A Comprehensive Guide to Bathroom Mirrors
Once the human kind discovered the magic of mirrors, there was no going back. Today, we are surrounded by various items and reflective surfaces, yet mirrors remain hallmarks of the interior design. Some rooms do not feature them, but a bathroom can hardly do without one. Many people cannot even imagine starting a day without taking a look at that reflective surface.
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And who can blame them? Mirrors are a perfect blend of functionality and style, elements that always spark attention. They are an affordable addition to any bathroom space, and also the one that makes a big difference. Therefore, you should consider them regardless of whether you want better makeup application, more pleasing grooming rituals, or make the bathroom more inviting.
Choosing the mirror that does the trick for you is not that simple. The spellbinding world of bathroom mirrors is teeming with amazing possibilities. In this day and age, we have mirrors that cover whole walls and those that fit in the pocket. There are modern and vintage style mirrors as well as everything you can imagine in between.
And if you want to find the right product, there is actually a wide array of factors to take into account. To name a few, mirrors involve different styles, frames, sizes, materials, magnifying features, etc. In other words, you have no other choice but to do the homework. The goal is to find a mirror that makes your bathroom look great, but also supports your daily habits.
So, create a checklist of everything you want and think about something that makes sense in terms of your bathroom realities. We will offer you a helping hand, walk you through different options, and allow you cherry-pick the mirror that is the best match for you and your bathroom.
New design heights
Mirrors, regardless of their shape and size, have a profound impact on any bathroom space. They hold the power to complement other design features, anchor the overall style, and make your life much easier. Taking all this into account, mirrors should never be an afterthought. Those who are prepared to invest time and money into this endeavor quickly discover that a great mirror inevitably finds a way to reward you on a daily basis.
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That is all well and fine, but there is one thing that complicates things— you cannot really view your space completed with a mirror, at least until you put the chosen one in it. But, do not fret. There are many ways to safeguard against mistakes. To come on top and hit the ideal look, you will mostly have to plan ahead of time. There will be a few hard rules to follow and then the rest is on you alone.
The good news is that there is no shortage of excellent products floating around. The enormous range reflects the fact that design thinking and concepts have changed. We have moved light years past the dull bathrooms, spaces where the only mirror was the one hiding in a medicine cabinet or hanging above the sink. Today, we see mirrors that span the whole width of the counter and cover almost the entire wall. Expectations have changed and few want to stare at an uninspiring rectangle on the wall anymore.
For now, you should recognize the great potential of the right mirror in the right place.
Of course, we are not suggesting you need to go big, merely that you have that option should you wish it so. For now, you should recognize the great potential of the right mirror in the right place. It can give your shelter a nice ambiance and it also speaks volumes about who you are. What is more, it provides utility as you go about your daily habits. Therefore, if you are serious about finding a great product, you should consider more than just the one element, be it functionality, aesthetics, or something else.
The right placement
Since placement and size are two of the main issues, let us address them first. Of course, you should know that they are closely tied to one another, but let’s start with the placement of the bathroom mirror. In general, you have the freedom to pursue your vision. However, if you want to witness the real magic, take it slow.
One thing you should try to avoid is cluttering your walls. A bathroom should have a laidback and relaxed atmosphere. It is easy to hamper it when adding new elements, which is a mistake many homeowners make. In a nutshell, everything you introduce, including a mirror, should really count. So, use mirrors to breathe some life into walls, not overload them. Also, pay attention to how lighting (natural or artificial) interacts with the surface.
Another key rule is to make the correct measurements before deciding on the size. With that in mind, choose the spot you feel is right from the functional and aesthetic point of view. You can think boldly and certainly look beyond obvious places like the ones above the sink or behind the vanity; if you want to play it safe, be my guest. The golden rule here is: Measure twice and cut once.
In case you have double sinks, for instance, you have to decide whether to buy one or two mirrors; mirrors are usually placed at least 3-6 inches from the ceiling and a few inches above the backlash, to mitigate the backsplash.
Furthermore, they need to be adjusted according to the height of the person who uses them. To make it easier for your guests to use the bathroom, as well as other members of the household, you might want to assume a person of average height is standing in front of it. And if you want to also install lights alongside your mirror, you have to factor in that as well.
