Bathroom vanity mirrors are an essential component of any well-designed bathroom. They serve both functional and decorative purposes. A properly-sized and strategically placed mirror can help maximize natural light, create the illusion of a larger space, and allow you to get ready comfortably. When paired with the right vanity and lighting, a mirror makes a stylish focal point and brings the whole room together. This comprehensive guide covers how to choose the perfect bathroom vanity mirror, illuminate it properly, and integrate it seamlessly into your design.

Selecting the Right Size Bathroom Vanity Mirror

Choosing the proper mirror size for your bathroom vanity is crucial for both aesthetic and functional reasons. Here are some key factors to consider:

Measure Your Vanity Width

Take an accurate measurement of the width of your existing or planned bathroom vanity. This will determine the maximum mirror size suitable for the space. The mirror should be 2-3 inches narrower than the vanity on each side. This prevents it from overlapping and allows you to open cabinets and drawers without obstruction.

Consider Mounting Height

Standard mirror mounting height is so the bottom sits about 36-40 inches above the finished floor. This allows usable reflection for the average person. If multiple people of varied heights will use the bathroom, opt for a height in the middle of their ranges.

Decide on Orientation

Bathroom mirrors normally match the orientation of the vanity – wider horizontally above single sink vanities, wider vertically for narrower double sink vanities. Make sure to get the proportions right based on your specific vanity size and layout.

Allow for Side Space

Unless it’s a small powder room, avoid spanning the mirror across the entire wall. Leave 3-6 inches of blank wall space on each side for a less cluttered look. This also reduces side reflections which can be visually disruptive.

Check ADA Compliance

If accessibility is a priority, choose a mirror height so the bottom edge is no higher than 40 inches above the floor. Extend the mirror close to the sides of the vanity to maximize visibility.

Consider Style and Layout

Vanity tops come in many materials, shapes and configurations. Select a mirror style and size that compliments your vanity design. For example, a floating vanity may pair best with an asymmetrically placed mirror.

Bathroom Vanity Mirror Shape Options

Beyond basic size considerations, also think about the shape of your mirror. Here are some of the most common options:

Rectangle Mirrors

The most versatile shape, rectangle mirrors work above nearly any vanity layout. Sleek right-angled edges have a clean modern look. Available in small to very large sizes.

Oval Mirrors

Oval mirrors soften a bathroom’s visual lines. Their curved edges create a more feminine, elegant feel. Work best on wide single-sink vanities.

Round Mirrors

Round mirrors make a bold circular focal point, feeling more playful and retro. Complement contemporary and traditional bathrooms nicely. Great centered above round vessel sinks.

Arch Top Mirrors

Mirrors with an arched rectangular shape add architectural interest. The soft arch shape feels elevated and chic. Ideal for transitional and light traditional bathrooms.

Square Mirrors

With strong right angles like rectangle mirrors, squares feel bolder and more masculine. When sized generously they make a dramatic contemporary statement.

Bathroom Vanity Mirror Frames

Mirrored glass on its own has a clean, sleek look. But frame details can add stylish visual interest:

Frameless Mirrors

The streamlined look of frameless mirrors complements modern and contemporary bathrooms. Mirrored edges give the illusion of a larger expanse of glass.

Thin Framed Mirrors

A thin frame of 1-2 inches adds subtle definition around the mirror. Available in metal, wood, leather and other materials to match the vanity.

Thick Framed Mirrors

Thicker ornate wood or leather frames around mirrors create a traditional, old-world feel. Carved details and finish pair nicely with traditional vanities.

Beveled Edge Mirrors

Mirrors with a angled beveled edge reflect more light to brighten small bathrooms. The bevel also adds some extra visual interest to the mirror itself.

Bathroom Mirror Lighting Ideas

Proper lighting is key to a functional vanity space. Illuminate mirrors in these recommended ways:

Wall Mounted Fixtures

Sconces or horizontal fixtures mounted on each side of the mirror provide good even lighting. Place 30-36 inches apart at eye level for best facial illumination.

Ceiling Mounted Fixtures

Central ceiling lights like pendant or chandelier fixtures shine down evenly over sinks. Keep chains short (24-30”) so light reaches faces directly.

Vanity Strip Lighting

Discrete lighting built into the top or sides of the mirror frame or vanity provide targeted illumination perfect for tasks like makeup application and shaving.

Natural Light

Strategically place mirrors across from windows or skylights to maximize natural light reflection on faces. Allows lower wattage fixtures to be used.

Backlit/Lighted Mirrors

LED lit mirrors cast even illumination across the entire reflective surface. This essentially turns the mirror into a lamp to brightly light up users.

Dimming/Color Changing

Many mirror lighting systems allow adjusting brightness levels and color temperature. This allows creating the perfect ambiance for any time of day.

Bathroom Mirror Placement Guidelines

Where you place a mirror impacts its functionality and the bathroom’s overall look:

Above the Vanity

Centering the mirror over the vanity so it reflects your face when standing at the sink is the standard placement. Makes an integrated vanity focal point.

Offset Above Vanity

Positioning a larger mirror off-center above an asymmetric or floating vanity creates an artistic look. Ensure it still reflects you while at the sink.

