’s crucial that you choose a material and finish that compliments your current design scheme.
Whether you opt for wood, glass, aluminum, bronze, copper, acrylic, or stone, you can choose a frame that matches, or enhances your existing color palette and materials.
Wood-framed mirrors can look classic, contemporary, or rustic depending on their size, shape, and finish.
As a natural material, wood can help bring warmth to the otherwise cold surfaces you sometimes see in bathrooms like marble, granite, and tile.
Wood is also a very versatile option as it comes in a variety of colors, and can be enhanced by staining or painting the surface giving you limitless options to match a color or design scheme.
Source: Barbara L Clark
Framing glass with glass may seem odd, but it creates a visually stunning design that fits with nearly any type of materials or finishes in your bathroom.
You’ll commonly find mirrors framed with mirrored glass, opaque glass, or different colors of sea glass to add an element of color to the accent.
Source: Ballard Designs
Aluminum is a common metal seen in the bathroom space because it doesn’t rust. While it can corrode over time, applying an aluminum protectant will keep it fresh and bright.
If you have silver fixtures in your bathroom, a mirror with an aluminum frame will compliment your design. It’s also a good choice if you have bright, bold colors or other intricate elements and don’t want to overdo the space with too many flashy visual elements.
Bronze is another metal that doesn’t contain any iron and therefore doesn’t rust, so it’s a good choice in the damp environment found in a bathroom.
While it can both coordinate or contrast with your faucet and fixtures, it’s important to note that, compared to aluminum, bronze is very hefty. If you choose a mirror with a bronze frame, be prepared to take a few extra steps to ensure it’s securely anchored to the wall.
Copper is another material that won’t rust, but it will turn green with prolonged exposure to water. If you choose a mirror with a copper frame, be sure to regularly protect it against the elements to keep it looking classy forever.
Selecting a mirror with a copper design element adds a warm and sometimes feminine touch to your bathroom. A popular choice in elegant powder rooms and primary suites alike, this option can become the focal point of the entire space.
Acrylic is a durable material that comes in every color of the rainbow. As a mirror frame, it can be crafted into any shape and dimension that best suits your needs.
Also called composite, it’s an affordable option to add a little style without draining your budget.
Source: Decor Snob
Mirrors enhanced with stone are the perfect way to bring earthy elements into your bathroom. Common in spas and luxury hotels, stone-framed mirrors are a high-end finish in the space.
Some options, like the one pictured here, will have a mosaic pattern, while others can be cut from a solid piece of stone like granite.
Be warned, these mirrors are weighty, and while the stone is durable, it will be just as damaged as the mirror if it’s dropped.
Choosing your frame isn’t as simple as just selecting the material you like best. With each type, you may have more than one option for finishes that will give it a shiny, matte, or opaque look.
Here are a few to consider.
Source: Home Depot
An opaque finish typically refers to glass frames, but can also be applied to metal like aluminum or copper.
A frame with an opaque finish won’t reflect any light and is neither transparent nor translucent. In layman’s terms, you might say an opaque finish looks cloudy.
Combining opaque glass with a reflective surface like a mirror is one way to keep your bathroom light and bright.
b. High Gloss
Glossy finishes have a lot of sheen and reflect a lot of light. Combined with a mirror, this frame type can have dramatic effects in a bathroom.
Someone who likes a lot of “bling” may be drawn to a high-gloss finish.
Source: VProctor Home Designs
The opposite of a high-gloss finish, a matte finish doesn’t reflect much light. Also called a satin finish, it looks beautiful on natural wood. It’s also a good option if you have lots of shine in your bathroom and want a more subtle element in your mirror frame.
Products like Krylon can help you achieve a matte finish on your DIY projects.
3. Beveled vs. Non-Beveled
Source: Pottery Barn
One last mirror consideration is whether you choose a beveled or non-beveled edge.
A non-beveled mirror will have a flat edge that leads directly into the frame, or if you’ve opted to go frameless, right to the edge of the surface.
