Keonjinn backlit bathroom mirror.
The Best Bathroom Mirrors for Your Room Refresh
Learn how to choose the right bathroom mirror to help both you and your bathroom look your best.
In addition to your toilet and shower, a mirror serves one of the most essential functions of your bathroom—helping you look your best. Along with your personal appearance, your bathroom mirror should help improve the overall appearance and appeal of your bathroom as well.
Regardless of whether your bathroom has modern, contemporary, or traditional design features, there’s likely a bathroom mirror that can make a wonderful addition to your existing decor. For help in selecting the best bathroom mirror for your home, read on to discover the different bathroom mirror types, purchase considerations, and top picks in a variety of categories.
Popular Types of Bathroom Mirrors
The first step in finding the perfect mirror for your bathroom is determining the type that you need. There are quite a few bathroom mirror types to choose from, so knowing the differences between them will bring you one step closer on your journey to finding the mirror that’s right for you. Whether a mirror hangs securely on a wall, pivots on an adjustable base, is attached to a cabinet door, or rests freely on the ground all factor into your bathroom mirror’s form and function.
Wall mirrors are securely mounted directly to a wall. They’re the most common type of bathroom mirror and are available in the widest range of shapes, sizes, and styles, making it easy to accommodate practically any interior design consideration.
Although wall mirrors have the advantage of being widely available, the difficulty involved in installing them will vary based on whether the mirror is framed or frameless (see more below) and the type of framing material used. Several sub-types of bathroom mirrors fall under the category of wall mirror, like high-tech mirrors and pivot mirrors.
Floor mirrors are freestanding, full-length mirrors that rest on your bathroom floor instead of being hung directly on your wall. As opposed to wall-mounted mirrors that only allow you to see the top portion of your body, a floor mirror can give you a full-body view. They’re often equipped with an easel stand for adjusting the vertical angle of the mirror, so you can modify the reflection to highlight different areas of your body. Floor mirrors are also more affordable than wall-hung mirrors of a similar size, making them more accommodating to the budget conscious. The primary disadvantage of these mirrors is they take up floor space, which might be a limiting factor for small and compact bathrooms. Full-length wall mirrors are also available for those with limited floor space, but they’re harder to install than freestanding floor mirrors.
Pivot mirrors are a special type of wall mirror that features a flexible mount for moving the mirror at different angles. The ability to adjust the viewing angle of the mirror makes it possible to view different areas of your face, which can be ideal when fixing your hair or applying your makeup. Pivot mirrors usually only allow for a limited amount of vertical tilting up and down before the top or bottom hits the wall, but some have retractable arms to move the mirror further away from the wall to grant a full, 360-degree pivot.
Suspended mirrors are free-floating variations of the standard wall mirror. As opposed to being rigidly affixed to your wall, this type of mirror is suspended from a moving attachment point with chains or hooks. The visible hanging hardware, often made from either rope, metal chain, or leather strips, can offer an additional layer of aesthetic appeal. Suspended mirrors are usually round in shape to support a single central point of connection to the wall, but can also be made in square or rectangular shapes that have hanging hardware attached to both top corners of the mirror’s frame.
Cabinet mirrors combine two functions in one: personal viewing and bathroom storage. This is an excellent option for making compact bathrooms more space efficient, since your mirror and cabinet storage will be contained in the same unit. Cabinet mirrors can either be permanently installed to the wall or freestanding on legs. The type you choose will depend on the space you have available and whether that space is vertical wall space or horizontal surface space, like your vanity.
Mirrors are only useful if you can see the reflections they produce, which requires light, of course. If your bathroom doesn’t have sufficient lighting, a lighted mirror may be what you need to illuminate your beautiful face. Lighted mirrors are typically equipped with energy-efficient LEDs located on the top, bottom, sides, or all around. Choose accordingly based on the lighting needs of your particular space. Some units will even have features like an internal timer that automatically shuts the lights off after a certain amount of time. The primary disadvantage of lighted mirrors is they’re more expensive than standard wall-mounted mirrors and may be more difficult to install, especially if they’re designed to be wired into the wall.
If a lighted mirror isn’t enough, smart mirrors have even more integrated technological features. This includes digital displays overlain onto the mirror’s surface that can let you adjust the lighting, turn on the anti-fog function, and tell you the time and temperature. Some even have Bluetooth and speaker connections. Unfortunately, these mirrors come with a pretty hefty price tag, so expect to pony up the big bucks if you want these amazing features. They can also be difficult to install, often requiring a professional electrician to hardwire the mirror into your home’s electrical system.
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Bathroom Mirror
In addition to knowing about the different types of bathroom mirrors available, there are several other considerations to account for when making your selection. Knowing how to determine what size, shape, and style of mirror will best fit into your bathroom will greatly assist in your search.
The most common uses of a bathroom mirror are checking your appearance and assistance with everyday tasks, such as makeup application, shaving, fixing your hair, or just brushing your teeth. If these common activities will be the primary purpose for your bathroom mirror, you also need to ensure it receives adequate lighting. This can be achieved with vanity lighting or from lighting integrated into the mirror itself. If you primarily want a bathroom mirror to help you to pick out your outfit, a full-length will be your best bet.
Aside from serving a strictly functional purpose, a bathroom mirror can also be used for decoration, with many mirrors offering unique design elements that can act as eye-catching focal points. Mirrors can also make your entire bathroom look bigger and brighter, so consider choosing a larger mirror that will reflect your bathroom lighting for this purpose.
