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A Start to Finish Guide to
Choosing the Right Vanity Mirror

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Every bathroom needs a vanity mirror, but not all vanity mirrors are created equal! And…..not every product will provide both the functionality and style you’re looking for. In this complete guide we’ll cover practical considerations, specialty options, pro tips, and more. Just remember: the vanity mirror is more than a necessary tool for fixing your hair or putting on makeup; it’s also a wall-hanging and a statement piece for your bathroom. Both stock and custom vanity mirror options abound, so let’s take a look at the possiblities.


  1. What practical needs and considerations should be taken into account when choosing a vanity             mirror?

  2. What if there are structural irregularities or obstacles where I want my vanity mirror to go?

  3. Should my vanity mirror be framed or unframed?

  4. Are there advantages to a beveled vanity mirror?

  5. Should I use one or two vanity mirrors above double sinks?

  6. How can I make the vanity mirror more of a focal point?

  7. What specialty mirrors are available?

  8. What shapes are possible for a vanity mirror?

  9. Should my bathroom have any mirrors besides the vanity mirror?

  10. How can I have a custom vanity mirror fabricated and installed in my bathroom?

  11. How can I clean and care for my new vanity mirror?


1. What practical needs and considerations should be taken into account when choosing a vanity mirror?

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A vanity mirror is often permanently adhered to the wall with mirror mastic, so you want to avoid an impulse purchase that cannot be easily swapped out for something else. When selecting your vanity mirror, be sure to consider the following.


  • What will you use the mirror for? Hair-styling? Make-up application? Shaving? How much mirror space is needed for your convenience?

  • Will multiple persons need to use the mirror at the same time, thus requiring more reflective glass?

  • Considering the overall bathroom design, is the mirror at risk of being struck by another fixture such as the medicine cabinet door or the glass shower door? What can be done to prevent this?

  • At what height should the mirror be installed for easy access by all who will be using the bathroom? Roomhints notes that installing the mirror 5-10 inches above the sink is a popular approach.

  • Do any of the bathroom users have particular needs that should be taken into account, such as using the mirror from a wheelchair?

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2. What if there are structural irregularities or obstacles where I want my vanity mirror to go?

Life is full of imperfections, and bathrooms are no different! Sometimes the wall above the sink has dips and ridges. In the case of minimal to moderate dips and ridges, shims can usually be placed behind the mirror during installation to level things out. More extreme ridges might call for the use of spacers and installation that holds the mirror out from the wall.


At times, another fixture might be on the wall where you’d like the vanity mirror to go. Good news! Custom glass shops like ABC Glass & Mirror can add cut-outs to your vanity mirror allowing it to fit around light switches, outlets, and the like. In summary, irregularities and obstacles can often be addressed by means of:

  • shims

  • spacers

  • cut-outs

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3. Should my vanity mirror be framed or unframed?

Let’s explore the pros and cons of three vanity mirror options – framed, frameless, and metal wrapped.


When it comes to framed mirrors, you can buy a stock size pre-framed mirror and hang it above your vanity. Alternatively, you can have a custom mirror cut to fit in the frame of your choice. Mirror frames are often made of wood, metal, or a faux version of these. Styles range from ornate to retro to rustic.


Framed Mirror Pros

  • The frame makes the mirror look more like a decorative wall hanging.

  • You can choose a frame that adds character and charm to the sink area.

  • The frame’s color and material can tie it in with the room’s other décor elements.

Framed Mirror Cons

  • A stock size mirror might not have optimal dimensions for the wall space above your sink.

  • The frame will need to be cleaned and dusted.

  • A distinctive frame could go out of style or not match when you change your bathroom décor or theme.

Now let’s consider the pluses and minuses when it comes to frameless vanity mirrors. Unframed mirrors can have polished or beveled edges and are available in many shapes and sizes.


Frameless Mirror Pros

  • An unframed mirror has a sleek, modern style.

  • A frameless vanity mirror will match most décor and bathroom styles.

  • Cleaning a frameless mirror is simple and straightforward.

Frameless Mirror Cons

  • A frameless mirror can appear less decorative than a framed alternative.

  • A frameless mirror could look out of place in a vintage style bathroom or a period home.

  • An unframed mirror might look more utilitarian.

When ordering from ABC Glass & Mirror, you can also choose a metal wrapped mirror with chrome, brushed nickel, matte black, satin brass, and oil-rubbed bronze finishes. Metal wrapping is available on mirrors with a range of shapes and dimensions.


