Should I buy a bathroom mirror or bathroom mirror cabinet?

A bathroom mirror does so much more than just reflect, it helps brighten an interior and breathes style and sophistication into spaces too.

If you have wall space above your wash basin or vanity unit, the chances are that you are considering either a mirror or a mirrored cabinet to complete the fresh look. Since both mirrors and cabinets compete for the same wall space, the question of which to select comes up fairly frequently when it comes to designing a bathroom interior.

Acrylic 360 edge-lit bathroom mirror
Bathroom Mirror Cabinet with LED dot formation lighting

Whilst there are several obvious benefits to both options, we have pulled together some factors to consider when it comes to deciding whether to go for a mirror or mirrored cabinet, to help aid your own decision-making process.

  • How big is the bathroom?

Firstly, consider the room size. It may seem obvious, but smaller rooms more frequently require smaller mirrors or units, and for smaller bathrooms and en suites, often a slimline mirror is best suited to the space. Slimline mirrors provide bathrooms with a sleek and fluid look, which translates into both modern and traditional schemes, dependent upon the styling. Be sure to research slimline mirrors that offer other functionalities if this is high on your list of priorities.

Slimline bathroom mirror with a bevelled edge

For larger bathrooms, alternatively, mirrored bathroom cabinets offer the versatility of providing ample storage space to help keep spaces clutter-free and clean. For bathrooms with double basins, selecting two cabinets or mirrors will create symmetry and visual balance in the room.

  • Where will the mirror or cabinet be hung?

The wall on which the cabinet or mirror will be hung, needs to be big enough, and for cabinets, there should be ample space either side of the doors to avoid collisions with other items. For example, it is best to avoid positioning cabinets in the corners of rooms to enable the doors to fully open.

You may also want to consider that cabinets and basins are often located opposite a bathroom door. This helps to avoid the side of a cabinet being the most prominent feature in a room, which can often feel barrier-like from an interior aesthetics perspective.

When it comes to selecting the size of the cabinet or mirror, take note of furniture proportions within the room. As a rule of thumb, the mirror or cabinet shouldn’t be wider than the piece of furniture or basin that it sits above, to help create a streamlined aesthetic. Note that any misalignment will be more noticeable with straight edged mirrors and cabinets, so lining up with either the basin or vanity unit below, is key to a pulled together design.

Bespoke mirrors that are made to order based on your own space requirements and exacting dimensions, are great for trickier spaces, such as bathrooms within the attic eaves.

  • Do you require storage?

It’s important to prioritise whichever option works best from a practical perspective. For example, consider whether you need the mirror to be multifunctional or simply just a mirror?

If storage is high up in terms of importance, it may be worth looking at cabinets with shelves for storage of toiletries and accessories, to keep other surfaces clutter-free.

Bathroom mirror cabinets can give your bathroom much needed additional storage.

Once you have established whether you’re in need of storage, plan the items that will be housed in the cabinet, so that you have an idea of height requirements for your shelving. The ability to move shelving up and down is often overlooked, yet adjustable shelves enable you to tailor and flex your storage to your own requirements.

  • Multifunctional mirrors and cabinets

Before deciding, consider whether you need any other functions for example, shaver sockets, audio, or digital clocks. All equally handy features to have permanently in the bathroom without having to bring in extra elements that may become water damaged, such as mobile phones and external speakers.

Bathroom cabinets with heated demisting doors that never steam-up

Consider cabinets with built in demisters – this is especially helpful in shower rooms with no or small windows – it can be frustrating having to constantly wipe misted-up mirrors!

  • Add a little glow up

Many mirrors and cabinets come with lights pre-built in, which can be useful when it comes to seeing detail.

Keep in mind any mood lighting that you would like. Colour changing lights can create a bold design with a little spa-like luxury, with ambient lighting helping create can provide a calm and serene space.

Opting for a light that runs all around the edge of the cabinet or mirror will help frame it, and projects a balanced glow around the room.

Dot style mirrors create a more subtle glow, whilst bar lighting helps create a stronger illumination in one area.

If considering a cabinet, look for those with lights underneath to project an ambient soft light. This will help brighten any darkness created by the bottom of the cupboards and the countertop.

  • Materials matter

When researching your new bathroom cabinet or mirror, ensure to check the materials from which it is made. High-grade aluminium offers enhanced quality and won’t ever rust – pretty important in a bathroom!

  • Plan your overall styling aesthetic

Are you more interested in modern and minimal or do you quite like stylish, statement pieces? If you prefer a simpler look and feel for example, mirrors will provide a more sleek and seamless result whereas a cabinet will make more of a statement as it protrudes further into the room.

Mirrors can easily be tied into an interior scheme and furniture styling. For example, for a natural, more effortless look, select organic shapes with soft edges such as rounded or pebble shaped mirrors. For rooms that are more symmetrical, or that are designed around harder lines, straight edged mirrors are likely to work better stylistically.

If you are still wondering which option would be best for your own home, here is a little round up of the advantages of both:

Final Conclusions…

Why we love bathroom mirrors:

  • They don’t intrude into the room and only use up a small amount of wall space as there isn’t much depth to them (consider slimline options for more compact bathrooms).
  • There are a wide variety of mirror sizes and shapes available, so they can effortlessly tie into an existing interior scheme.
  • Mirrors can make smaller rooms appear bigger by reflecting light around the room.
  • They can draw attention to a specific space and create a focal point in boxy rooms, particularly when selecting shaped mirrors.

Why we love cabinets:

  • Mirrored bathroom cabinets are handy for rooms that lack storage and can hide away all the clutter that we don’t want anyone else to see, offering a clean and sleek appearance.
  • They visually help balance a row of bathroom furniture underneath, creating a symmetrical room.
  • You can tie the cabinet finish in with the materials in the rest of the room to make a cohesive interior scheme.
  • They provide the best of both worlds, without compromise, reflection, and storage!
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