Bathroom Mirror vs. Regular Mirror: Is There a Difference?

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If you are thinking about renovating your bathroom, it goes without saying that in addition to all the ceramic fittings, you will need to buy a new bathroom mirror as well.

Even if you aren’t interested in a complete overhaul, replacing your bathroom mirror can be a great (and inexpensive) way to update your décor.

However, with the countless options available in the market, choosing the right mirror for your bathroom can prove to be a rather difficult task.

In this comprehensive guide, we gaze deeper into bathroom mirrors to help you pick the right one for your project.

But before we move on to discussing the types of bathroom mirrors there’s one important issue that needs to be addressed: the difference between bathroom mirrors and regular mirrors.

Bathroom Mirror vs. Regular Mirror

Bathroom vs Regular Mirror

Most DIY enthusiasts who are renovating their bathroom for the first time think that it’s ok to replace the existing mirror with whichever option they like.

However, that is not the case. You cannot use just about any mirror as a bathroom mirror.

Well, technically you can, of course. But the point is that you shouldn’t.

Bathroom mirrors are different from regular mirrors in several ways.


That’s because, under federal laws, all bathroom fittings and furnishing items must meet the specified safety standards.

This includes everything from the bathtub and toilet seat to the sink, windows, shower door, and well, you guessed it, mirror.

The Difference Between Bathroom Mirrors and Regular Mirrors

According to federal safety laws, bathroom mirrors must be made from tempered glass.

Tempered glass, sometimes also known as toughened glass, is a special type of glass designed with safety considerations.

Unlike regular glass, tempered glass undergoes special chemical treatments before being molded into the desired shape in a temperature-controlled environment. 

It is different from ordinary glass in the sense that when struck with brute force, it breaks into small rounded shards rather than sharply pointed pieces. This helps prevent injuries.

Apart from tempered glass, mirrors made from laminated glass are also allowed for use in bathrooms.

On the other hand, ordinary mirrors may or may not be made from these materials.

Usually, mirrors are made by spraying a thin layer of molten silver or aluminum onto the back of a transparent sheet of glass.

If you check your state or local building codes, you are likely to come across some statement that restricts homeowners or developers from replacing bathroom mirrors at free will.

Using regular mirrors in your bathroom can be hazardous for you and your family members.

You might accidentally break it when cleaning or coming out of the shower.

Or it may break on its own due to the temperature changes and pressure buildup when you take a hot bath.

Keeping aside the safety point of view, there are more reasons why you shouldn’t consider installing a regular mirror in your bathroom.

Ordinary glass is prone to becoming fogged and greasy easily.

This can prove to be a huge disadvantage when you are in a hurry and need to quickly put on makeup or fix your hair after taking a shower. 

So far as a bathroom makeover goes, you need to ensure that every item you pick for the job is bought from a reliable vendor of sanitary supplies.

What Mirror Size Should You Purchase?

The best size for a bathroom mirror differs from case to case.

There are various factors that need to be taken into account for deciding which size will work best for you.


The width of the mirror is mostly determined by the width of your bathroom countertop.

Ideally, the mirror must be as wide as the countertop or a maximum of 2 to 3 inches short on both sides.

This is mostly because of aesthetic purposes, but it also maximizes the overall functionality as you have a larger surface to look at.

Keeping the mirror flush with the vanity can also make your bathroom look considerably larger than it actually is.

Plus, the larger the surface of the mirror, the more light it reflects, which in turn, gives you a better view.


The optimal height for a bathroom mirror is mostly a matter of personal preferences.

Tall people will need a significantly long mirror, or install one relatively higher up on the wall.

However, make sure that you don’t compromise the vision for other members in the household when fixing a bathroom mirror at a higher place.

What Type of Mirror Do You Need?

If you consider them one-by-one based on their shape, style, main function, and frame material, there are probably more than 20 different types of bathroom mirrors in total.

Here, we highlight the major categories of bathroom mirrors that every homeowner needs to know.

This will hopefully help you decide which type of mirror is best suited to your needs.

Wall Mirrors

Woman Looking Herself In The Mirror

Wall mirrors, as is evident by the name, are designed to be mounted on the bathroom wall.

Some even come with a stand so you can place them directly on the bathroom floor.

This makes them more versatile as you can move them around when needed or even transfer them to your bedroom or another bathroom if required.

Wall mirrors can be both, framed or frameless.

The former comes in a range of different styles and can give your place a pop of color, whereas the latter will give the room a more open look.

Decorative Mirrors

Decorative mirrors are a sub-category of wall mirrors. As the name suggests, their main purpose is to improve the aesthetic qualities of a bathroom.

We mention them separately because their range of impressive designs simply deserves a special mention.

From square, round, oval, and triangular to hexagonal, asymmetric and whatnot, decorative mirrors come in all kinds of shapes and sizes you can possibly imagine. 

In the rare case that you can’t find one to your liking, you can even order a customized one at most hardware shops.

You can install these mirrors on either side of the main mirror, or the shower door, or wherever else you prefer.

Full-Length Mirror

Full-length mirrors are typically installed near the entrance of the bathroom.

You can also install one on your shower door if you have a rather small bathroom and there’s no space on the walls.

Mounting a full-length mirror directly opposite a vanity mirror is perhaps the smartest way to create an illusion of more space.

Pivot Mirror

Bathroom Pivot Mirror

Pivot mirrors can be mounted on any of your bathroom walls. Usually, it is best to fix it beside the vanity mirror.

This is because a pivot mirror allows you to view yourself from various different angles.

These mirrors are extremely handy when applying makeup and styling your hair. So, try to get one of these for your bathroom.

Most of the pivot mirrors that hit the shelves today have built-in lighting options.

This gives you the perfect view, allowing you to get ready Hollywood-style.

Tips for Choosing bathroom Mirrors

Once you have decided on the style you want, buying a bathroom mirror is simple.

All you need to do is make sure the glass isn’t chipped and you can happily head back home with your purchase, right?

No, wrong.

While the design is a major factor to take into account, it should not be the only thing you consider when buying a bathroom mirror.

Here are a few important things to keep in mind before finalizing the transaction:

Check Your Schedule

A high-quality bathroom mirror doesn’t require frequent cleaning.

But you still need to think about how much time you devote to cleaning your bathroom on a regular basis. Floor-length mirrors can require a lot of work.

Plus, if you are installing a couple of decorative mirrors, it can be hard to wipe their surfaces clean.

Your ordinary wiper might not be a match for those fancy frames and intricate cuts.

Stick to Your Budget

The cost of bathroom mirrors can range from a hundred dollars or less to over a thousand dollars depending on the style, material, and manufacturer.

You can easily find one that fits within your budget but try not to opt for a cheap one just to save a handful of bucks.

It can have a negative impact on your bathroom décor.

Plus, inexpensive mirrors are unlikely to have any protection against moisture, so, you will eventually be forced to replace them again after some time.

We hope this guide has helped you understand the difference between bathroom mirrors and regular mirrors, as well as made it easy for you to decide which type of mirror you need to buy for your place.

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