Home Sweet Home – Part 30 – Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Answer: The homeowner whose bathroom mirrors and lighting work together!

It seems simple, but if you are getting ready to remodel your bathroom, or build a new home, the design, placement, and lighting of the vanity mirror is vital. After all, you will look into this mirror multiple times each day, every day, 365 days a year. Shouldn’t this warrant more consideration than “What’s the least expensive mirror and light I can hang the bathroom?”

Bathroom Mirror


We all know mirrors can be expensive, and with housing affordability at the forefront of conversation today, it is important to be strategic about the size of the mirror. If constrained by a budget, it is neither practical, nor affordable, to run the mirror from counter to ceiling and wall to wall. One alternative is to frame the mirror like the expensive artwork that it is. This provides a nice look and is certainly less expensive than wall-to-wall glass. I love the strategy of two mirrors in the master bath, one over each sink, enhancing the His and Her vanity separation.

Bronze Mirror


Mirror size and placement is only half the of the design challenge. Lighting is just as critical. Placing lights in the ceiling is great for general room illumination, but not for making us look our best. This type of lighting is as bad as shining a flashlight under your chin and seeing how creepy you look – effective when telling a scary story to the kids around a campfire, but not much of a confidence booster. The most useful and flattering lighting comes when mounted at eye level. The lights really need to be wall mounted so they can adequately light up our faces in the most flattering way – but where? The default solution lately has been to add wall sconces above the mirror; however, this can be tricky. If the mirror is tall because the room has a tall ceiling, say 10’, the light is too high, and we’re back to looking like the “Crypt Keeper.” Keeping the mirror shorter is better for the lighting, but then it looks out of proportion with the taller ceilings, cheapening the look.

White Framed Mirror


I love running mirrors vertically. This gives a rich, elegant look and accentuates the tall ceilings. This also creates room on either side of the mirror for lighting at eye level. A brilliant have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too strategy if you ask me. Don’t forget to add additional light somewhere else in the room. This can be a single recessed can which is easily affordable or a lovely pendant fixture which is more costly but adds a level of luxury to the bathroom.

Lighted Mirror


Today, the ultimate cake-and-eat-it solutions are the lighted mirrors, now found in most hotels. They may not be the most cost-effective solution, but prices are coming down as they become more abundant, coming in a variety of shapes and sizes. I like the tall ovals which accentuate the height of the room, elegantly. They even have them with Bluetooth speakers for those who really like to splurge.

Oval Mirror

Who would have thought there was so much to think about when it comes to mirrors and lights in our bathrooms, particularly the primary bath? Let me know if you don’t think about this blog tomorrow when you wake up and look at yourself in your own bathroom mirror. You will either be glad you did your bathroom properly or you will begin to desire a mirror/lighting “facelift” even if it’s not time for a full-blown remodel.

Adapted from Housing Design Matters Blog