How Mirrors Can Transform Your Bathroom

Mirrors are as much a statement piece as they are functional items. In the bathroom, you can use any number of mirrors to create the perfect combination of form and function, but only if you do it well. There are some do’s and don’ts to consider when it comes to mirror placement and selection, along with plenty of tips to help you make the most of the mirrors that you choose for your bathroom.

We’ll start with an important tip that should be at the forefront of your mind when you start looking at bathroom mirrors: you need to decide whether you are buying mirrors for style, function, or both. For example, you might choose a modern medicine cabinet that features a mirror for daily hygiene routines, while you select a more decorative framed oval mirror for the wall by the door to create a unique accent.

There’s a lot more to mirrors than that, though. Let’s dive in.


Photo by True Form Design and Building Inc.

What is the Importance of Well-Placed Bathroom Mirrors?

Mirror placement is everything. Too high and you can’t use them for anything. Too low, and they look out of place and are still unusable. Even mirrors that are used for decor need to be installed in the right place to create the right look. In a minute, we’ll talk about sizing and height requirements for mirrors that hang over your bathroom sink and/or vanity.

First, though, let’s talk about where else in the bathroom you might use mirrors. Some people may put a mirror off to the side of the vanity if they share a smaller space and want to have another mirror available. The biggest placement issue to avoid is hanging mirrors across from each other. This can cause a lot of issues with light reflection and it generally just doesn’t look good. More people are also installing mirrors in their showers so that things like shaving are easier. If you do this, choose a mirror that is designed for shower use and has anti-fog features for the best outcome.

Related: 6 Questions About Bathroom Mirrors

Hand Hammered Oval Copper Mirror

Hand Hammered Oval Copper Mirror

Mirrors Above the Sink

When installing mirrors above the bathroom sink or vanity, you’ll want to make sure that they are at an appropriate height so that they can be used. If they are too high, the shorter people in your household may not be able to use the mirror properly. Too low, and you’ll find yourself hunching or bending to try to get the right angle. Typically, bathroom mirrors are installed at eye level, which leaves plenty of space for people to see everything.

The average mirror size is 30-36 inches, but you can choose a larger mirror if you want something more dramatic or even if you just want to see more of your reflection. You don’t want a mirror to be more than 40 inches off the floor, and you’ll want to make sure that there is about 12 inches of space above your head.

Zenith Rectangular Mirror - Custom Painted Glossy Orange

Zenith Rectangular Mirror – Custom Painted Glossy Orange

Using Mirrors in Bathroom Design: Tips for Success

When you’re putting mirrors to use in the bathroom, you have a lot of different ways that you can go about it. Of course, some mirror placements will work better than others. There are also some unique ways to use mirrors as accent pieces and storage spaces, and so much more. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest tips for success with bathroom mirror placement and design.

Related: How To Decorate With Mirrors

Mirrored Storage

Instead of a plain mirror above the sink, you can choose to install a mirrored storage cabinet, which can either be a medicine cabinet or a more modern vanity mirror cabinet. These come with single, bi-fold, and tri-fold mirrors, allowing you to add as much functional mirror space to the room as you’d like. Plus, it saves you from compromising on storage because you get both.

Vanderbilt Triple Door Medicine Cabinet

Vanderbilt Triple Door Medicine Cabinet

Frames vs. Frameless Mirrors

Mirrors come in frameless and framed models, with several options for style and design among both categories. Frameless mirrors are modern, timeless, and offer a great way to create a seamless look. Framed mirrors, on the other hand, can offer a decorative touch to the space, as well as a more traditional look. Frames are a great way to add a unique flair or match a certain color in the space, too.

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Wall Mirrors

If you want to make a statement in the bathroom, you might consider mirroring an entire wall. This not only helps add light to the space, but it gives you plenty of space to check your image and make sure that everything is on point with your outfit, hair, and more. The plain look of a bathroom wall mirror can add that modern style to any space, allowing you to accentuate or mix and match styles.

Matte Black with Silver Leaf Round Decorative Wall Mirror

Matte Black with Silver Leaf Round Decorative Wall Mirror

Accentuate Windows

You can improve the natural light in your bathroom when you place mirrors across from windows. This opens up the space and helps reflect more natural light, which also makes the bathroom appear a bit larger. Small spaces will benefit from mirrors placed across from windows, but it can create a good result in any bathroom.

