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  • Writer's pictureElla S

Bathroom Mirrors – Everything you Need to Know

While being seen as a constant mainstay in bathroom design, bathroom mirrors also have the ability to alter the look and feel of the bathroom space. They are vast in both design and style capabilities making them a versatile addition to any bathroom. Whether you are looking for a simple mirror to enhance the light in your bathroom or want a combined mirror and cabinet option to boost your storage space, the selection options are quite straightforward however, you must truly understand your requirements to pick a mirror specific to your bathroom.

The Bathroom Furniture Company basin are with oil rubbed bronze brassware and accessories.
The Bathroom Furniture Company basin are with oil rubbed bronze brassware and accessories.

Installation

Before looking for a mirror you need to decide on the size and positioning of the mirror within the bathroom. You firstly want to select where the mirror will go in relation to other pieces of bathroom furniture. Most people choose to place their mirror above the basin due to its practical position. However, if your basin is placed under a window or if this is a secondary mirror they can be placed almost anywhere within the bathroom. Secondary mirrors are excellent for creating light reflection and airiness within smaller bathrooms. In terms of positioning on the wall, it is best to install the mirror at a height where you can see both your head and shoulders.

Once you have selected your positioning, you want to choose the size. There is no real guide to mirror size, you need to decide what you feel will look best within your bathroom. This could be the same sizer or smaller than your vanity unit or you could go for a larger option on an adjacent wall for a more prominent feature within the bathroom. For this step, you may want to make up some mock mirror size guides from paper or cardboard to see how big the mirror will actually be. Larger mirrors make for a feature piece but remember you want to make a design statement whilst not overpowering the room.

Eco Bathrooms Image fitted furniture in gloss grey mist with chrome knob handles.
Eco Bathrooms Image fitted furniture in gloss grey mist with chrome knob handles.

Your Preferences

To help in narrowing down the options you want to consider what your requirements from the mirror will be. Are you simply looking for a finishing touch that will tie in all the elements of your bathroom design? Or do you want something that is able to add extra depth to the bathroom in terms of either an extra targeted light source or by providing a little bit more extra storage?

HIB Dimension mirror cabinet inner.
HIB Dimension mirror cabinet inner.

Cabinet or Standard Mirror

Current bathroom mirror trends lend to installing a mirror that has a dual purpose or comes with extra functionality; such as lighting, shaver sockets and even Bluetooth connection. However, for those wanting a paired back “classic” option a more minimalistic mirror may be the best option. Still adding extra light to the bathroom, “standard” bathroom mirrors come in a vast range of sizes and orientations. Ultra-thin designs sit almost flush against the wall to remove any bulky feelings around the basin area.

If you are wanting to add valuable storage space to your bathroom, mirror cabinets are a space-saving design that combines both a mirror and a cabinet. These can be fitted directly above the bathroom basin to keep everything within handy reach and remove clutter from directly around the bowl of the basin. Available in a wide range of sizes with multiple door options for those especially large units. Recessed versions that sit within the wall’s cavity are ideal for those that what the look of a “classic” mirror but with the functionality of a mirror cabinet. Lighting options around the full span of the mirror or targeted above and below allow the focusing of light and ambience around the basin area.

Keuco Royal Lumos illuminated mirror cabinet with wood detailing.
Keuco Royal Lumos illuminated mirror cabinet with wood detailing.

Illuminated or Non-Illuminated

The lighting within the bathroom can make or break the overall feel of the room. Dramatically harsh or dull lighting can make you appear different from what you actually look like when reflected in a bathroom mirror. This is why it is key to get the lighting in your bathroom correct, especially around the basin/mirror area. LED illuminated mirrors have become increasingly popular within the bathroom. They add that slight bit of extra targeted light that allows the user to get the best possible view of themselves. The ability to adjust the LED output allows for creating the required ambience within the bathroom especially when outside lighting levels fluctuate and cast shadows within the room. Other benefits of LED mirrors include targeted illumination down towards the basin for night-time hand washing.

Non-illuminated mirrors are ideal for those bathrooms that are already flooded with natural light or have a great source of light. Not requiring a part P certified electrician to install, they are easy enough to be sturdily installed by the home handyman. If your existing bathroom mirror installation doesn’t incorporate lights but you are still wanting to add extra light around the mirror, targeted bathroom light could be a great option. For more information on this check out our bathroom accessories guide.

HIB bathroom with Arena illuminated oval mirror.
HIB bathroom with Arena illuminated oval mirror.

Mirror Shape

Rectangular and square mirrors are by far the most popular choices within current modern bathroom design. The geometric shape gives more viewing space and can be easily coordinated with other elements of the bathroom. Possibly the most versatile in size, rectangular mirrors can often be hung both portrait or landscape and can be found in a multitude of designs to suit various bathroom sizes and designs.