It is time to address another vital aspect, the size. Space is a valuable asset in almost any bathroom. Large mirrors make more sense in rooms that are not constrained in this sense but also bathrooms that get their fair share of natural light. This is because reflective surface of the mirror bounces the light around and provided that you place it properly, fosters an enthralling airy atmosphere.
There are no one-size-fits-all solutions.
Moreover, bigger mirrors can be a game-changer in a small bathroom, in case you manage to squeeze them in. They add the much-needed sense of depth to the space and make it appear larger than it actually is. Yet, you should realize that larger is not always the better. From a design standpoint, smaller, but more beautiful could be a better course of action. You could fit scones more easily around smaller mirrors than those that occupy the whole wall.
This brings us to one of the key takeaways: in the world of interior design, there are no one-size-fits-all solutions. There are just rules that may apply depending on a unique set of circumstances. Speaking of rules, one of them is that everything should line up perfectly instead of visually conflicting or fighting for your attention. Here, proportion is a vital dimension you cannot afford to neglect. So, take a deep breath before making any permanent commitments.
You might be facing a challenge due to the fact that pre-made mirrors are not designed with your bathroom in mind. Yet, you want a fairly balanced look, which is always a sound option. This is to say you need to grasp the bigger picture. Then again, as we have indicated, a solution such as an oversized mirror holds the power to transform the space and make it look twice as big. As you can notice, on this creative journey, there are many avenues to explore, so take a step back and soak in the scenery.
Deciding on the size and placement is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a matrix of other factors that make or break your efforts. For instance, what is the type of the mirror you would like to purchase: a makeup, wall, or a vanity mirror? Do you want a 2X magnification or a 3X magnification? What are your preferences in terms of colors and style of the frame? The list of questions goes on and each one demands a definite answer.
To make things a bit simpler, you should first get clear on what type of mirror you are searching for. First on the list, we come across makeup mirrors that come in various shapes and sizes. They are a true lifesaver for people who groom and beautify themselves regularly. A superb makeup mirror enables you to unleash your inner makeup artist. In recent years, we have seen some nice bells and whistles brought to us by modern technology. Accessories like lighting and tech features are a blast, but let us for now discuss one that is all about functionality.
Namely, a LED light magnifying mirror with a dimmer is one of the most popular products in the market right now. The one with a 5X magnification helps a great deal when trying to do precision work with the makeup. It prevents beauty blunders and gives you a whole new perspective. Of course, some people may not need such magnification. Regardless, we recommend you look for a product with a flexible arm or the one that is height adjustable, for more versatility.
You might also want to check out suction cup makeup mirrors and a magnifying suction cup shower shaving mirrors. The latter one, as the name suggests, is a product that provides great utility for a certain grooming activity. For now, we will leave the topic of style aside in order to present your other main types aside from makeup mirrors.
Fee standing and wall mirrors
So, what about free standing makeup mirrors? I would say it’s a pretty straightforward case. Generally, it is a more functional solution than a hand-held mirror and for obvious reasons too. You can move it around to make the most of lighting, which is why it remains one of the most popular types of makeup products.
Next, we recommend you consider having wall mounted mirrors. They reduce the clutter on the counter and allow you to utilize vertical space in your bathroom, which is always a good idea. Unlike hand-held makeup mirrors, for instance, they cannot be moved around, but that is fine since you have both hands free anyway.
Along the similar lines, we come across various different types of wall mirrors that are still a bathroom design staple. Here, we must highlight decorative wall mirrors as one of the greatest options. They usually come in smaller sizes and fit even the most awkward spaces in the bathroom. They can be shaped as silhouettes and feature really striking frame design. But, as a general rule of thumb, you can use virtually any kind of wall mirror for your bathroom. This kind of freedom opens up some exciting possibilities.
If classic savor is your cup of tea, you can opt for wood wall mirrors. These decorated frames infuse your blank surfaces with visual appeal and character. They can be used as crown jewels of your style and additions that offer everyday functionality. All in all, they offer great value for your bathroom. Of course, there are also wood mirrors that lean towards modern aesthetics, such as stripes mirror with teak frame, mirrors with the metallic black board, or bamboo-framed rectangular wall mirror.
