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Selecting the Perfect Bathroom Vanity Mirror

Gregory Vaughan - Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Quick - name an important component of any bathroom. OK, besides the obvious sink and toilet and shower or tub. You need a mirror, right? A mirror may be the ultimate item; to shave, apply make-up, put in contact lenses, and style your hair. 

I have been looking at a lot of mirrors lately. No, not to see my own reflection, I’m not that vain. I have been looking for mirrors for clients to use in their various bathrooms. Searching for their powder rooms, master spa retreats, kids’ baths, guest baths, even pool baths.

I enjoy looking for mirrors. However I have found that this bathroom item often seems to be a feature many seem to struggle identifying what they want. Why is this? The options are practically endless!

A mirror is an unusual decor item in the sense that is is easy to overlook. Actually, what we initially see is the reflection it gives of other things in the room before we really notice the actual mirror itself. Even though the type of mirror or its framing and proportions are not immediately apparent these aspects should be considered. 

There are several types of mirrors that can be used in your bathroom, finding the best choice requires a little thought and consideration.

Medicine Cabinet Mirrors

If you are my age (or older) you probably grew up with these in your house. My first childhood home, a 1950’s-era ranch, had these. A mirrored door, hinged on one side, opens to reveal a shallow cabinet with shelves for storage of medicines and cosmetics. These mirrored cabinets may have been framed (more traditional) or unframed (more sleek) and might or might not have been recessed into the wall. 

While medicine cabinet vanity mirrors may seem a bit old-fashioned they still are popular today. In fact, I am seriously considering one for my (about to embark upon) bathroom renovation in Savannah. Storage space is at a premium in my tiny bath, and since the vanity cabinet itself is only 24” wide, it will not have drawers. I do not require tons of grooming product but some room to keep daily necessities at the ready will be appreciated. Besides, some models of medicine cabinets now offer mirrored, lit interiors with power outlets to keep electric shavers or toothbrushes charged. How convenient is that?

Decorative Framed Mirrors

You may also have grown up with these. My second childhood home was a much newer home with very traditional decor. The bathrooms featured decorative light sconces with rectilinear carved wood framed mirrors. The vanities were large and wide with multiple drawers for storage, so medicine cabinets were not needed. I always liked the finished look the framed mirrors lended to the bathrooms. I still do.

I find specifying a framed mirror for a bathroom to be my typical route because it usually offers the most design opportunities. Mirrors can be simply framed or intricately ornate. Fames can be stained or painted or silver or gold-leafed. In fact, frames do not have to be made from wood at all. I have used metal, rope, sea shells, mosaic tiles, and every other imaginable material. A framed mirror can also make a design statement with its shape be it round or arch-topped or starburst shaped.

Plate-glass Wall-to-Wall Mirrors

Want to know a way to open up a bathroom or a way to lighten an interior bath without windows? Maximize the mirror. Literally, if you run the mirror the full width of the vanity (and, ideally up to the ceiling) you will be surprised how much bigger the space will appear. 

Take this a step further and mount the light fixtures on the glass itself and the space will seem infinitely brighter too. This is a more contemporary approach but I have used it before in more traditionally designed homes and it just works, lending a clean, minimal, spa-like vibe.

Selecting the perfect looking glass for your bathroom doesn’t have to be daunting. Think about your practical needs and your aesthetic desires and explore the options. You may just find some fantastic reflections.

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