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Modern vanity with mirror

A bathroom is no longer a conglomerate of utilitarian sanitaryware with any old mirror slapped up on the wall above the sink. Today’s bathrooms are statements of style and even environmental concern, places where we can be renewed and refreshed, havens of relaxation and respite from a hectic schedule. As such, each installation and accessory is chosen with care and intention. Water saving commode or bidet? Frameless or Crittall style shower glass? Floating or furniture style vanity? The options are practically limitless, and each choice you make impacts the room’s functionality, sustainability, and aesthetic. While a vanity mirror serves a practical purpose – it’s hard to fix your hair without one! – the mirror is fundamentally a wall hanging and should be chosen with as much care as any other room adornment.

1. What shape should the vanity mirror be?

There’s no one answer to this question, but some shapes are more popular than others. A rectangular or square mirror is a safe choice. You can give it character by way of edgework or framing, and the shape is unlikely to ever go out of style. These shapes also work well if you want to maximize mirror space. Circular mirrors are quite popular as well. Bathrooms have lots of straight lines on the shower enclosure and vanity, so a round mirror provides a pleasant contrast. You can also draw from both styles by choosing a square or rectangular mirror with rounded corners. Bottom line, a custom glass shop like ABC Glass & Mirror can cut mirror glass in most shapes you could imagine. Points to consider as you decide on one for your bathroom include:

  • Practicality – Be sure your mirror shape provides enough reflective glass for you – and if necessary, another person – to conveniently use it for arranging hair, shaving, applying makeup, etc. 
  • Visual impact – The mirror shape will affect the style of your vanity area. Take a picture of your vanity, use a free photo-editing tool to “erase” your current mirror, and then experiment with the effect created by pasting various shapes above the sink.
  • Resale value – Some bathroom remodels are done to increase a home’s resale appeal. If this is your main goal or just in the back of your mind, consider what mirror shape will be most attractive to potential buyers. Something up-to-date but fairly classic is a good choice if resale appeal is a consideration.

2. Should I use a frameless or framed vanity mirror?

It really depends on the style you are going for, but mirrors with some kind of frame are very on-trend these days. One way to achieve this look is by ordering a mirror with a thin metallic frame around its exterior. ABC Glass & Mirror offers these finishes:

  • Chrome
  • Brushed nickel
  • Oil-rubbed bronze
  • Matte black

Your choice of finish for the metal defines the mirror’s style. For example, matte black metal ties the mirror in beautifully with the black framed glass showers that are so popular today, while a chrome border almost blends in with the glass for a “barely there” frame that subtly dresses up the mirror. 

If you already have a frame you’d like to use around your vanity mirror, you can have a piece of mirror glass cut to fit inside it. Ornately framed mirrors are popular in various trending home décor styles including maximalism, grandmillenial, and transitional. You can hang the framed mirror as you would hang a picture, rather than gluing it to the wall, to keep your options open if you redecorate the bathroom in a different mode later on.

At the same time, frameless mirrors are also a classic option and one that looks fabulous in a contemporary bathroom. If you haven’t ever had a frameless mirror installed, these FAQs might be helpful:

Do I have edgework options for a frameless mirror?

Yes. Frameless mirrors can be polished edge or beveled. A polished edge mirror has a completely flat exterior, and the mirror edges are simply machine polished until very smooth. A beveled mirror also finishes in thin polished edges, but a bevel is cut around the perimeter of the mirror. Because of their beveled border, these mirrors look a bit fancier.

What are some bathrooms that call for polished edge mirrors?

Polished edge mirrors are often used to create a very streamlined modern look. You’ll see them in minimalist, spa-inspired, and contemporary bathroom designs. When a vanity mirror is installed from wall to wall and/or from floor to ceiling, polished edge mirror glass is often used.

What are some bathrooms that call for beveled mirrors?

Beveled mirrors actually adapt beautifully to many decorating styles – it’s hard to picture a bathroom where a beveled mirror would clash. They can provide contrast in a room with lots of perfectly flat surfaces or enhance the luxe feel of your master suite.

How are frameless vanity mirrors installed?