A beveled mirror will have perpendicular cuts in the glass to add edge to the surface. Think of it like crown molding or baseboards on the walls of your home.
There are aesthetic arguments that could be made for either, but it comes down to your personal preference.
Remember to ask the following questions when you’re choosing the right bathroom mirror for your space:
- How much room do I have to work with?
- Keep in mind that if you’re purchasing a mirror for a large space, like over a dual sink and vanity, you could incorporate two or smaller options.
- The shape you choose may depend on how much space you have available.
- What shapes the best match my current design?
- You can stay consistent, matching round sinks with round mirrors.
- You can also add some visual contrast by pairing different shapes, like square sinks and oval mirrors.
- Do I want a framed or frameless mirror?
- What materials would add dimension to my current design?
- Do they match your color scheme?
- Do they match your fixtures?
- What is my budget?
Here are some other important factors to consider when renovating the mirrors in your bathroom.
A. Installation Considerations
An important aspect of getting your bathroom mirror renovation complete is having a plan for installation.
Unless you’re building your home from scratch, it’s likely that your project will happen in two parts. First, you’ll need to remove the mirrors you currently have hanging in the room.
If you’re lucky, they will be wall mounted and not glued, but most homes with a large, single-pane of glass will have mirrors affixed to the wall.
To safely remove the existing glass, you’ll need to tape your mirror and pry it from the wall carefully working from top to bottom.
Here’s a helpful video tutorial to show you how:
The second step is to install your new mirror.
Again, your installation technique will depend on the type of mirror you’ve chosen for your space. Make sure that you hang your mirror in the safest and most efficient way possible, taking extra care to ensure that your method will support the weight.
Most manufacturers will include an installation guide with the mirror to give you tips on the best way to hang it. will depend on the type of mirror you’ve chosen for your space.
If you’re not sure how to proceed, stop by your local hardware store or consider enlisting the help of a local handyman to finish the job.
B. Shipping and Handling
Large mirrors or mirrors with frames made from heavy materials like metal or stone weigh a lot. This can come into play if you’re ordering your bathroom mirrors online.
Find out how much it weighs, and determine how much the seller charges for shipping and handling. If they base their fee on weight, you might be in for a shock when you check out.
Many retailers will offer freight, flat-rate, or options to pick up in-store for free that could save you money.
It’s also important to research their damage and return policy. Obviously, mirrors are fragile and may break during shipment. Ensure that any damages are covered and that you can return the item if anything happens in transit.
If that’s not an option, but the deal is too good to pass up, inquire about shipping insurance. While it wouldn’t guarantee a replacement, the insurance could reimburse you for the cost of the mirror if it’s damaged en route to you.
C. Feng Shui
If you’re a believer in Feng Shui, you know that mirrors are a tool for all that ails you if your energy is off in your home.
In the bathroom, having an east-facing mirror can promote health, and mirrors that face a beautiful view from outside can draw positive energy into your home.
Whether you practice or not, keeping Feng Shui considerations in mind can help you create a balanced design that is both visually and spiritually pleasing in your bathroom.
D. Cost and Budget
The cost of a bathroom mirror varies widely depending on the size, type, frame, and brand you choose.
Depending on what style most appeals to you, you could spend anywhere from less than $100 up to $1,000 or more.
If you want a high-tech option with LED lighting, or you’re searching for a design with high-end materials or antique finishes, expect to pay more for your mirror.
The most expensive option involves a lot of gadgets, like this ceiling-mounted, hand-brushed stainless steel model from WS Bath Collections that retails for over $4,000.
On average, a beautiful mirror that will fit your space perfectly will cost between $200 and $500.
Calculate shipping and installation materials into your overall budget. Remember, if you’re not confident that you can safely hang the mirror yourself, you’ll also want to factor in the cost of a handyman who can do the work for you.
Where to Buy Bathroom Mirrors Online
There are dozens of places to purchase bathroom mirrors online. These retailers have extensive selections and may offer extra perks like free shipping, in-store pickup, or insurance on your purchase.