How to Choose the Right Bathroom Mirror

How to Choose the Right Bathroom Mirror
Most people don’t spend much time thinking about their bathroom mirrors. They act as a decorating detail that isn’t given a lot of attention in most cases. However, more people should look deeper into their bathroom mirrors since they are used every single day. Not only does a mirror make it easier to handle daily grooming, but the right mirror can add style and personality to a bathroom. 
It’s also a lot less challenging to install a new mirror than to switch out a sink, toilet, or shower. A bathroom mirror can complement other decor to offer more of the style you prefer. It can also be more understated and let a feature like the wallpaper or a sink shine. Regardless of which way you want to go, this article will help you choose the perfect bathroom mirror.

It’s just a bathroom mirror….how hard could it be, right? Have you ever washed your hands at a bathroom sink where the height of the mirror is off - maybe you could only see the top part of your face? It feels odd, right? Or, maybe the sconce lighting on the sides of the bathroom mirror don’t properly light the space. Or the bathroom mirror is too small compared to the sconces? Or too big? All just makes for an “off”, or uncomfortable feeling in the room. While maybe not smack-you-in-the-face obvious, seemingly basic elements like a vanity mirror can complement your space, or confuse it. Bathroom mirrors are a predominant component in the overall feel of your bathroom space.

quick tips 

Consider the sink size, your own height, and wall space – When choosing a bathroom mirror, you want the glass to be a few inches above eye level for the tallest person who will be using the bathroom. It should also hang low enough that shorter individuals can easily see in the mirror. 

Small mirrors, large mirrors, and mirrors in between all offer something different – Many people have a preference between small and large mirrors, but either can do the job. A large mirror gives you additional reflection space and can make a bathroom seem larger. A smaller mirror leaves room for other décor items like lamps and sconces. 

Remember to decide between framed and frameless mirrors – Another choice you will need to make is whether you use a framed or frameless mirror. Frameless mirrors have a clean, stylish look that is more modern if you prefer a spa-like atmosphere. Mirrors with frames add extra details and can fill up a space.

selecting the size

In most cases, a bathroom mirror size is determined based on the vanity size. Mirrors are typically two to four inches narrower than the vanity, but this can vary depending on your space’s style and configuration. You can decide to hang a mirror along an entire lengthy, narrow vanity or choose something smaller that is only found over the sink itself. 
To ensure the bathroom mirror you purchase meets your needs, measure the sink or vanity, and use those measurements to narrow down your options. While most people choose a mirror smaller than a vanity, that isn’t a requirement. Some people choose mirrors that are as large as the vanity, but it’s best not to go beyond that size. 
Another thing to consider is whether your mirror will house a medicine cabinet. If so, you’ll have a smaller selection and need to consider how much space your bandages, medications, and other items will take up. The mirror should be large enough to hold everything you need it to.

selecting a shape

Mirrors come in various sizes, shapes, and finishes, so you can really get creative with the one you choose. The most traditional option is going to be oval or rectangular with a style similar to other décor. However, mirrors can also be custom made to fit perfectly into a space. Are you a fan of modern homes? A minimal, sleek mirror could be the right choice for your needs. Many of these mirrors come with extras like screens that display the time and temperature or built-in light. You’ll also want to decide whether you prefer the look of a framed or frameless mirror when choosing the shape of mirror that looks best in your bathroom.

SELECTING where to hang 

Wondering where to hang the perfect mirror once you’ve purchased it? Some people are under the impression that a bathroom mirror has to be centered over the sink, but this isn’t always possible. That doesn’t mean that you should go without a mirror or lament having to do something a bit more unique. It might take time to get used to a mirror that isn’t over the sink, but it’s something you will become accustomed to. 
Another consideration is how far above the backsplash a mirror should be hung. The reality is that this depends on the actual space. Everything from the dimensions of the mirror to the ceiling height and location of other items will have an impact on your final choice. Test different options by making light marks on the wall and seeing if any area looks crowded. If it does, you may need to make a few changes. 
The most important thing is that the mirror is at eye level for anyone who uses it. Experts recommend placing the mirror at least five inches from the sink, a few inches over the faucet, and at least four feet above the floor. The best option is to center the bathroom mirror between the sink and the vanity lighting.

Let’s go through some rapid fire bathroom mirror q/a: 
Do you have side sconces over your sink? 
The safe bet is to go with a circular mirror. 
Is the bathroom wired for an overhead sconce? 
Go with a square or rectangular shaped mirror. 
Is it ok to mix metals? 
Absolutely! Even if all other finishes in the bathroom are consistent, it’s totally fine to use a different finish for the mirror! 
Is any mirror fine to use? 
If it’s going in a full bath, the mirror should be labeled “bath rated” to avoid mold, be of shatterproof construction, easily hung, etc.. If it’s going in a powder bath, having it be “bath rated” isn’t necessary, and you can choose a mirror from really anywhere. 
How do you decide simple v. ornate? 
Well, you know I don’t believe in design rules, but unless you’re a maximalist, it’s a safe bet that if your hardware, cabinetry and plumbing fixtures are all show stoppers, then go with a simple mirror.  If the hardware, cabinetry and plumbing are all very unremarkable, then try and knock it out of the park with a stunning mirror. 
What about the size of the mirror? 
General rule: same width as the vanity itself, but if that’s not possible, choosing a mirror that is 70%-80% width of the vanity is also fine. 
One mirror or two? 
There are those that say you should go with one large mirror to cover two sinks. However, I have seen separate mirrors hung over each sink with great effect by some designers. So I don’t believe in rules when it comes to this! If you go the route of multiple mirrors, using tall, skinny mirrors will emphasize verticality of the room. Using one large mirror tends to have the effect of opening up the room, since you get more reflection from the opposite wall. 
How tall should the mirror be? 
Between 30” and 36” will give you a good amount of space and plenty of visibility. The mirror should be hung to give the person at least a foot of clearance above and below his/her reflection. 

These are just some basic guidelines to get the juices flowing. Send me your pics of your bathroom spaces; I’d love to see the role of the mirror in the room!

Lori Shaw