Related: 8 Trending Oval Bathroom Mirrors

Door Mirrors

Another option to save space and still get a lot of good mirrors in the bathroom is to use the back of the bathroom door for a full-length mirror. You can choose pre-made mirrors that are designed to be installed on doors or have a custom mirror made if you really want to complete the look. Just make sure that you have some door space and room for a handle, so everyone knows it’s a door.

Lunel Arched Mirror

Lunel Arched Mirror

LED Mirrors and Other Features

Today, several mirrors on the market include built-in LED lighting and other features, such as anti-fogging and even weather displays, screen sharing and camera, and so much more. These mirrors are gaining popularity because they offer better features and lighting than standard mirrors, and the built-in technology keeps people informed as to what’s going on while they’re getting ready. Looking to show off an outfit? Snap a pic with the smart mirror and send it off to your family and friends.

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We’re going to discuss mirror shape a bit more in-depth in the next section but suffice it to say that shape matters. Round mirrors often soften a space, while square or rectangular mirrors offer a sharp, contemporary look that is seen more often in modern bathrooms. Odd-shaped mirrors are a great choice to add depth and design along with function, too.

Unique Frameless Wall Mirror

Unique Frameless Wall Mirror

Rectangular vs. Round Mirrors: Which are Best?

We briefly mentioned shape above—choosing the right shape of mirror is one of the most important factors. Mirrors are most commonly found in round styles or rectangular styles. However, square mirrors are also available, as are mirrors in different shapes, oblong styles, and even unique forms that are as much art as they are functional. How can you choose? Ultimately, it depends on what you have in mind for your design.

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Rectangular and Square Mirrors

Angular mirrors, or those with sharp corners, are best in spaces where you want to create a clean look and accentuate the modern style. They are best for full-length mirrors and to get a good idea of how you look without the worries of the rounded frame throwing off the depth perception or anything else.

Choosing rectangular mirrors with unique, decorative frames can be a great way to create a more traditional look with this shape of mirror.

Agata Silver Rectangular Mirror

Agata Silver Rectangular Mirror

Round and Oval Mirrors

Round mirrors come in circles and ovals, including a selection of frameless and framed styles that fit just about any taste. These mirrors soften a space, which makes them popular for traditional designs and people who want a more inviting space. These mirrors come in all sizes and styles, offering a perfect fit for almost every space. Framed mirrors, again, are more traditional, while frameless round mirrors fit more modern bathrooms.

Related: 8 Trending Round Bathroom Mirrors

George Oval Mirror - Custom Painted Glossy Royal Blue

George Oval Mirror – Custom Painted Glossy Royal Blue

Other Shapes

Of course, mirrors today are available in as many shapes as you can probably imagine. There is any manner of unique shapes of mirrors out there today, including both framed and frameless. You can choose mirrors that aren’t round or square if you want something that’s eye-catching and stands out a little more in terms of design. Starburst-shaped mirrors, arch-shaped mirrors, and irregular designs are a lot more popular right now than your standard selection of mirrors.

Hammered Metal Antique Gold and Silver Wall Mirror

Hammered Metal Antique Gold and Silver Wall Mirror

Let Your Bathroom Mirrors Reflect Your Style

As with anything in your bathroom design, the mirrors that you choose should be as stylish as they are functional. You should choose mirrors that reflect your tastes and match the design of the room. For example, if you are creating a modern, spa-like bathroom, a few round accent mirrors could add a soft touch while a large, rectangular mirror over the vanity will ensure that there’s plenty of functional mirror space in the room.

Mirrors can transform your space, but only when you choose the right ones. Now that you know how to do that, you’ll be able to upgrade your bathroom design with new mirrors that make the perfect statement and provide all the function you need.

Related: Mirrors And Positive Self-Image

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My name is Julia Ritzenthaler, Founder and President of Unique Vanities, started in 2005. I started this business as an extension of our residential remodeling business, which focused on the design and build of custom cabinetry and architectural trim. I also worked as a financial advisor for 10 years at Ameriprise Financial, helping clients make sound money decisions, including budgeting for home improvement expenses. This expertise led me to start Unique Vanities, which offers a handpicked selection of high quality bathroom vanities, sinks, mirrors and more. You can find me most days sitting in Starbucks, my second office, or in my car driving my daughter across Dallas to gymnastics training.