Choosing the Right Bathroom Mirror
Bathroom mirrors serve a simple purpose; they provide a way of seeing yourself while you perform your daily hygiene routine or apply cosmetic products. This task has been performed by mirrors since Justus von Liebig discovered how to apply a thin layer of reflective metal to glass in 1835. Hundreds of years of development and countless brands mean that there are now an overwhelming number of different bathroom mirrors available. As great as this variety is, choosing the right bathroom mirror can be difficult among the thousands of different products. As one of the more easily replaced features of your bathroom, compared to a bathtub or toilet, installing a new mirror can be a simple and effective way of updating your decor. With this guide, we hope we can help you choose the right bathroom mirror for your property, or at least narrow down the range of your search.
Whichever type of mirror catches your eye, you can find a vast selection of different styles with our extensive collection of bathroom mirrors
Wall Mirrors – A wall mirror is a general term for any mirror that is designed for mounting on your wall. Wall mirrors are the most popular type of mirror, so this description encompasses a huge array of different sizes and shapes. Wall mirrors are suitable for any room in your home as long as there's a flat wall (and this should be most of them). They include both framed and frameless mirrors, depending on whether you want your mirror to be more ornate or minimalist. Wall mirrors are exceptionally diverse and do not occupy any floor space in your bathroom but it's important to make sure they're installed properly and that your wall can bear the load, especially with larger mirror models.
Decorative Mirrors – All mirrors are decorative, with even the simplest models capable of acting as a stylish addition to your bathroom. Decorative mirrors take this further by being available in a huge variety of different styles, whether replicating animals, popular shapes or just abstract designs that are sure to grab the attention of anyone visiting your bathroom. Decorative mirrors are generally smaller, due to the extra work involved in manufacturing them, however you can always buy more than one and arrange them artistically to create a truly unique mirror design on your wall. Their frames, like the mirrors themselves, can be very ornate and creative.
Full Length Mirrors – A full length mirror is a tall mirror that allows a user to see themselves from head to toe at the same time. These mirrors are great for checking your outfit before setting out in the morning or evening or just getting a good look at your progress from the gym! Full length mirrors are generally mounted in a portrait position but it's usually possible to install them sideways, if you prefer, giving you an especially wide mirror above your wash basin or bathtub. In some cases, you'll be better served installing them sideways due to tiling preventing vertical placement but there are always simple ways around this. You don't always have to mount a full length mirror onto your walls, with doors providing another suitable location.
Floor Mirrors – Floor mirrors are freestanding mirrors that are usually full length and mounted on an adjustable frame. They are ideal for bathrooms with a lack of suitable wall space for a full length mirror to be mounted and are often more versatile thanks to their freedom of movement. Floor mirrors have existed for more than a century and are now available in a huge variety of different styles, including both traditional and modern pieces. Traditional floor mirrors in particular are highly suitable for bathrooms with more vintage styling. They are well worth considering if you don't have believe that your walls are capable of bearing the weight of a large wall mounted mirror but aren't likely to be suitable if you're already struggling for space.
Pivot Mirrors – Pivot mirrors are wall mounted but positioned on a flexible mount that can be extended and moved in multiple directions, allowing for a level of maneuverability that is impossible on a traditional fixed mirror. These mirrors are usually quite small and are ideal for mounting on a vanity unit, providing a great aid for your beauty or hygiene routine. In many cases, pivot mirrors are double sided, with one standard face and one magnifying mirror to help you focus on the finer details (or find those finer facial hairs). As magnifying pivot mirrors are often used for more delicate work, some modern models will feature a built-in light to help you see what you're doing.
Cabinet Mirrors – As their name suggests, cabinet mirrors are bathroom cabinets that have a mirror attached to their door (or occasionally next to the cabinet). By combining these two essential bathroom features, cabinet mirrors are a useful way of saving space and mean you have your most important hygiene and cosmetic items nearby while using your mirror. Additionally, there are now cabinet mirrors designed to be built into your bathroom, so the mirror itself sits flush with the wall and the cabinet is hidden away for a tidy look. Cabinet mirrors are one of the most popular storage solutions, with countless modern and traditional options available to help you find your desired look.
Lighted Mirrors – Lighted mirrors have improved greatly since the early days of badly wired bulbs attached to a mirror. Modern technology means that lighting can be seamlessly integrated into mirrors in ways that would never have been possible before. As a result, the available selection of lighted mirrors is now every bit as diverse as other mirror ranges. These improvements also mean that lighting is now much more similar to natural light, a great help if you're applying makeup and want to know how you'll look after stepping outside. Lighted mirrors are often included in modern cabinet mirrors, providing the perfect area to go about your daily routine. The LEDs in modern lighted mirrors can last for many years and they can illuminate even the dimmest bathroom.
