Decor Snob Interior Design Ideas and Inspiration
Can I Use a Regular Mirror in the Bathroom?

5 reasons why it might not be the best idea

By Blake Lockwood | Curated by Blake Lockwood | Reviewed by Blake Lockwood

Blake Lockwood, the seasoned interior designer behind Decor Snob, has made a name for himself with over 30 years of industry experience. As a member of esteemed associations such as the NCIDQ, CIDA, NAAB, and CCIDC, he upholds high standards in his work.  His content is always people-first, reliable, and engaging.

Can I Use a Regular Mirror in the Bathroom

Decorating can be challenging; there’s a lot to think about. But besides the aesthetics there’s functionality. Mirrors can be a nice touch to a room but in the bathroom, they’re a vital element. They not only add a sense of style, but they’re essential when you’re preparing to face your day.

So, can you use a regular mirror in the bathroom? No, the bathroom is full of moisture and a regular mirror can’t hold up to the humidity. This will cause the mirror’s backing to eventually break down. Also, some building codes treat bathroom mirrors differently than regular mirrors. Bathroom mirrors are sometimes required to be made with tempered glass. They can also be made with laminated glass.

The bathroom mirror is the most important mirror in the house and performs many tasks. It’s number one task is pragmatic. It helps you brush your teeth, fix your hair and check out that gorgeous face in the morning. But it also has an aesthetic quality (read also: Bathroom Mirror Ideas) and can add depth and dimension to a small room. One other thing a genuine bathroom mirror has to offer is safety.

How Does Moisture and Humidity Affect a Mirror?

Bathrooms get wet and steamy. Your mirror must be able to stand up to this damp environment. If you’re using a wood or metal framed mirror; you could have a problem.  You’ll want to go frameless. The backing will breakdown eventually. You may also have a problem with the wood warping or the metal frame rusting. Use a beveled-edged mirror that is made for the bathroom. It will last longer.

If you have your heart set on that Victorian wooden framed mirror or art deco metal framed mirror, don’t lose hope. You can still use it, but it won’t last as long as a frameless mirror. And remember to have safety glass installed in the frames.

Why Does a Bathroom Mirror Need to Be Safe?

You probably don’t have a lot of clothes on when you’re bathing. The broken glass would probably do a number on you. Bathroom mirrors are sometimes required to have tempered glass to lessen injuries. When damaged, tempered glass breaks into small round shards. This is a lot safer that a regular mirror. A regular mirror doesn’t have tempered glass and breaks into large pieces These pieces of glass have sharp edges. The potential for injury is greater. Which would you rather step on in your bare feet?

Laminated glass is like automobile windshields. The glass is embedded in vinyl. When broken it breaks off into a sheet. You won’t have any large pieces of glass to injure yourself.

Some local and or state building codes require safety glass in the bathroom. If you’re building a new house, you’ll want to make sure you check your government regulations. Even if it’s not required, it’s a good idea to go with safety glass.

Always look to make sure you have tempered or laminated glass on your bathroom mirror. It should say safety glass in the corner. If it doesn’t, you should find a mirror that does. Beauty or style shouldn’t stand in the way of safety. This is especially important if you are in an area that has a lot of storms or earthquakes.

What’s in a Shape?

Regardless if you have a frame, all mirrors have a certain shape. The three shapes are:

  • Convex Mirror
  • Concave Mirror
  • Plane Mirror

A convex mirror is spherical and bulges out. Because of this bulge it distorts the reflected person and makes them look smaller. That’s great when you’re on a diet and want to shrink. But if you’re putting on make-up or shaving, you want to be able to see.

A concave mirror is also spherical. It curves in, like a spoon. This will make you look larger. These are used in the bathroom where it’s important to see close-up.

Plane mirrors are flat and reflect exactly what you are. There’s no distortion. It is what it is. These are also used in bathrooms.

Form and Function Can Work Together in Your Bathroom.