You can find a middle ground as well, a mirror with a simple, thin frame that is made from a textured material. There is also one option you should consider; we’re referring to a cabinet vanity or medicine cabinet with a built-in mirrored front. Of course, it cannot be denied that this is a highly practical solution as it blends mirror with the storage space, which comes at a premium in most bathrooms. However, if you ask me, it is not the most sophisticated and attractive sight.
One exception would be the solution of insetting medicine cabinet mirrors into the cavities. That way, you are preventing the storage from visually shrinking the room. You are making the best use of space that would otherwise remain unutilized. Also, to be fair, it is far from impossible to find a cabinet that looks nice. Mounted boxes traditionally come in traditional style, but recent years have brought some modern pieces that are quite visually pleasing.
We should mention one option that is a great way to achieve dazzling success. It’s meant for people working with unusual layouts or having to maneuver around obstacles like odd windows. So, consider the possibilities of suspended mirrors that do not hang flat on the wall. You can hang them on a ceiling or window frame. Alternatively, some designers choose to mount it on rails rising from the counter. This innovative approach helps you overcome difficulties and still place mirror in a functional spot.
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Spectrum of materials
Apart from their basic purpose, bear in mind that mirrors include a great number of frames, made from different materials and finishes.
Some of these are aluminum, wood, brass, glass, bronze, and copper. Each of them has different physical and aesthetic qualities. It pleases us that it is quite easy to find quality chrome and brass makeup mirrors, which are the two most common materials. Some of them are designed to sit on the vanity, while others can be mounted on the wall. It is also possible to find a combination of chrome and satin nickel, as well as stunning mirrors embellished with Swarovski crystals. Let us not forget a vast spectrum of stainless steel mirrors.
We recommend a single out 360-degree rotating cabinet mirrors and frameless square vanity mirrors as paragons of modern style and function. They are a natural fit in minimalist spaces without busy décor. Namely, while rotating function gives you the freedom to manipulate the product as you wish, a frameless body emits that sleek, contemporary charm many people crave for in bathrooms. There is also a frameless, horizontal or vertical wall mirror made from stainless steel that could be what you are looking for.
Also, we should take into consideration solid surface makeup mirrors, one of the most exciting innovations in recent years. I have seen some amazing, stone round mirrors that look nice on the counter. There are other novelties hitting the shelves almost on a daily basis: One can find excellent products such as double-sided, swing-extendable mirrors. However, we shall not go into detail on them. Feel free to explore the possibilities of less common materials.
Next, take one look back at the dimension of practicality. Assess how easy it is to install a certain mirror and figure out which tools should you use in the process. Similarly, you need to see if you can install the mirror yourself or do you need to hire a professional.
There are three basic options for installation. Firstly, if you do not plan on changing the mirrors for many years, then permanent installation is something you should muse on. Usually, people utilize glue to attach the mirror. Liquid nails and similar solutions are engineered to withstand heavy load and keep it firmly in place over a prolonged period of time.
Then again, you can also go for semi-permanent installation. It reduces the amount of work you are going to do during the next bathroom renovation or mirror replacement. This means you would be using less permanent glue that contains chemicals that make it looser. They react to glue removers and make your life easier. So, try to figure out how long you want to use a certain mirror.
There is the third, temporary option as well. It entails screwing in wire and mirror brackets to the wall. There is no real bonding whatsoever. This method is easily the least expensive as well as easiest to remove and install. Beginners and newcomers to the world of DIY might be tempted to go down this road. Just know that it does have a limited application: Temporary installation is ideal for those leasing a home, apartment, or a condo.
Large and hefty mirrors should always be mounted on the wall. It is important that you inspect the type of the wall the mirror will be mounted on. Older bathrooms sometimes have plaster walls that crack and peel when exposed to the pressure of a heavy weight. On the other hand, you do not have to worry when mounting on a drywall, as it is quite sturdy.
Matters of style
Finally, we come to the most fun part— selecting a mirror that speaks to your stylistic preferences. They are one of the most important factors here and they should never take a backseat. It is your space, so make an effort to personalize it. The great thing about mirrors is that they can take center stage as a statement piece or serve as supporting actors. It is entirely up to you to make the call.
So, what are the concrete choices related to the visual side of things you need to make?
Well, shape always plays a vital role. Rectangular and oval shapes may be the most common, but there are also diamond and other interesting geometrical models you can explore. Whatever you do, you should not just do it on a whim.
