Do you sometimes contemplate adding a wall mirror to your room? Perhaps you want it for practicality or aesthetics and the illusion of a bigger space?
You’d most probably want to know all the tips there is behind getting one. If that's the case, this guide will help you. You’ll find vital tips for identifying the right mirror type on this page. It discusses major kinds, features, and other product specifics. Here’s what you should know about choosing the perfect unit!
What Are the Different Kinds Of Mirrors?
From Versailles’s walls to Ancient Greece, mirrors have been a symbol of wisdom and awareness. In today’s world, it is slightly different. These reflective objects now help with the practicability and decoration in our homes. Your choice of a mirror will not only depend on size but also its purpose and type. To help you choose, here are the different kinds of mirrors you can pick from.
1. Plane mirrors
With a flat reflective surface and hundreds of sizes to choose from, these are the most common and basic reflective glass available. They come in different shapes and sizes with no limitations. Small ones are common in powder compacts. Additionally, there is also a hanging mirror or free-standing mirror.
Plane mirrors are the only ones that reflect almost identical images of the original. But, these images are usually inverted. For instance, when you raise a right hand, your reflection will show you raising your left hand. This is because the light rays do not come from the image itself, and as such, the reflection is virtual. Mercury, gallium, and thin pieces of plate glass are common materials used in creating mirrors. The thin plate glass is great for producing outstanding images. What's more, the manufacturers use mercury and gallium. This is because they are reflective in their natural state.
2. Spherical mirrors
Unlike the planes, this next type of mirror mainly comes from glass or polished metals. They also come in concave and convex shapes that mimic spherical objects. People sometimes use these reflective glasses for entertainment purposes. This is because they give a distorted and funny appearance when you look at them.
- Concave mirrors work by creating an enlarged image. It does this when an object’s curved nature bounces light to its centre. Whereas, with convex, an outward bulge appears when the reflection is around the edges. This makes the image appear far away, smaller and sometimes, distorted.
- Spherical mirrors come in various sizes depending on their purpose. If you look closely, you will notice that many household items imitate the spherical appearance. Examples include jewellery boxes, teapots, spoons, and cabinet doors.
3. One or two-way mirrors
Manufacturers normally design one or two-way mirrors with three common materials. They include glass, mineral, and paint (to coat the last layer). They design them to be partially reflective because of the purpose they serve.
A classic example is a glass you see in security cameras or interrogation rooms. There is always the dark side (where the police stand behind to observe the case). Then there's a light side (which is where the interrogation happens). What makes this mirror unique is its lighting quality and thin layer. So, only half of the light bounces back when it shines in the front layer. This allows the remaining amount to pass through the glass’s pane.
They come in different sizes. Although they are not challenging to make, these mirrors require expertise to produce them. So, you will need to acquire it from a reputable company. This will ensure it serves its purpose efficiently.
4. Silvered mirror
Before the 18th century, manufacturers created mirrors with a mix of silver, mercury, and tin. But by that time, they made them with pure silver.
Today, while we use the name 'silver' to define this type of design, we are back to using mixtures. This time, it involves a mix of aluminium and other compounds. These substances are popular and serve several purposes. For instance, silver (which is non-corrosive), ensures longevity. Because it is a low-density material, it is lighter when compared with other materials.
Furthermore, the mixture of silver and these aluminium compounds improves its strength. As you may have noticed, the ones these days are stronger than what we had in the past.
There are no limitations to silvered mirrors' types and sizes. And because you only require a thin layer to make it effective, they are cost-effective. What's more, the ideal locations include the living and bedroom. This is because they are great for decorations and ornamental purposes.
5. Customized mirrors
Customized or miscellaneous reflectors have to be the most flexible type of them all. From tabletops to floor mirrors, these reflectors have no limitations. More so, they come in various designs. Would you like a frame? Do you prefer bevelled glass? Is there a specific colour you are pursuing? Companies now understand that there is something for everyone’s taste and preference. You want to pick based on the room décor and size. For instance, a mirrored backspace will make the room look bigger and brighter. A tabletop is perfect for getting attention to your coffee table. That means a customized unit can be extremely versatile and it can turn your ideas into a reality.
In a nutshell, customized mirrors and their frames come from different materials. This is why when you try to search for reflectors on the internet, you will see many different designs to choose from.
Why Are Mirrors So Expensive?
As with anything that requires production, price is significantly influenced by the cost of raw materials. It's also influenced by the level of expertise necessary to produce. In that vein, here are the top 5 reasons why mirrors can be expensive:
1. Glass type
It’s vital to find a high-quality mirror. Apart from that, you want a product that fits your expectations. You can pick from three different options depending on your preference.
Another term for this type of mirror is “flat.” That’s because it shows reflections in realistic proportions. The only difference is a reversed image. This is a popular category often chosen for bathrooms and other home areas.