Frameless mirrors are typically held in place by a highly adhesive glue called mirror mastic. Mirrors with a flat lower edge will also rest on an existing surface or a strip of J-channel or U-bar that has been attached to the wall. U-channel leaves a thin strip of metal visible at the bottom of the mirror, while J-channel keeps the frameless look going. Clips with screws going through them (mirror clips) may also be used, especially with round or oval mirrors.

3. What mirror designs work well with single vanities?

Vanities with a single sink can be narrow or wide, and you find them in bathrooms large and small. The best mirror for your situation will depend on factors like available wall space, vanity width, and design goals.

  • Vanity mirrors are often a little narrower than the fixture beneath them. Writing for dengarden, home improvement author Heather advises, “The mirror should be centered above the basin and measure a couple inches less than the vanity or sink area.” 
  • At the same time, you can also choose a mirror that’s identical in width to the vanity. This is often done if you want a wall-to-wall look or are covering a large expanse of wall above an oversized vanity.
  • If the sink area is very narrow, you may want to order a custom mirror that is cut to fit in that exact space, making the most of your available wall.
  • In a small bathroom or one with a compact sink area, you can create a sense of spaciousness by extending the vanity mirror up to the ceiling.
  • A tall, narrow rectangular mirror with rounded corners is perfect for dressing up a tight sink space.
  • You can also give a small bathroom character by choosing a less common mirror shape like teardrop or diamond.
Minimalist floating vanity

4. Should I use one or two mirrors above a double vanity?

The choice between one or two mirrors over double sinks can be a difficult one. Current style trends seem to favor two separate mirrors. These look more like wall hangings, so they add personality and an upscale vibe to your sink area. Also, dual mirrors open up more design possibilities:

  • You can put a wall hanging, built-in drawers, or even a third mirror in the space between double vanity mirrors.
  • The mirrors can be the same shape and size or you can go with complementary “his” and “hers” designs.
  • For an eclectic, layered feel you could pick two different frames, have mirror glass cut to fit in them, and hang one over each sink. 

Most often, though, double sinks are served by two identical round, rectangular, or square mirrors – one centered over each basin.

Modern vanity designs

However, some couples prefer to give themselves as much mirror space as possible, and this may be best achieved with one wide mirror. 

  • A polished edge mirror extending across the entire width of your double vanity gives a futuristic feel and sense of spaciousness.
  • A rectangular beveled mirror that stops an inch or two short of each end of the vanity gives the room a bit of glamour and lots of reflective glass.
  • Choosing to have your wide vanity mirror wrapped in metal makes it seem more like a wall hanging. You can choose a metallic finish that matches the other bathroom hardware, or you can try mixing metals by hanging a black framed mirror in an otherwise brushed nickel bathroom, for example.
Vanities with beveled mirrors

5. What about hanging multiple mirrors in my bathroom?

Of course hanging two mirrors above a double vanity is standard, but what if you don’t have a double vanity? Or how about hanging more than two mirrors in your bathroom? Adding more than the normal amount of mirror to your bathroom can be a win; just be sure to do it thoughtfully.

  • Make-Up Vanity Mirror: When you’re low on vanity counter space or want to glam up your primary bathroom, adding a make-up table is a great option. Include a comfortable little chair, hang a beautiful mirror above the table, and feel like a Downton Abbey character next time you put on mascara!
  • Mirror Gallery Wall: One of the most beautiful statement pieces you can create in a bathroom is a mirror gallery. As you can see in these mirror gallery wall examples by Lolly Jane, covering a wall with an assortment of polished, beveled, and framed mirrors is absolutely gorgeous. Just be sure to land one or two large ones above the sink basin. If you prefer one wide mirror above the vanity, you can continue the theme by having additional small mirrors hung beside or around it.
  • “Broken Up” Vanity Mirror: Glaziers can create the effect of a divided rectangle or square by hanging triangular or rectangular mirrors as if they were the separated pieces of a larger shape. Again, just make sure that you have enough “unbroken” mirror space to conveniently use the vanity mirror.
Mirror gallery wall above vanity

6. Can antique style mirror be used in a bathroom?

Absolutely! New mirror glass can be given an antique look by the application of an acid wash. This is the perfect product if you want a vintage appearance without taking the time to scour antique shops. It’s also ideal for filling an heirloom or antique-style picture frame. Finally, including some “antique mirrors” in a gallery wall gives it a “collected over time” feel. Specific applications for antique mirror include:

  • Preserving a continuous vintage vibe in a period home.
  • Making a modern space more warm and eclectic.
  • Brightening a room with glass that has a warmer, softer appearance than standard mirror.