Square and Rectangular Mirrors – Square and rectangular mirrors are the most popular mirror shapes and are a natural fit for installing above wash basins or vanity units. Modern square and rectangular mirrors are far from boring thanks to the huge variety of different materials and frames that are now available. Square mirrors are some of usually some of the smallest mirrors, along with circular, and will generally be smaller than their rectangular equivalent. This can make them the best choice for less spacious bathrooms, as well as in any room where you don't want to reflect too large an image (for example, where there is a toilet opposite the mirror). Most rectangular mirrors can be positioned vertically or horizontally, depending on your desired effect. It can be a good idea to match the horizontal dimensions of your mirror to the width of a vanity unit, if you're installing them together, to create a sense of visual continuity. Full length mirrors can be placed above your vanity unit or on a free wall to give you a proper view of yourself while performing your daily routine.
Circular and Oval Mirrors – Circular mirrors can form an dynamic contrast to the more angular features of your bathroom, such as shower cabins, rectangular bathtubs or tiles. On the other hand, they can further complement a bathroom aesthetic that is primarily curved. Oval mirrors offer the same benefits as rectangular mirrors but with gentle curves; they allow you to install a long mirror into a narrow space and can be placed horizontally above wall tiles or a vanity unit. Oval mirrors have been popular since the early days of mirror design and can now be purchased in a variety of modern and traditional styles to add a touch of luxury to your bathroom.
Unique Mirrors – In addition to the standard mirror shapes, there are now countless unique mirror designs in a almost every shape imaginable. These include popular shapes such as stars or octagons, as well as more artistic styles such as animals and unusual geometric designs. There are too many possibilities to list here but if you want a mirror that will truly make your bathroom stand apart from the norm, you could consider moving away from the more common square or circular designs. It's worth noting that unique mirrors don't necessarily have unusual shapes for both the glass and frame; for example, a square or circular mirror might be in an unusual frame or vice versa. Often, these artistic mirror shapes will be smaller than their standard counterparts, so you have the option of buying more than one and arranging them in your own particular style.
Metal – Metal frames are some of the most popular bathroom mirror frames and can make a great companion for the other metal features of your bathroom. It's important to choose materials that won't rust or dull due to the humidity in your bathroom; if you buy a bathroom mirror, you should be able to depend on their rust resistance but keep this issue in mind if placing a different mirror in your bathroom. Aluminium is one of the most popular options, being inexpensive, lightweight and rust resistant, however it can eventually corrode if not cared for.
Bronze doesn't rust at all, due to containing no iron, and is a great addition to rustic or warm coloured bathrooms, however its increased durability comes with added weight. If you do choose a bronze mirror, you'll need to take extra steps to fit it securely. Copper is similarly rust resistant but water exposure will eventually turn it green if not protected properly (you might have noticed this with old copper taps outside). Any of these metals can make a beautiful addition to your bathroom, as long as they are properly positioned and protected.
Acrylic – Acrylic is a strong, lightweight material that is now the most popular choice for finishing bathroom ceramics such as toilets and bathtubs. The same qualities that make it so widespread for ceramics are the reason why it's a popular choice for mirror frames. Acrylic can be manufactured into almost any shape and size and it can also be made in a huge variety of different colours, making it ideal for funky, modern mirrors. It also tends to be a lot cheaper than the majority of metal options, making it great for adding bold style on a budget.
Glass – Glass frames for glass mirrors might not seem like the most obvious choice but these are often some of the most visually striking pieces available. By colouring or mirroring the glass, or adding texture by making it opaque, these frames add a sense of style to the overall piece and look more seamless than those that use a different material. Glass framed mirrors are good choices for modern bathrooms, especially those with a minimalist aesthetic. Alternatively, blue tinted glass can be reminiscent of water and evokes a sense of the seaside, great for light, airy bathrooms.
Wood – Wooden frames may not be as common in bathrooms as they once were but this natural material is one of the most versatile available. Depending on the particular wood used, their finish and size, they can be suitable for traditional, modern or rustic bathrooms. As bathrooms are often full of colder surfaces such as ceramics and tiles, wood helps introduce a sense of natural warmth. A rougher surface is great for rustic, understated rooms, while a smooth, dark finish can form part of a bold, modern bathroom. The countless variety of different varnishes, paints and stains available mean that a wooden frame can be adapted for any style of bathroom.
Stone – Stone is an increasingly popular choice in spas, luxury hotels and anywhere else where people go to relax. Stone frames can add a natural touch to your bathroom, especially when combined with other evocative features such as waterfall taps and rain style overhead showers. These frames might be mosaic style, which often have stones arranged in patterns, or made of a single piece of smooth stone such as granite. These single piece mirrors are often more expensive but the frames will last forever if properly cared for (conversely, they can be irreparably damaged if dropped, so make sure they're fitted properly!)