Metal Wrapped Mirror Pros

  • The metal wrapping creates the appearance and stylishness of a framed mirror.

  • You can choose a metallic finish that coordinates with your monochromatic or mixed metals décor.

  • A metal wrapped mirror will also look like a wall-hanging.

Metal Wrapped Mirror Cons

  • You may wish to change the metallic finishes in your bathroom.

  • The metal wrapping will need to be cleaned and dusted.

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4. Are there advantages to a beveled vanity mirror?

A beveled vanity mirror is a fourth option to consider. This type of mirror has a bevel cut around its perimeter so that the surface slants downward, tapering into a thin polished edge. The beveled edge provides an attractive border for the vanity mirror without introducing another material, as in the case of a framed or metal wrapped mirror. Benefits of a beveled mirror include:


  • The mirror is dressier and more decorative.

  • The beveled edge does not require special cleaning and dusting like a frame would.

  • A beveled mirror harmonizes with many types of bathroom décor and coordinates with all metal finishes.

  • Unlike a painted frame, a beveled edge is not at risk of clashing when you change the bathroom’s color scheme.


Beveled mirrors look especially lovely above a pedestal sink or as a matched pair over double sinks. If you want a dressier mirror without the addition of a frame or metal wrapping, consider a beveled edge.

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5. Should I use one or two vanity mirrors above double sinks?

On the subject of double sinks, this is another burning question – is it better to have one large mirror or two smaller ones above a vanity with two sinks? If you peruse home décor blogs, you’ll probably see gorgeous examples of both methods. In fact, there’s no clear answer, but let’s consider some FAQs that will help you make the right choice for your space.


Which option provides more mirror space?


Hanging a large mirror that spans the wall space from one end of the vanity counter to the other provides more mirror space than individual mirrors hung over the two sinks. (However, double mirrors may still offer enough reflective glass for your needs)


Which approach is more decorative?


Choosing to hang two individual mirrors opens up more decorating possibilities. For instance, you could purchasing matching framed mirrors, doubling the aesthetic impact of the frame. On the other hand, you could make a statement by having the two mirrors differ in one or more of the following ways:

  • size

  • shape

  • frame style

  •  finish of metal wrapping


Do these different options lend themselves to particular bathroom styles?


Yes, while there is some overlap, there are certainly styles that seem to call for one over the other. For instance, a sleek futuristic bathroom is probably best served by one large mirror. A bathroom defined by quaint, old-fashioned charm would be enhanced by double framed mirrors. Double mirrors are also nice in modern farmhouse and cottagecore bathrooms.

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6. How can I make the vanity mirror more of a focal point?

Put lighting to work to highlight the mirror and draw the eye to it’s loveliness. Then your carefully chosen mirror will function as a lovely focal point for the bathroom.


  • Hang a small glittering chandelier above the sink and in front of the vanity mirror.

  • If your bathroom is less formal, choose a pair of whimsical hanging lights instead of a traditional chandelier.

  • Install matching wall sconces on either side of the mirror glass.

  • Have the mirror installed with spacers so that it stands off from the wall, and back-light it with LED lights.

  • Drape string lights with round bulbs around the vanity mirror for a whimsical effect.


Vanity mirrors can also be dressed up with the addition of a DIY “frame” or border adhered to the wall around it. Another approach is to create a gallery wall by hanging a curated group of pictures and other decorative items around the mirror.

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7. What specialty mirrors are available?

Most bathroom vanity mirrors are made from standard mirror glass, but there are a few other options:


  • Antique Mirror: New mirror can be “antiqued” by applying an acid wash to the backing and then rinsing it off. The antique style mirror can be used for the vanity mirror, but you may also wish to have a standard mirror available for makeup application. Antique mirror is perfect for maintaining the authenticity of a historic home or giving new bathroom décor more of a layered, collected over time feel.

  • Tinted Mirror: Mirror glass can also be color tinted. ABC Glass & Mirror, for example, offers gray and bronze tinted mirror. This type of mirror has lots of character, but it is typically used for accent mirrors rather than the main vanity mirror, since it does not provide a fully accurate reflection of your face.


If neither antique mirror nor tinted mirror is right for your bathroom, remember that you can still make the vanity mirror special through the other custom options covered in this article.

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8. What shapes are possible for a vanity mirror?

Tons of traditional and edgy shapes are possible when you order a custom mirror. In fact, the shape of a bathroom mirror does much to define its character and style. Classic options include:


  • rectangular

  • square

  • oval

  • round

  • square or rectangle with rounded corners

  • diamond


Choose from these shapes for bathrooms that are traditional, transitional, vintage, farmhouse, rustic, and contemporary chic.