I would really advise the following. Simply, create a template for the shape of the mirror you fancy. Cut the piece of paper or poster board and tape it to the wall. Putting the plainness or of the surface aside, discern how the shape looks on the wall. This is a great way to move forward with confidence, even when you are buying online and unable to really inspect the product. Either that or you try to use augmented reality app.
It does not come as a surprise that most people have a dilemma between buying a square or a round mirror. Naturally, you can get the one that suits your sense of style better. That may be so, but some objective qualities are at play as well.
Round models are widely used because they bring softness to the space and make it feel more relaxed. They work wonders for bathrooms with a lot of hard surfaces and crisp lines, although they can be nice match for curvy pedestal sinks as well. To take it to the next, more laidback level, hang the round mirror on a simple strap or a chain.
Similarly, it goes without saying that elements like frame matter a great deal not just because they pack that extra visual punch on their own. If you want to achieve a coherent look (and it would be wise to do so), they also have to match other accessories and furniture in the bathroom. Thus, make sure that your mirror is not too much of an attention seeker. An oval-shaped mirror with an intricate frame, which is undeniably beautiful, might not fit the bigger picture.
For example, in case your bathroom oozes warmth and sports organic décor, then a brushed aluminum frame might seem out of place. Instead, a mirror with an aged bronze frame would be a much better solution. The modern style works well with glass-framed mirrors that create the floating illusion (they are usually glued to the wall), while vintage bathrooms and wooden frames are a match made in heaven.
A narrow frame also resonates with sleekness and is a good fit for modern bathrooms. Thicker frames tend to be more ornate and richer in texture. A tiled frame can be a neat choice if you want to match the mirror with wall and floor tiles. I would also ponder custom-cut mirrors and frames. In a nutshell, you cherry-pick mirrored glass and frame separately. This allows you to make a personal statement and fit a mirror into unusually-sized spaces, which is hard to pull off with prefab mirrors.
And besides that, you can end up with some really unique looking piece. So, if you can afford them, these stylish mirrors are a win-win. It is amazing how such elements make an instant change and inject personality into bathrooms. For that, I would pay extra any day of the week.
If you thought that the decision-making process ends here, well, sorry to disappoint you, but you’re not quite finished yet.
We would recommend you to try to pay close attention to the type of the finish. These fine layers can leave quite an impression. Frosted glass frames give off an understated feeling without being too plain. A high-gloss finish is a whole different animal. It draws attention and is hard to miss in a bathroom, even when there are other high-impact décor items.
Another decision to make is the color of the mirror. Apart from the classic silver, most products feature white, black, or golden finish. You cannot go wrong with these tones, unless your bathroom includes colors that would clash with these. Beyond that a vast spectrum of colors and combination awaits. Whatever you do, you might want to adhere to the rules of harmony and if you know what you are doing, you can add drama with contrasts. An eclectic style is also an option for those who are confident in their design skills.
We know it may seem more tempting, but a stunning mirror could also be harder to mix and match with other elements in the bathroom. Also, visually striking frames and finishes are not an ideal solution for colorful and heavily patterned walls (with an exotic wallpaper, for example). Contrary to that, bathrooms that lack colors could really use a mirror with a brighter frame. A splash of vibrancy here and there really breaks up monotony nicely.
It may seem that there are too many rules that spoil the fun. Well, if you want a glimpse of perfection, it’s the only way to go unfortunately.
Let there be light
As we approach the final section of our comprehensive guide, we have to consider the lighting in the room. This is always an essential dimension for interior design. In a bathroom, it is even more important to get it right. Wall mirrors are less flexible and need to be place in a way that is aligned with the lighting design in your bathroom. One of the nice solutions would be to install sconces alongside the mirror (smaller ones are suitable for bathroom use) or place lights above it. Do not forget that lighting requires outlets, so plan your design and measurements properly.
Remember also that you can go for mirrors with built-in lighting— this saves you the hassle of buying lights separately. For instance, a mirror with backlit LED borders looks like something straight of an SF movie. Illuminated mirrors are those with external light that reflects back off the mirror surface. Some models have adjustable light, while others have fixed ones. They feature an attention-arresting look, bulbs that are easy to replace, and warm mirror surface that reduces the misting effect.
