There are so many mirrors out there: bathroom mirrors, wall mirrors, metal framed mirrors, and glass framed mirrors.
You can get a full-length mirror, illuminated mirror or a magnifying mirror – heck, then you need to decide if you want it to be wall mounted, a floor mirror, or used in some other practical way, like a mirrored cabinet.
The point is, the world of mirrors (and mirror placement) is a complicated business. Or at least, it was until now. Because now we’ve put together the ultimate mirror buying guide for your convenience!
In this article:
- Shapes and sizes
- Frame materials
- Mirror buying by room
- Quick-fire mirror placement and care top tips
- Take-home message
Shapes and sizes
There are so many mirror options available to you when looking for a new mirror. But the biggest thing you need to think about is the size and shapes, because this will affect everything else from style choice to the space you have on the wall to hang it.
So, let’s cover shapes first.
There are so many shapes out there, but here are the most popular ones to hang on your walls:
- Rectangular mirrors
- Square mirrors
- Oval mirrors
- Round mirrors
Of course, you can choose a mirror with different shapes to those – maybe a star-shaped mirror is the right mirror for you – but with such a huge range of shapes out there, really it’s these four that are most popular.
So, if you want to stick with a style that’s timeless, then these are the styles for you.
The perfect mirror also needs to be the perfect size. You need it to not take up more space than it needs (so it doesn’t dominate an entire wall), but that also doesn’t mean you can’t pick a large mirror if it works in your space. If you’ve got a long hallway, for example, then a gallery wall of mirrors might be apt.
To help, stick to this guidance:
- Pick a mirror that’s 2/3 the size of the furniture below it
- Think about natural light, and how much you want to capture with your mirror to reflect light into your room
- Larger mirrors create the illusion of more space in your room (bigger rooms might not need this)
- Larger mirrors tend to work better in a modern home as they clash with the different styles you see in an older or more rustic home
Next up is frame materials. Your mirror’s frame materials will really be where you get to show off your style. It doesn’t matter if it’s hanging on your bathroom wall or in the living room, style matters. And don’t forget, frameless mirrors are always an option when you can’t decide.
Here are some of the most common ones you’ll need to decide between:
- Wood: Wood is a great choice for a mirror frame because it’s so versatile. Wooden mirrors work just as well as a larger mirror that’s the focal point of the room, as they do as small mirrors in a rustic farmhouse home. That’s what makes them so popular – because you can create lots of styles and finishes with them.
- Glass: Glass mirrors work great for bringing in more light, as the glass frame creates an almost window-like effect, which is great at capturing lights.
- Metal: Metal framed mirrors work in modern homes as they’re so stylish and look great on any wall to create an industrial finish.
- Plastic: Budget friendly but often very stylish, plastic mirrors have the benefit of being able to be styled to look like anything!
Mirror buying by room
The room of the house you’re planning to put your mirror in will determine a lot about what will work and what won’t, so pay attention…
Your bathroom mirror needs to be practical. Think about it. A mirrored bathroom cabinet doubles up as extra storage. Anti fog mirrors are great when you’re brushing your teeth after a hot shower.
You’ll need to think about shaving mirrors too, and maybe somewhere for applying makeup. Position is key here (you’ll need your shaving mirror to be close to a shaver socket, etc) and so is choosing the right wall mirror.
It doesn’t matter if it’s a rectangular mirror or one with led lights built in. For your bathroom, practicality is key!
Think about what you’re using it for. A full-length mirror will work best because you need the full length for what you’ll be using it for the most: checking out your outfit before you leave.
Floor mirrors work great too, and so do free standing mirrors you can move around to get the best light.
The right mirror in your bedroom is always the mirror that works for you and makes sense for what you’ll be using it for.
Your hallway should always have a mirror. Placing it on a wall by your front door will make the room feel bigger, and it adds a lot of style to the place too – and hallways are often places that lack style.
You’ll want to choose a mirror that gives you a full picture of yourself before heading out the door. The frame style and general vibe is up to you though!
When you pick a mirror for your living room, there’s only one rule to live by: lighting is everything!
Get the right mirror in the right position, and you’ll catch so much natural light that it’ll transform the space.
Quick-fire mirror placement and care top tips
- What’s your wall type? Will it need wall plugs or are there wooden support beams available?
- Always use a spirit level.
- Take a clean cloth (preferably a soft cloth) and dampen it slightly. Then wipe down the surface of the mirror glass in a zigzag motion until every inch is covered. Spot clean to remove stubborn stains for a streak free mirror.
- A small amount of white vinegar works with glass, too.
- Eye level is best.
- Always leave a 15-20cm gap between a mirror and any furniture below it.
How much should I spend on a mirror?
Mirrors are probably the most affordable furnishing items in your home. You can pick up a decent full length mirror for around $20-30, but when you need to choose between quality and look, it all comes down to preference.
Which mirror brand is best?
There are many mirror brands on the market today, but not all mirrors have good quality. The biggest deciding factor is the material the manufacturer makes their mirrors out of – if it’s a cheap metal with no wooden backing, you may as well save your money for something better.
What shape mirror is good for bathroom?
You can’t go wrong with the classic full-length rectangular mirror. This is good for above your sink or bathtub, or if you want to create a full length wall mirror.
What shape mirror is best for bedroom?
Rectangular mirrors are not ideal for your bedroom because they’re more formal looking – it doesn’t really fit the persona of a bedroom unless you go for a fancy, gold frame or something. So instead we recommend going for either 1) circular mirrors 2) oval mirrors and 3) small square mirrors.
Are thicker mirrors better?
Thicker mirrors tend to look more elegant than thinner ones – it’s just that simple.
What material is best for mirrors?
Glass mirrors are the most common, but they’re not very high quality. Wood and metal, however, give a much better reflection and you can expect it to have a longer lifespan as well.
How much time does the average person look in the mirror?
You’ll probably spend at least a minute or two per day looking in the mirror.
This mirror buying guide wasn’t designed to tell you what to buy and what not to buy. Rather, it was designed to show you the vast array of options there are out there, and to get you thinking about what your new mirror might need to be like to suit your style and your home.
So, use our guide as support, but most importantly, pick out the mirror that’s best for you – because that will always be the mirror you’re happiest with. Rules be damned!