How to Choose the Right Mirror For Your Space
Mirrors are one of those small design elements that make a big difference in the overall look of the space, but when it comes to choosing the right mirror, there are a few rules we like to stick to. Shea and the design team have learned a lot about how to select mirrors while doing it for their clients over the years, and today we’re going to walk you through their process of choosing the right style, shape, size, and grade. Here are a few things we consider when choosing a mirror for a space.
No. 01 | Size
There are a few rules of thumb we abide by when choosing the size of a mirror. Over a piece of furniture. If we’re selecting a mirror for above a piece of furniture, we like the mirror to be smaller than the piece it sits above to allow for some breathing room, much like art. When the mirror covers the whole piece of furniture below it, it can take over the entire feeling of the look and dwarf the furniture piece in a negative way. However, if the mirror is a few inches shorter than the piece of furniture, it’s easier to layer a lamp and decor on top of the piece and create a balanced vignette.
Hanging a mirror on a wall is a great way to make your room feel bigger, but you don’t want the mirror to dominate the entire wall. If we’re hanging a mirror on a narrow wall, we like to leave a few inches of wall space outside of the mirror to create balance.
Choosing the right-sized mirror for a bathroom is all about the elements surrounding it. If you’re doing a new build and you are choosing your lighting, plumbing, and electrical, you have the flexibility to customize the layout and can decide to do one large mirror or two smaller mirrors. Whereas if you’re remodeling, you’ll likely have to work around the current electrical and sink placement.
Typically, if we have two sinks, we do two mirrors with sconces on either side. We like the mirrors to at least cover the length of the sink, so if the sinks are close together, sometimes sticking with one, longer mirror is a safer bet.
In a new build, we try to mix up the layout of the bathrooms throughout the home for a more custom look and feel. For example, if we do two, small mirrors with side sconces in one bath, we might do one long mirror with an overhead light in the other.
No. 02 | Shape
When it comes to selecting the right-shaped mirror for a space, there a few things we like to account for. Over a piece of furniture, we like to get creative with our mirror shapes and often choose more unconventional shapes. If we have a dresser with soft, round edges, we tend to contrast it with a square-shaped mirror, whereas if we have a piece with harsher edges, an arch or circular shape can create the perfect contrast.
In a bathroom or powder room, the first thing you have to consider is the surrounding lighting. If the electrical in a remodel is wired for two side sconces, we’ll likely choose a circular-shaped mirror rather than a square-shaped mirror, and if it is wired for an overhead light, we typically choose a square-shaped mirror. We have done a circular mirror with an overhead sconce in the past when the space has called for it, but it can be harder to find the right balance and make it work functionally.
No. 03 | Style
Choosing the right style of your mirror has a lot to do with the elements surrounding it, and since we gravitate towards transitional looks, we tend to create a mixture in each vignette. Here are a few things to note.
There is a difference between bathroom-grade and non-bathroom-grade mirrors (we’ll get to that later,) but when it comes to style, bathroom-grade mirrors are typically more streamlined. Also, sometimes by the time you have lighting, plumbing, and all of the other elements that constitute a bathroom, doing a really detailed mirror can be distracting to the eye. For both of those reasons, we tend to keep mirror styles simple in a lot of our bathroom spaces. We do, however, still like to play with style balance by using the mirror to play off of or contrast modern or traditional elements in the space.
When it comes to mirror finishes, we tend to think of a mirror as a standalone. Meaning that even if we decide not to mix metals on lighting, plumbing, and hardware, we may still choose a contrasting finish for the mirror.
Mixing styles with your mirror over a piece of furniture is even more fun, and we love to experiment with balancing traditional and modern styles. For example, if we have a more traditional dresser style, we may go with a modern-looking mirror, and vice versa. If you’re choosing a mirror for your wall, look around your space and try to get a feel for what it is missing. If you have a lot of rounded silhouettes in the room, maybe you need something rectangular. If you have a lot of streamlined pieces, picking something with more detail may create more interest and dimension.
No. 04 | Grade
Last but most certainly not least, choosing the right mirror means knowing your grade requirements. While a mirror over a piece of furniture or on a wall doesn’t necessarily have specific function requirements, a bathroom mirror is a whole different story. Since bathrooms equate for quite a bit of humidity, the mirror in your bathroom must follow a few requirements to avoid mold and other unwanted elements. When looking at a mirror online, you should be able to tell if it is bathroom grade or not. Here are a few things to look for:
No 1: Mention of “Bath Rated”
No. 2: Shatterproof
No. 3: Plated, not painted
No. 4: Easy hanging method
There are, however, always exceptions to this rule. In powder bathrooms, for example, we will sometimes choose mirrors with more detail that are not “bath rated,” since they do not have to deal with moisture as much as full baths do.