Framed vs. Frameless
Whether you choose a framed or frameless mirror will have a dramatic impact on the overall look of your bathroom. Framed mirrors have frames of different styles and materials that border the outside of the mirror and often play the biggest role in the overall appearance of the mirror. Though framed mirrors were once best suited for traditional-style bathrooms, now there’s a range of modern and decorative frames to suit other styles as well. Framed mirrors are generally easier to install than frameless mirrors, but the frames take up extra space, making them less appropriate for small bathrooms with a limited wall area.
Frameless mirrors are made from a single sheet of mirrored glass that is permanently affixed to the wall with glue or special hanging brackets. Despite their lack of framing, they can have beveled or sandblasted edges to give them more stylish features. The minimalistic and plain appearance of these bathroom mirrors can compliment a wide range of design considerations but are especially favorable in bathrooms with a modern or contemporary style. The primary disadvantage of frameless mirrors is they’re usually harder to install and to move from place to place, if need be.
There’s a huge array of mirror frame materials that can match practically any bathroom decor and color scheme. These include wood, plastic, metal, and glass. Wood frames can look great in traditional, contemporary, or rustic bathrooms, depending on the type of wood, paint, or stain that’s used. Plastic is lightweight, affordable, resilient, and can be painted in any color to match a practically infinite array of design styles. Metals like aluminum, brass, and copper are less versatile because of their natural coloring, but can bring a modern flare to a bathroom. Glass may be a counterintuitive choice for a mirror frame, but sandblasted and colored glass can accent modern and contemporary bathrooms nicely.
Whatever framing material you choose, you need to ensure that it’s rated for moisture resistance. It may be tempting to put a decorative, wood-framed mirror into your bathroom because it’s aesthetically pleasant, but it could possibly deteriorate in the high-humidity environment. In addition to the framing material, a water-resistant mirror will have a backing material that’s rated to withstand moisture exposure. This may include MDF plastic for framed mirrors or a protective silver coating for frameless mirrors.
There are two primary types of bathroom mirror surfaces you’ll encounter: plane and spherical. A plane mirror is a completely flat piece of mirrored glass that reflects images without any level of distortion. This is in contrast to something like a fun-house mirror that has different degrees of curvature throughout its surface to produce the characteristic malformations in reflections.
Spherical mirrors have a consistent curve and radius that gives the mirror a three-dimensional shape, as opposed to the two-dimensional flat surface of a plane mirror. The sphere reflects a slightly-modified image depending on whether the curve is protruding (convex) or indented (concave). A convex mirror reflects light outward to make the reflected images smaller than they actually are while capturing a larger area of the space being reflected. Convex mirrors work the opposite way and will reflect the image larger than it actually is. Concave mirrors have the advantage of amplifying the objects they reflect, which can be helpful when doing things that require greater attention to detail, like putting on makeup or shaving.
The size of your bathroom mirror will mostly be a matter of personal preference, but there are some general design guidelines you can observe. For one, the width of your mirror should be a few inches less than the width of your sink. For example, the mirror for a 36-inch vanity should be between 32 and 34 inches. You might also take the vanity lights into account; ideally, they should be at least 6 inches away from the top of your mirror. The bottom of your mirror should sit 5 to 10 inches above the sink.
Floor and full length mirrors should be at least half as tall as your height to see your whole body. That means if you’re 70 inches tall, your floor mirror should be at least 35 inches long. Since most floor mirrors are usually at least 40 inches tall, seeing your full body shouldn’t be a problem, but it is something to keep in mind.
Bathroom mirrors come in every geometric shape imaginable. There are squares and rectangles, circles and ovals, hexagons and octagons, and unusual combinations of everything in between.
Square and rectangle mirrors can be hung vertically or horizontally to perfectly accommodate the space above your vanity.
Hexagons and octagons can make eye-catching centerpieces that can single-handedly update the appearance of a traditional or contemporary bathroom.
Circle and oval mirrors can be used to complement the soft edges of your existing bathroom fixtures or offer a dynamic contrast to a bathroom with hard angles. You can use a circular mirror above your vanity or opt for an ovular, full-length mirror on your wall to gain a full-body view.
Distinctive combinations of all of these geometric elements, such as mirrors with rectangular bottoms and artistically-designed, convoluted curvatures on the top, are also available.
A bathroom mirror’s frame, shape, and color will all significantly influence the type of interior design style for which the mirror is appropriate. Frameless mirrors look best in modern and contemporary bathrooms that utilize sleek and simple design features. However, frameless mirrors with a scalloped design or beveled edges can work in modern and contemporary bathrooms as well.
Framed mirrors with intricate designs and dark woody colors are mostly used in bathrooms that have more of a traditional, eclectic, or farmhouse leaning. With these styles, the frame is meant to be a dramatic design feature. Framed mirrors with cleaner edges and softer colors work best in modern and contemporary bathrooms, and don’t possess as much personality as those found in other interior design styles.
Single vs. Multiple
Aside from the significant style contribution that a single bathroom mirror can make, adding multiple mirrors can contribute its own decorative flare. Using multiple mirrors can be especially useful if you have a large vanity, particularly if it has more than one sink. Most commonly, vertically-oriented, rectangular mirrors or oval-shaped vanity mirrors are situated over the center of each sink, but both can also work well when evenly spaced on either side of the central sink.
Regardless of your vanity’s size, whether you hang single or multiple mirrors over it will highlight different characteristics of your bathroom. Multiple vertically-oriented mirrors will emphasize the height of your bathroom and possibly make it look taller, whereas a larger, single mirror will make the bathroom appear to be generally larger and brighter.
Our Top Picks
Now that you know the characteristics the best bathroom mirrors possess, you’re ready to find the perfect mirror to match your specific needs and design preferences. However, if all this information left you feeling overwhelmed with the plethora of options, see if the following top picks satisfy your requirements.