I am a featured writer for Unique Vanities and focus on home furnishings and home improvement topics.
No bathroom is complete without a mirror for visual effect. The mirror plays a key part in daily grooming activities like shaving, applying makeup, and styling our hair, and it is one of the last things we look at before going out.
Getting the right mirror to suit our needs is an art in itself. Here is a quick guide to help you choose the right mirror for your bathroom. This article covers the following topics:
- What size mirror should I hang over the sink?
- Measuring your space
- How high should I hang my mirror?
- Which shape of mirror looks best?
- Does the mirror have to hang above the basin?
- Consider placement and lighting
- Mounting securely
1. What Size Mirror Should I Hang Over the Sink?
The mirror's size is usually determined by the length of your vanity's countertop. Designers usually choose mirrors that are 2 to 4 inches narrower than the vanity (which consists of the sink, its counter, and its surrounding storage).
Of course, the size of the vanity depends on the size of the bathroom. Large master bathrooms will often utilize a double-sink vanity, while in smaller powder rooms, a single vanity is more fitting. Narrow vanities are best suited for small bathrooms and usually consist of a sink only. A large bathroom space can consist of a single or double vanity that can occupy the whole length of the wall. A double vanity comes with two sinks, a counter, and storage underneath.
One can choose to run the mirror along the entire length of the vanity or just span the length of the sink basin.
2. Measure Your Space
- Take measurements of either the sink or the entire vanity and write them down. Don't forget to write down the height of the wall where you'll hang the mirror. As a rule, the mirror should measure several inches less than the vanity or sink area.
- For example, if you've chosen a 48" single sink vanity, you will want to select a mirror that's width (frame included) doesn't exceed 48 inches. To make sure the mirror doesn't overpower the room, aim for 42-44 inches total.
- Some people may choose a mirror that goes to the very edge of the vanity. This is okay, but you do not want it to exceed the width of the vanity.
- Center the mirror directly above the sink.
3. How High Should I Hang My Mirror?
Think about who will be using the mirror and take each user's height into consideration. The average woman is 5'5" and the average man is 5'10", so use that as a guideline. If there are kids in the household, take them into consideration, as well. If most household members are taller than average, then hang it higher—but hang it lower for shorter people.
Remember to take lighting and other fixtures into consideration. If you plan on using wall lights or sconces, factor that in when taking measurements. If you plan on having a shelf or a wall-mounted toothbrush holder, keep this in mind when you're measuring the space.
4. Which Shape of Mirror Looks Best?
Mirrors come in all shapes, finishes, and sizes. As they say, your imagination is the only limit.
- More traditional remodelers may choose something rectangular or oval with a style that matches the rest of the room.
- You can have mirrors cut or built-in to fit perfectly into the space, utilizing the same molding or surrounding tile for a custom look.
- Modern homeowners will likely choose something sleek and minimal (maybe even frameless) and may opt for new technologies, like built-in lights or even mirrors that display the day's weather forecast.
- Creative types might choose a funky color or ornate shape to add interest and whimsy to their remodel.
- Frame or no frame? Frameless mirrors are a sleek design option if you don't want a heavy border around the reflection.
Your main concern will be that whatever shape or size you choose fits well with the dimensions available above your vanity.
5. Does the Mirror Have to Hang Above the Basin?
Quick answer: Um, no.
Long answer: The spot over the basin is best for pragmatic reasons. That's where you'll want to look at your reflection when you're brushing your teeth, etc. But if you can't hang it there for some reason, it's not the end of the world. You may keep trying to find your reflection where it isn't, but after a while, you'll learn to accept your mirror's unusual placement.
6. Consider Placement and Lighting (Natural or Not)
The size of the mirror you install should conform to the size of your bathroom as well as the placement of the bathroom window. This is important in ensuring that the mirror reflects as much natural light as possible for a better visual effect.
- To maximize natural light, especially if the bathroom window is large enough, the mirror should be placed opposite the window, if possible.