Yes, you need a bathroom mirror to get ready in the morning. That’s its main function. You need to see yourself. But there are other ways a mirror can impact your bathroom. Think of it as a possible focal point. Different uses for the lowly mirror include:

  • Storage: You’ve heard of the old-fashioned medicine cabinet. Well, they’re still around. If you don’t have a lot of storage in your small bathroom, you should consider this type of mirror.
  • Create a Statement: Make the mirror the focal point of your bathroom. Dress it up…go big. There are many styles to choose from. Let it complement the décor of your house. Or, even better, go wild and let it stand out.
  • More Space: If you have a small bathroom use a mirror to make it look bigger. This is an old tried and true method to give the illusion of bigger space. Because a mirror refracts light, it gives dimension to your bathroom. Your mirror goes over the sink. But don’t be afraid to hang two. If you have a window in your bathroom, hang a mirror across from it. This will add to the illusion of space.
  • Let There Be Light: Do you have a dark bathroom? Light it up with mirrors. Use your big mirror over the sink. Place smaller mirrors around your bathroom on the walls. The mirrors will bounce back the little light you have and brighten up those dark corners.

How High Should You Hang Your Mirror?

The obvious answer is to hang it high enough so everyone can see themselves. But there are other ways to determine how high to hang a mirror. Any of them will work. It’s a matter of what works best for you. These methods include:

  • Mirror should go a few inches above the faucet
  • Center it between sink and lighting
  • About five to ten inches above the sink

Any of these methods will work. But the first thing I mentioned will work best. You must be able to see into it. So, in the end, throw out the ruler and hold the mirror up. If you can see yourself…it’s high enough.

There are Many Ways to Decorate with Mirrors.

Don’t limit yourself when it comes to a mirror in the bathroom. You don’t have to stop with one. A wall of mirrors is one way to lighten up and increase the size of a teeny bathroom. Just purchase those square wall mirror panels. Cover one whole wall. It will give dimension to your room. But please, only one wall, you don’t want to build an aquarium. Read also: Oval Mirror Ideas

Two vanities usually have two mirrors, but they don’t have to match. Each one of you has their own style…show it off. Matching is boring. So, what if the two of you have totally different tastes? Don’t worry about it, that’s what makes it fun and unique. Read also: Bathroom Vanity Ideas

Two mirrors over one sink. That’s right you can place a mirror on top of a mirror. In other words, place a very large mirror over your vanity and then attach another mirror to it. It will overlay. You’ll not only have added dimension, but you’re sure to hear enthusiastic compliments. This will turn your mirror and vanity into art. Read also: Vanity Mirror with Lights

A Bathroom Mirror is Unique.

Keep in mind that the bathroom isn’t like any other room in the house. Its personal. And the mirror that hangs in there should be unique as well. It needs to be a safe mirror. You don’t want to be hurt because it’s not the right mirror for the job.

A bathroom mirror should have:

  • Tempered glass or Laminated glass for safety purposes.
  • A frame that is NOT susceptible to moisture damage. No Wood and Metal frames.
  • Alternatively, try a frameless beveled mirror to avoid moisture damage.

You’ve gone to a lot of trouble to choose the right mirror. Make sure it’s safe and made of durable materials that can withstand the moisture. You’ll want it to last a long time.

And finally, have fun with your mirror. It has function, but enjoys its form as well.

Transform Your Home in Just 7 Days

Our LA designers create stunning spaces without the hassle or wait.
Get a custom design plan in just 1 week!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy. All images and recommendations have been carefully curated assuring that we provide you with the most accurate and trustworthy information available to us.

Every item on this page was hand-picked by a Decor Snob editor. We may earn commission on some of the items you choose to buy.

Get More Inspiration For Your Bathroom and Accessories

Common Questions About Your Bathroom and Accessories

Let's Get Started

Create an Account

By signing up, you agree to our Terms and Conditions
Already a member? Log in here

Welcome Back!

Sign in to your Decor Snob account.

Don’t have an account? Sign up.

Want to know when I post more Decor Ideas?

Type your email address below and you’ll be the first to know!

By subscribing you agree to receive newsletters and special email promotions. See privacy policy.