For a softer traditional look rounded mirrors are able to add a slight contrast to the other harsh angular elements within a bathroom’s décor. Working well with the curvature of certain basins and pans, they are often found in more classically styled bathrooms, however modern variations with illumination and strap hangings look truly spectacular.

If you are looking for a more intricate design, mirror-on-mirror designs that include both rectangle and circle shapes can instantly draw attention to any bathroom. Another option for adding height and drawing the eye upwards is an oval mirror. The elongated shape of these mirrors adds an instant touch of height to smaller bathrooms and perfectly fills the space of those taller bathroom walls.

Imperial bathroom with a traditional style of mirror.
Imperial bathroom with a traditional style of mirror.

Framed or Frameless

Traditionally mirrors would have a frame around them to protect the integrity of the mirror itself, modern technology has meant this is no longer needed and has created the option of sleek frameless mirrors. For those still wanting to keep with traditional styling, framed mirrors are still available with both metal and wooden framing. Metal framed mirrors often have intricate ornate detailing that makes them perfect for matching across the rest of the bathroom accessories. Wooden mirrors, such as those from Imperial, can be matched in colour finish to other furniture elements in the bathroom. A modern twist can be found with Laufen’s Kartell framed mirror that has a congregated plastic frame which gives it a spectacular finishing look.

Frameless mirrors are highly favoured within the bathroom design industry. With the mirror spanning the whole mirror area, you get a somewhat endless streamlined look that gives an overall feeling of space wherever the mirror is installed. Adding to the desired minimalistic look in most modern bathrooms the overall design gives any size of frameless mirror of being bigger than it actually is.

Keuco black cosmetic mirror.
Keuco black cosmetic mirror.

Cosmetic Mirrors

An ideal pairing for use with a larger mirror when you want to be able to look at the finer details, shaving/vanity mirrors are the perfect extra addition. Installed next to a larger mirror they give the user the option of looking closer at themselves in order to get the perfect shave or touch up their make-up easily and precisely. Either square or circular in shape they come with a variety of lighting and size options. To add an extra element instead of just being a smaller version of a bathroom mirror, magnified sides allow the user to look closely at their face without having to move extremely close to the mirror. This is also aided by extendable and movable arms that allow for the positioning of the mirror in an almost 180° radius around the point of its installation on the wall.

 

Extras to Consider and Look Out For

Once you’ve decided on the basics of the style and design of your mirror you may be confused by other terms that fly around mirrors. Lots of these relate to specific elements that have been incorporated within the design of the mirror, such as demister pads, others refer to where the mirror can be positioned, such as IP44. Here is a quick breakdown of some of the key terms to look out for:

  • Demister pads – These are found within or behind the mirror and are used to prevent the mirror from steaming up when a bath or shower is being used. Usually set on a timer or switch these pads will ensure the mirror never gets fogged up.

HIB Duplus mirror cabinet with integrated charging socket.
HIB Duplus mirror cabinet with integrated charging socket.
  • Shaving sockets – Found within both mirror cabinets and “standard” mirrors they are two prong holes specifically designed for charging shavers or electric toothbrushes. Often positioned within mirror cabinets they allow for the easy storage and charging of the shaver.

  • USB sockets – Performing the same function as shaving sockets, USB sockets are useful for USB-charged electronics that may be used within the bathroom. Also becoming popular is the incorporation of wireless charging pads for the charging of mobiles while in the bathroom.

Zoning areas of a common bathroom layout.
Zoning areas of a common bathroom layout.
  • Lighting Zones – These refer to the areas around the bathroom where electrical appliances can be installed safely. The vast majority of bathroom mirrors will be placed out of any zone, but to ensure this is true you must avoid Zone 2. This means placing your mirror over 60cm above the washbasin.

  • IP (Ingress Protection) – This is a standardised uniform system that classifies the protection provided by the enclosure around the electrical device; e.g., the mirror cabinet’s outer protection for the internal components of the light. Split into two number categories the first number refers to how much protection against foreign objects with the highest rating being that it is totally protected against dust (6). The second number refers to how much water protection an object has, with 8 being the highest rating and objects of this standard being able to withstand being submerged in water.

HIB Solas mirror in chrome.
HIB Solas mirror in chrome.

This guide has covered all you need to know about mirrors, we now hope you are able to go on and pick the perfect mirror for your bathroom. At James Hargreaves Bathrooms we stock a wide range of mirrors and mirror cabinets and our team are on hand to help with any queries you have, so do feel free to contact us.

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