- For bathrooms with small windows that may not bring in much natural light, you may need to install a light above (or sconces beside) the mirror.
- If there is no window, choosing the right lighting is critical; too much light will cause a glare and too little will leave you squinting to see your own face.
Another important factor is the color of the bathroom. White is the easiest color to work with, as it always reflects flattering light. If you choose a color, be forewarned that it will affect your appearance in the mirror, so make sure you choose one that's flattering.
7. Mounting Securely
For those using a large mirror over a large double vanity, or if you choose one with a heavy, ornate frame, you'll want to be sure to use a stud finder and attach mounting brackets directly into a wood stud (not just into the soft plaster) in your wall. If no studs are available in the place you want to hang your mirror, check out your local department store for EZ anchors, which are rated for the weight of your mirror. See the video below for other helpful tips on hanging heavy mirrors.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Shelly on August 23, 2020:
I have a 48" vanity in my bathroom and wonder what size round mirror I should hang. Also, is there any material I should avoid (would there be rust)?
Lourdes on June 16, 2020:
I'm looking for a framed/unframed, inexpensive, rectangular vanity mirror. My vanity is 70" wide but I want a mirror that measures 60/62". I haven't had any luck in finding one. Will I have to have a mirror customed cut?
ryan on June 11, 2020:
i have a 49 inch vanity. want to hang a round mirror. what size should i go with?
Cindy on May 19, 2020:
What size mirror should I use over single sink 60 inch vanity width and height
Shelley on December 08, 2019:
My vanity sits within two walls 90" apart, my vanity is 65" long. Do i center my mirror over the vanity or center within the wall space?
Joannee100 on July 31, 2019:
With a 66” vanity, what’s the max height to look good, they are 24” wide
Marie on June 15, 2019:
I have a 66 in. Vanity, what size mirror should I put above each one
Carolyn on June 08, 2019:
I have an 88 inch vanity with 2 double sinks. Height is 61 inches. What is the best size mirrors to place over both sinks?
Donna on May 25, 2019:
I have a 66”double sink vanity. I have a 28” space for height. Can I put a 28” diameter mirror above each sink. There would only be about 4” between the mirrors. There would be 3” space on each end of vanity
Debby B on May 22, 2019:
I have a 96 1/2" wide; 40 1/2" to the top of my quartz back splash vanity.
The 2 sinks are 8" from the end and 4 ft. apart. Two mirrors look bad. they are too far apart (4 feet).
I will have 56 inches for one mirror with 2 lights centered above the sinks. My ceiling is 8 ft.
With leaving 56" high and 96 1/2" wide...
What size should one large mirror be?
How many in. above back splash?
How many inches in from the end of the vanity?
How should the lights be spaced above the mirror and below the 8 ft. ceiling?
Two lights will be centered above the sinks.
Anne M on April 01, 2019:
I have a 74 inch vanity with a single sink.
There is an electric plug measures 7 inches from quartz lip above vanity close to sink.
What size mirror do you recommend?
The top of my cabinets to vanity is 57 inches.
Kathie Wills on February 15, 2019:
I have an 8 foot vanity with double sinks. How large should the mirrors be?
Beth Geller on February 12, 2019:
If I have a 72" vanity with two double sinks (16-17" wide) and want to use two mirrors, mounted above each sink which size should they be? I was thinking of 2- 24"x30" recessed mirrors.
Terri on January 13, 2019:
I have a 35” countertop over a 34” vanity with a centered sink. My vanity is 36” tall, with a 8” faucet clearance. What size Medicine cabinet should I use?
Madeline GAines on January 12, 2019:
I have a 48 in vanity, how large should my mirrow be and how wide should my vanity light be?
Judy Gottesfeld on January 10, 2019:
I have a 5 foot vanity with two sinks I bought two mirrors 26 inches each. Should a use a two light vanity light 17 inch or 3 lights 28 inches
pg on October 05, 2018:
We have a single sink 60in vanity. i need to install th
alight above the single 48" mirror . what size should the light be