Across from Vanity

Locate a mirror on the wall opposite a vanity to create an open-concept style and reflective symmetry. Illuminate it well since it’s farther away.

Corner of Room

Situate a rectangular mirror vertically in a room corner to add depth and pull natural light in from windows. Works in larger bathrooms.

Entire Wall

Covering one wall with mirrored panels makes a glamorous design statement and reflects the most light. Use in spacious contemporary bathrooms.

Bathroom Vanity Mirror Installation

Improper mirror installation can lead to a falling hazard. Follow these best practices for secure mounting:

Select Appropriate Fasteners

Self-adhesive mirror clips work for lightweight mirrors. Heavier mirrors require screw-in mirror brackets attached to wall studs.

Use Reinforcements

For heavy mirrors or drywall mounting, use hollow wall anchors drilled into studs or concrete anchors to reinforce the mounting location.

Follow Manufacturer Instructions

Carefully follow all instructions provided with commercial grade mirror mounting kits. Improper use could still result in the mirror eventually loosening.

Check Level and Alignment

After installation, verify the mirror hangs flat against the wall and is properly aligned with the vanity and surrounding tiles. Adjust if needed.

Check Security

Gently push corners and edges of the mirror to ensure the mounting and anchors are securely embedded and it does not shift or vibrate when touched.

Design Styles for Bathroom Vanity Mirrors

Choosing a mirror that aligns with your overall bathroom decor ensures visual harmony. Here are top styles:

Modern Mirrors

Clean rectangle framed and frameless mirrors in glossy finishes embody the bold, sleek modern look. Integrate wall mounted linear lights.

Rustic Mirrors

Thick, roughly finished wood frames surrounding beveled mirrors complement farmhouse chic bathrooms. Use vintage pendant lights.

Transitional Mirrors

Arched, oval or rectangular mirrors with simple molding or metal accents bridge traditional and contemporary. Pair with chandeliers.

Contemporary Mirrors

Oversized square, round or rectangle mirrors in minimalist frames match crisp contemporary spaces. Use recessed lighting.

Traditional Mirrors

Intricately carved wood or gold framed mirrors with soft shapes bring a formal elegant feel reminiscent of old world estates. Use sconces.

Unique Bathroom Mirror Ideas

Tired of boring, expected mirror designs? Try these creative alternatives:

Mirrored Bathroom Wall

Covering full walls in mirrored tiles or panels makes small rooms feel bigger and reflects maximum light. A dramatic modern statement.

Mirrored Medicine Cabinet

Hide functional storage space behind mirrored cabinet doors. Some allow attaching magnifying mirrors and defoggers inside.

Two-Sided Mirrors

A must-have for master bathrooms, two-sided mirrors put a full-length dressing mirror on the backside. Rotate to use.

Inset Wall Mirrors

For a seamless look, have mirrors professionally installed recessed into walls with edges hidden behind finishes like tile.

Mirrored Backsplashes

Installing mirrored tiles or panels as a backsplash around bathroom sinks adds reflective brightness and visual interest.

Distressed Mirrors

Antique, cracked mirrors with imperfect finishes add an eclectic rustic or industrially glam vibe. Great above reclaimed wood vanities.

Hand Carved Mirrors

For an exotic worldly flair, choose mirrors hand carved with ornate designs, floral shapes, animals or geometric patterns.

FAQs About Bathroom Vanity Mirrors

What is the standard height to mount a bathroom mirror?

The typical recommended height is to install the bottom of the mirror 36-40 inches above the finished floor. This allows the average height person to see their full face and upper body.

Should your mirror be as wide as the vanity?

While it may seem logical to match their widths, it’s best to have your mirror about 2-3 inches narrower than the vanity. This prevents the edges from overlapping cabinets and drawers so they open unobstructed.

Where should you position bathroom mirrors?

Most mirrors are centered above the sinks they serve. But creative alternatives include across from the vanity on another wall, along an entire wall, or offset above an asymmetric vanity.

Do mirrors make bathrooms look bigger?

Yes, strategically using mirrors gives the illusion of a larger space. They reflect natural light and visual elements like colors and patterns to perceptually expand tight bathrooms.

Should I get a frameless mirror or one with a frame?

Frameless mirrors have a streamlined modern look. Framed mirrors come in various materials that add decorative detail. Choose whichever best matches your existing vanity and decor style.

How do I keep my bathroom mirror from fogging up?

Using a quality defogger product helps minimize fog buildup. Ensuring adequate ventilation to deal with humidity is also key. You can also get mirrors with built-in defogging technology.

How are bathroom mirrors installed?

Professional mounting with secure brackets anchored to studs is safest. Adhesive mirror clips work for lightweight mirrors. Follow all manufacturer instructions for mounting hardware.


The right bathroom vanity mirror enhances both form and function in your space. Carefully measure to find an appropriately sized mirror for your vanity layout. Choose a shape and frame style that integrates with your existing decor. Mount it at a height centered on your sink so it properly reflects. Illuminate with well-placed lighting fixtures. And explore creative mirror options like two-sided and fully mirrored walls. With this bathroom mirror guide’s tips in mind, you can easily pick the perfect reflection for your vanity.