Before making the switch to a decorative bathroom mirror, find out if it's the best choice for your space
A decorative mirror can take away as much from a bathroom as it adds to it. While unusual designs may bring a theme to life, they can also cut down on storage space and lighting and be a bit of a pain to clean and maintain. Consider these pros and cons before swapping your basic bathroom mirror for a stylish—but slightly less functional—alternative.
Pro: Decorative Mirrors Can Make Your Bathroom Stand Out
Mirrors are an essential bathroom element often located right in the middle of the room. Swapping this centerpiece for a more modern option practically transforms your space single-handedly. Atypical shapes add an abstract flair to what might be an otherwise traditional layout. And quirky trims fill your bathroom with shades and textures that complement the rest of your decor—like brushed bronze to balance bright white countertops or lightwood to highlight your newly remodeled black sink.
Con: ...but Many Options Sacrifice Function for Style
The downside of eye-catching mirrors is that they aren’t always as functional as their ordinary counterparts. Options with small surface areas can make it difficult to check your reflection. And unique shapes often have nooks and crannies that can be hard to reach and even harder to clean. While hanging multiple small mirrors at different heights may be aesthetically pleasing, you’ll find that this trend is better in theory than it is in practice—especially when getting ready in the morning.
Pro: Decorative Mirrors Can Help Your Bathroom Feel Sleek and Organized
Clunky vanities equipped with mirror-and-medicine cabinet combos can make a bathroom feel dated at best and claustrophobic at worst. Ditching this setup for a modern, decorative mirror is one of the fastest, low-lift ways to bring this space into the 21st century. A slim, flat design will make cramped areas feel more spacious. And clean lines and polished finishes will make cluttered spaces less chaotic right away.
Con: ...but They Can Actually Reduce the Amount of Storage Space
One of the cons of getting rid of the classic, in-mirror medicine cabinet setup is that you’ll instantly have less storage space. But let this be an opportunity to remodel your bathroom layout to be more efficient in general. Add a modern shelving unit or discreet cabinet system to accompany your sleek, new mirror. You can customize a design to suit your bathroom and build it yourself, or consider some prefabricated options—there’s something for just about every price range. A custom 36-inch mirror costs anywhere from $150 to $350.
Pro: Decorative Mirrors Can Be the Secret to Achieving a Certain Style
If you have a particular theme in mind for your bathroom, the right decorative mirror can be just what you need to pull it all together. And it’s not difficult to find an option for just about any theme. A submarine window-style mirror will fit perfectly in a nautical space, while an ornate, dark wood frame will be the cherry on top of a royal interior.
Con: ...but They Aren’t As Adaptable If or When You Decide to Switch Things Up
While distinctive mirror styles can be perfect for themed bathrooms, they aren’t always very versatile. If you decide to change your setup, you may have to swap your mirror out all over again. On the other hand, DIYers will be happy to know that it’s totally possible to refurbish a mirror to update it to your current needs. With a can of paint and a few smart tricks, you can make your vanity and mirror look brand new.
Pro: Illuminated Decorative Mirrors Will Make Your Vanity Glow
Nowadays, it’s easy to find a stylish mirror that’s also equipped with LED lighting. Available in just as many shapes, sizes, and flourishes as traditional bathroom mirrors, these options are especially great for dark spaces.
Con: ...but They’ll Also Leave You With Fewer Lighting Options Elsewhere
Large, decorative mirrors end up hogging a lot of the wall space that might normally be used for additional lighting. In general, it’s a good idea to have multiple light sources above and beside bathroom mirrors to keep shadows from overtaking your view. This is true even if you’ve opted for LED mirrors, which aren’t powerful enough to be the sole source of light in your bathroom.