Unique mirror shapes can also be fabricated:


  • triangle

  • trapezoid

  • half-circle

  • crescent

  • tear drop

  • symmetrical

Certain shapes suggest themselves for certain situations and decorating schemes. For example:


  • A rectangular mirror is usually best when you want as much reflective glass as possible over a wide vanity counter.

  • Oval and diamond shaped mirrors look very chic above a pedestal sink.

  • Out-of-the-ordinary shapes like triangle and half-circle fit in well funky modern spaces with lots of personality.

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9. Should my bathroom have any mirrors besides the vanity mirror?

The desirability and feasibility of including an additional mirror depend on the space and how it is used. In a powder room or small bathroom, a single vanity mirror may be sufficient. However, if you and your spouse share a bathroom with one sink and mirror, it might be helpful to create a makeup station elsewhere in the master suite. This should include a wall mirror, table with storage, a stool or chair, and good lighting. Other possibilities include:


  • Some homeowners opt to create a mirrored wall by covering a bathroom wall with standard, antique, or tinted mirror. This makes the space look larger and can double as a full-length dressing mirror. A mirrored wall can be created with one or several large mirrors or many small mirrors arranged in a tile or mosaic fashion.

  • Other framed or frameless mirrors can be hung around the vanity mirror to create a charming gallery wall of mirrors. Varying the frames, edges, styles, sizes, and shapes of the mirrors will make the collection visually interesting.

  • A Crittall style mirror has black framing and grille-work resembling window muntins and mullions. A mirror like this makes a lovely wall hanging in a bathroom without an actual window. Some homeowners will even add to the faux window effect by adding a curtain!

  • In a small bathroom, you may wish to find a tiny area of wall space where an extra mirror can be hung so that two people can get ready for work/school at the same time.


If you decide to add an extra mirror to your bathroom, keep the following tips in mind as you decide where to hang it.


  • A mirror hung perpendicular to a window will reflect as much natural light as possible.

  • A mirror placed directly across from a window will bounce the light back outside.

  • Before hanging any mirror, consider what it will reflect and whether you want to see two of these. This is especially important in a bathroom where you might end up duplicating the view of the toilet or the laundry hamper!

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10. How can I have a custom vanity mirror fabricated and installed in my bathroom?

Custom vanity mirrors offer several advantages. For example, a mirror can be cut to fully fill the wall space above your sink. Minute adjustments can be made to the mirror dimensions if there are surfaces that are out of level, walls that are out of plumb, and/or corners that are not perfectly square. This will both ensure a proper fit and camouflage the irregularities. A custom mirror is also the way to go if you want cut-outs or a unique mirror shape. Finally, when you order a custom mirror, you can choose a very specific combo of features, such as a round antique-style mirror wrapped in matte black metal.


Here’s the process for ordering a custom vanity mirror from ABC Glass & Mirror:


  • Call us at (703)257-7150 or contact us online here to set up a free in-home meeting with one of our mirror experts.

  • At this consultation, an ABC glazier measures and examines the relevant wall space, takes detailed notes, displays samples and pictures, and answers your questions.

  • You receive an emailed, no-obligation price quote for the vanity mirror options you choose.

  • Once you’ve made your decision, place your order with one of our team members.

  • We fabricate, order, and gather all that’s needed for the project and then make the installation appointment.

  • Trained glaziers install your custom vanity mirror, and you get to enjoy it for years to come.

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11. How can I clean and care for my new vanity mirror?

Vanity mirrors often see a lot of daily use, so regular cleaning helps keep them looking their best. Most vanity mirrors should be thoroughly cleaned at least once a week, but more frequent touch-ups may be desirable. Keep these pro tips in mind:


  • Never use harsh or abrasive cleaning agents or materials on a mirror.

  • Apply the cleaning solution to the cloth or paper you are using to clean the mirror rather than spraying it on the glass directly. This prevents the cleaner from dripping down the mirror and potentially damaging the backing.

  • Avoid paper towels or fabrics that leave lint. Microfiber cloths and old newspapers are good alternatives.

  • Always buff the mirror dry, check for streaks, and repeat the cleaning process if needed.


Remember that if your vanity mirror has framing or metal wrapping, this should be regularly cleaned and dusted as well.


Contact ABC Glass & Mirror at (703)257-7150 if you’d like to set up your free, no-obligation vanity mirror consultation.

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