Sizing the Mirror Above Your Bathroom Vanity

Updated on March 30, 2017
This mirror perfectly mirrors the basin below it.
This mirror perfectly mirrors the basin below it. | Source

Have you ever been into a bathroom that didn't have a mirror? Nope. We haven't either.

No bathroom is complete without a mirror for visual effect. The mirror plays a key part in our daily grooming 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 one to suit our needs is an art in itself. Here is a quick guide to help you choose the right-sized mirror for your bathroom.

Filling the wall behind the sink with mirror is an old trick for making the room feel bigger.
Filling the wall behind the sink with mirror is an old trick for making the room feel bigger. | Source

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.

The mirror should be centered above the basin and measure a couple inches less than the vanity or sink area.

Today's mirrors employ new technology: This one has a built-in mirror.
Today's mirrors employ new technology: This one has a built-in mirror. | Source

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 thats 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.

Designer tip: Choose your vanity first. It is much easier to find a mirror to match a vanity than the other way around!

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 plant on having a shelf or a wall-mounted toothbrush holder, keep this in mind when you're measuring the space.

Wood adds warmth to stark white surroundings. The unusual shape of this mirror makes a playful statement.
Wood adds warmth to stark white surroundings. The unusual shape of this mirror makes a playful statement. | Source

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.

This beveled glass fits in perfectly into its Asian-themed setting.
This beveled glass fits in perfectly into its Asian-themed setting. | Source

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 awhile, you'll learn to accept your mirror's unusual placement.

Consider Placement and Lighting (Natural or Not)

The size of 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.

Magic mirror: modern technology allows this mirror to show you much more than just your reflection.
Magic mirror: modern technology allows this mirror to show you much more than just your reflection. | Source

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 porthole-shaped mirror gives the bathroom a nautical feel. Its circular shape accentuates the circles in its vicinity.
This porthole-shaped mirror gives the bathroom a nautical feel. Its circular shape accentuates the circles in its vicinity. | Source

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