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Bathroom Mirrors – Framed, Frameless, or Functional?

Every bathroom has a mirror, but not all bathroom mirrors are created equal. Some are framed and others frameless, some with built in storage, lights, or other features, and many more without. But with so many choices, it can be a little difficult to know which one is right for you and your bathroom – and all too easy to opt for a pre-packaged mirror that might not be the best fit for your needs. So, before you buy, consider all the types of bathroom mirrors out there to be sure you choose the best type.

Frameless Bathroom Mirrors

Double Bathroom Vanity With Full-Wall Frameless Mirror (by De Mattei Construction)
Double Bathroom Vanity With Full-Wall Frameless Mirror (by De Mattei Construction)

Popular in high design, especially in larger bathroom, frameless mirrors take up all the space on the wall above your vanity, from the top of the backsplash all or nearly all the way up to the ceiling, and often all the way across the wall horizontally. Frameless mirrors are made of a single large piece of glass, and so can be quite expensive, but offer the fullest reflection of any type of bathroom mirror. They don’t have any storage, but can help make a bathroom seem much larger than it is, and can easily be used by multiple people at once.

Framed Bathroom Mirrors

Glenayre Framed Bathroom Mirrors From Xylem
Glenayre Framed Bathroom Mirrors From Xylem

These simple, relatively small bathroom mirrors are the type that are frequently packaged with pre-made bathroom vanities. Designed to be hung at face height, they offer much less coverage than a frameless mirror, but will get the job done. Framed bathroom mirrors don’t come with any storage (though framed, recessed medicine cabinets offer much the same look with included shelving) but often have a sort of homey appearance to them. They also work especially well in pairs, with one mounted over each basin in a double sink vanity.

Decorative Framed Mirrors

Decorative Antique Mirror In Classic White From Legion Furniture
Decorative Antique Mirror In Classic White From Legion Furniture

Technically decorative framed mirrors are just framed mirrors, but rather than simple rectangular wood frames, these feature elaborate carved wood details or painted accents, sometimes in unique shapes. Decorative mirror frames are often packaged with traditional or antique style bathroom vanities to help coordinate the wood work between the two. Stylish art piece mirrors can also be purchased separately to dress up a simple modern decor.

Storage Mirrors

Offset Storage Mirror From Legion Furniture
Offset Storage Mirror From Legion Furniture

Storage mirrors are becoming more popular in modern bathroom design, and can frequently be found packaged with efficient modern vanities. Essentially, these are a compromise between framed mirrors and medicine cabinets, replacing a simple rectangular frame with ledges for storage, small cubbies or shelves, and even small hand towel bars. The storage component doesn’t block the bathroom mirror, of course, and is typically made out of the same material as the vanity (like a frame). It also allows for over-the-sink storage without having a large swing-out door like a medicine cabinet.

Medicine Cabinets

Medicine Cabinet With Built In LCD TV And MP3 Hookup From Robern
Medicine Cabinet With Built In LCD TV And MP3 Hookup From Robern

The old stand by of bathroom storage, medicine cabinets are seeing a resurgence in popularity after going out of vogue for many years. Medicine cabinets are simply a mirror-fronted cabinet that can either be mounted to the wall above your sink or recessed into it, providing a bathroom mirror and hidden shelved storage in one. Medicine cabinets with mirrors built inside the door and behind the shelves can be a little more convenient, and in addition to being used as a primary bathroom mirror, they can also be mounted to an adjacent wall for added storage. In addition to the resurgence of standard medicine cabinets, many models have gotten a high-tech makeover as well, with luxury features like built in TVs and sound systems, as well as built in outlets and cold storage for a spa-like luxury experience.

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Backlit Mirrors (And Other High Tech Bathroom Mirrors)

Fly Backlit Mirror With Matching Vanity From Iotti
Fly Backlit Mirror With Matching Vanity From Iotti

Medicine cabinets aren’t the only bathroom mirrors getting a high-tech makeover, with backlit mirrors especially becoming hugely popular. These are bathroom mirrors with lights installed either directly behind or right into the surface of the mirror, so they shine directly outwards on your face, eliminating the unsightly shadows cast by overhead lights. These can either be purchased pre-made or custom built, depending on the size of the mirror and lights you want. And, yes, even a standard mirror can be used to incorporate television screens that you can watch while you bathe or shave, but that blend right back into the mirror when they’re turned off.

Shop Bathroom Vanity Sets by Iotti:

What’s the most important feature to you when it comes to buying a new bathroom mirror – size of the mirror, amount of storage, luxury, style, or something else?