The only thing to remember is that they may require services of a certified electrician. You do not want to mess this up and risk injury, or accident like fire occurring. In any regard, there should be enough light to see your reflection clearly, but not too much to cause annoying glare.
Extra features and additional considerations
So, it is best to go step by step and make choices regarding basic features and functions of the mirror. Also, keep an eye on the budget. Mirrors vary widely when it comes to prices (usually falling between $50 and $1000), depending on the size, material, and style. Generally, we believe in quality, design and presentation, which meet all the luxury mirror standards.
Depending on your financial means, you could elevate the whole bathroom style with a deluxe product in the league of a Swarovski crystals makeup mirrors; splurging a bit is totally fine, especially considering all the benefits that a majestic mirror adds to your space. Now would also be a good time to mention some smaller details of mirror purchasing.
You should decide whether you want a single- or double-sided makeup mirror. Moreover, it would not be wise to overlook moisture resistance. Not all ornamental frames are suited for moisture-heavy areas. Wood and certain types of metal frame do not react well to such conditions and deteriorate over time. Look for labels that state the desired model is moisture-resistant. Frameless beveled edge mirrors are a no-brainer in this regard and pose a viable alternative.
Next, see how much magnification you require. We have already mentioned these makeup mirror features. Note that the minimum is 2X, while the maximum is usually 8X magnification. This aspect is related only to makeup mirrors, although some other models could include smaller magnifying areas. Once you get these basics, you can turn your attention to some very cool features that modern mirrors possess.
You may be happy to hear that marvels of modern technology are present. There are IP sensor mirrors that have an electric proximity function for lighting control. Shaver sockets come in handy if you lack a dedicated power outlet in a suitable location. It is also not that uncommon to see mirrors with built-in, integrated clocks and radios. The list of features goes on and encompasses some outlandish inventions.
One piece of advice before we conclude this comprehensive guide- feel free to think outside the box. Once you become aware of all the key design principles, the imagination can run wild and guide your final decision. Overcome all the obstacles on the way to making your vivid dream a reality.
For instance, to make a bold style statement, you can pick one wall and arrange small square mirrors in a grid pattern. A spectacle like this is not that common in the bathroom, but there is really no reason for you to limit yourself when it comes to matters of visual allure. Your imagination is your only obstacle. We also see different solutions such as several skinny mirrors clustered close together. This gives your room a more vertical look instead of emphasizing the horizontal dimension.
In recent years, people are daring to be different. They are choosing more and more interesting and quite unconventional solutions. They want nothing short of a uniquely-designed personal oasis. Some bathrooms feature enormous mirrors that create enthralling space and there are those that have so many mirrors you can barely count. These may be extreme cases, but the point is that you should feel free to get your creative juices flowing by all means.
And if you still have any dilemmas, pay a visit our store on Houzz or seek out an interior designer & decorator for professional advice. Do not get carried away and weigh the options carefully. Visit showrooms, hardware stores, and other places where that mirror you crave for could be waiting for you. Also, check refund, return, and exchange policies. Keep in mind that the mirror looks smaller in the store than it would look in your bathroom.
The options are near endless but keep it in line with your bathroom décor and style. A mirror is much more than just a place where you prepare yourself for the day, so treat it as such.
It is easy to overlook a mirror. When we set our gaze on it, we often see only our own reflection. However, to get the most bang for your buck, there are various considerations to make before going to the store or shopping online. You can follow what is trendy and fashionable, but always factor in your needs and taste. Through it all, never lose sight of measurements and small details.
Do your homework and arm yourself with knowledge. Familiarize yourself with different types of mirrors and how you can use them, both in terms of decorative potential and utility. Factors like size always play a vital role, especially in rooms that are often the smallest ones in a typical household. Determine the appropriate style and placement before taking the plunge. See what accessories, if any, you would like to be included.
Eliminate stress and frustration out of the process by covering all the bases and doing a proper research. Rest assured that it will all be worth it in the end. Mirrors lend style to a room and they make your day-to-day life easier and more enjoyable. So, use them to deliver personal touches to your sanctuary of relaxation. Spruce up your room and foster an illusion of more space. Whatever floats your boat, you should be able to find it. Have fun choosing and adding your new mirror.
Create a unique effect to blow away visitors and pamper yourself.