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Do I have to buy a mirror specifically suitable for my bathroom for a vanity mirror?

No, a homeowner does not have to purchase a special type of mirror as a bathroom vanity mirror. So-called bathroom mirrors are usually those nondescript mirrors a homeowner finds in the bathroom section of a big box store or even a hardware store. It seems like they shouldn’t go anywhere other than the bathroom, and because they’re so boring, they often don’t.

A mirror is a piece of glass with a metal back, usually silver or aluminum to make it reflective. Mirrors can be flat, concave or convex. Concave mirrors increase reflection and are useful for shaving and applying makeup. Unless the owner finds them really off-putting, these types of mirrors can be good to put in the bathroom. What really matters when choosing and using a mirror in the bathroom is lighting. The lighting in a bathroom should not be too bright and the owner should be aware of the different qualities of light that fluorescent, incandescent and halogen lights emit.

The only concern a homeowner might have with a bathroom vanity mirror is the unavoidable heat and humidity in the room. Wood-framed mirrors can be very pretty, but they are not highly recommended as bathroom mirrors, as they can swell and warp if not treated with a sealant. High humidity can also damage the mirror’s reflective backing, leading to a condition called foxing. These are dark spots that can be seen on the glass. Some people, especially collectors, love these places, but some may find them off-putting.

A vanity mirror that is placed in the bathroom must also be securely anchored to the wall. The wall has to be smooth, solid and dry. Putty, an adhesive compound that can attach a mirror to the wall without clips, screws, or any other hardware, should not be used. A mirror, especially a heavy one, should be hung on screws that are secured to a solid wall with anchors. They should not be hung with a single screw, but rather screws arranged in a way that distributes the weight of the mirror and makes sure it is secure. Nobody wants to contemplate what can happen if the humidity in a bathroom weakens an already weak bra.

Of course, if there’s a sturdy shelf on the wall, the mirror can simply rest on it and lean against the wall.

A vanity mirror should complement the bathroom decor, or even the bedroom decor if the bathroom is en-suite. One thing to do with a mirror in a bathroom or on a vanity is to surround it with makeup lights. Long a staple of Hollywood movies and actors’ dressing rooms, this setup provides shadow-free light that’s ideal for applying makeup. A bathroom mirror in a seaside cabin can be surrounded by pretty seashells. The homeowner can do this themselves with some glue and seashells from the beach. A vanity mirror may have an etched glass or metal frame or no frame at all. It can be round, square, oval, rectangular, or even slightly irregular.

A vanity mirror can be ordered online at a high-end home furnishings store, found at a yard sale or junk shop, or purchased at a big box store. Some people even find their favorite mirror on the street, waiting to be thrown out with the rest of someone else’s trash.

So, after taking humidity and heat into account, any type of mirror can be good for the bathroom.


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