Keep in mind that antique mirror will not give you the same crystal clear view of your reflection as a standard mirror. If this is a concern, you might want to include both normal and antique mirror glass in your master suite. 

Antique mirror above vanity

7. How can I get an unusual mirror shape?

Is it possible to get an asymmetrical mirror or one with a unique shape like trapezoid or half-moon? Yes. Custom glass shops can create a non-traditional mirror. Whether you want something completely custom or just a less commonly requested geometric form, this is usually possible. The main caveat is that the specially shaped mirror can still be safely and securely adhered to the wall. Do you want to see whether your mirror idea will work? Set up a free consultation with a mirror specialist from ABC Glass & Mirror – (703)257-7150. You’ll want to put together the following information in preparation for the meeting:

  • How many mirrors would be needed for the project?
  • Where would the mirror(s) be installed?
  • What shape would the mirror(s) be?
  • What size would the mirror(s) be?
  • Are you OK with visible hanging hardware, such as mirror clips?
  • Do you want the mirror(s) to be polished edge, beveled, or metal wrapped?
Unusual mirror shape above sink

8. What are my lighted vanity mirror options?

You can buy vanity mirrors with lighting already included, but what if you want a customized mirror size or shape? There are a few ways to achieve this by purchasing the lighting and mirror separately. Here are a few examples:

  • Instead of being glued to the wall, a custom mirror can be installed with screws and spacers that hold it out from the wall – a floating mirror. With LED light strips behind it, you have a back-lit mirror. This look is contemporary chic, so it fits in both modern and transitional spaces.
  • You can also create a Hollywood-esque lighted mirror by using a string of stick-on LED lights designed for this purpose. No special installation method is needed for the mirror, because you simply attach the peel and stick string of lights around the edge of your mirror and then plug it in.
  • If your bathroom style is classic or vintage, it’s better to light the vanity mirror with traditional installations like wall sconces or a multi-bulb fixture. Houzz author Janell Beals offers tips for success and notes that, “fixtures mounted on either side of the mirror are considered best for casting even light across the face, [but] mounting them above the mirror remains a popular choice.” 
  • Sometimes it’s necessary to get creative. What if there isn’t room for wall sconces beside the mirror, for instance? Sometimes you can install them on the walls perpendicular to the mirror or even install low-hanging pendant lights instead. Also, custom mirrors can have cutouts added so that they’ll fit around other fixtures, including sconces.
Raised sink with mirror and vanity

9. What is the process for having custom vanity mirrors installed?

Going the route of a custom vanity mirror doesn’t just allow you to choose the precise size and shape of the mirror. If your vanity mirror will be right up against a wall or other surface, a custom mirror might be necessary for a good finished look. Why? Houses commonly have small irregularities like out-of-level surfaces and out-of-plumb walls. These aren’t obvious until a square or rectangular mirror is hung beside or above such a surface. Gaps can be visible that highlight the irregularity or make things look misaligned. A custom glass shop like ABC Glass & Mirror will check for these issues and then make minute adjustments to the mirror dimensions as needed for a proper fit and professional look.

Working with glass professionals takes the guesswork out of the project in other ways, too. You can start by calling us at (703)257-7150 to set up a free in-home consultation. You’ll then receive an emailed price quote so you can make your selection at your convenience. Order your mirror(s), and we’ll contact you when everything is ready. Finally an installation appointment is made, and glaziers put the mirrors in place. All you need to do is enjoy your updated bathroom!

Ordering a vanity mirror infographic ABC Glass and Mirror

Pro tip: To keep your bathroom mirror looking its best, clean it regularly with an approved glass cleaner and soft cloth or paper towel. Stay away from ammonia based cleaners, and remember that it’s best to apply the cleaner to the rag or paper towel rather than spraying it onto the mirror as this will keep cleaner from dripping down the mirror and possibly damaging the backing. 

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