These are spherical units, and they seem like a spoon. That’s because they curve inward to make your image larger than usual. It’s an illusion, but it’s suitable if you want to see your reflection from large distances.
Unlike the previous type, these units will reduce the reflection size. Instead of making it bigger or realistic, they’ll turn it smaller. It can be convenient for narrow spaces where you want to see your full body.
2. Frame type
Apart from the actual mirror category, you can focus on the specifics of its surroundings. It all depends on our style and preference. These are the main types to pick from when in the market!
A Mirror with a Frame
Frames consist of different materials. Some are of wood and others of metal. So, the material used to make it influences its cost.
More so, the design and build of these units can affect the overall price of the reflector. For example, reflectors with bevelled edge frames are usually pricier than other standard ones. A frame’s main benefit is that it can give a classy appearance to any area.
You can also go with a unit that doesn’t consist of a frame. Many find it more elegant, and these products are easier to clean. Additionally, they are suitable for small areas. They could help to make your bathroom look bigger.
While it may be easy to make a frame yourself, not everyone or anyone can make a mirror, and it’s not an easy job either. This is where craftsmanship comes in. Hence why some products are so expensive. It is not uncommon to find products that require expertise and craft a ship to be more expensive.
As in the case of a mirror, you will need to make the glass flat and smooth. As well polished to achieve a flawless and accurate reflection. So while there is the option of a cheaper one in the market, they are not always smooth and can alter your image. Without craftsmanship, we will have poor quality products that aren’t durable.
Therefore, when you buy a mirror, you should bear in mind that labour, skills, and expertise contribute substantially to its price.
4. Size and weight
Manufacturing a large reflector requires perfection and patience. For instance, a floor mirror involves a lot more work than a compact one. This is because this unit will take up more space in your home.
Furthermore, large mirrors are usually intended for decorative purposes. Besides the time it will take to make and polish the glass itself, their frames will also take time to design. So if you want a large reflector that will make an impact, you should be willing to fork out some extra cash.
When it comes to weight, these ornamental mirrors will weigh more than others. An increase in heaviness translates to more packaging care and shipping cost. Shipping costs for large reflectors can be expensive. It’s why users should be ready to pay extra. Remember that this is a fragile object, and improper shipping can cause damage to the surface. So while reflectors can be expensive, these features can adjust the price tag.
5. Quality and longevity
To the average person, all mirrors are the same, and it is not easy to judge the quality of a product at first glance. However, reflectors do have grades. More so, it is possible to find high or low-quality units. The better a reflector’s quality, the more resistant it will be to scratches.
When purchasing a mirror for your home, there are certain areas you can compromise on quality. The corridors are one example.
However, you may not want to compromise on quality when getting one for an area like your bathroom. You see, bathroom mirrors are subject to stains and watermarks. As such, you should get a reflector that is easy to clean without fear of scratching it.
An easy mirror buying hack to decide how durable a reflector will be is by judging its thickness. Reflectors that are at least ¼ inch thick tend to be of good quality.
Also, the thicker it gets (to about ¾ inches), the more its durability increases. Although it can become more cumbersome to hang at this size, at least you will be sure it will last you for a long time. People don’t change mirrors in their houses often. That’s why you can consider this a long-term purchase.
How Much Should A Mirror Cost?
Now that we understand why mirrors are expensive, we need to determine how much they should cost. We can do this by focusing on the common types of reflectors people own. While there are no fixed prices, we will advise you on how much you can expect to pay. This will be for different types of reflectors and their installations.
A bathroom mirror can be anywhere from $20 to $100 if it is flat-mounted without a cabinet. If you want professional installation above a sink, you should be considering $200 to $500. And if you want a custom design at a larger size, you might be forking $1000 to $3000.
A dresser mirror’s cost can vary depending on its size, but the standard price for a 40” x 20” is between $50 and $150. Note that this is before shipping and tax. So your location will influence how much higher this price will get.
If you want a standard 6’ by 8’ (which is a floor-to-ceiling mirror), the cost falls between $250 and $500. This includes the installation and hanging hardware. Also, delivery fees can pad this price with an extra $100 depending on your location.
If you want a mirrored wall for your gym, this is more expensive. The more wall area that needs to cover, the pricier it gets. The price will range from $800 to $2,500.
Mirrored closet doors
The cost of a mirrored closet door will depend on the type of door you have. They have bottom rail racks that are jump-proof. Bypass closet doors slide over each other. Whilst bi-folds will give you full access to the closet. So, each type of closet door will need different glass sizes.
The cost of buying a reflector for a sliding closet door is between $223 and $492. In comparison, that of a 3-door bypass closet ranges from $536 to $1,230. Installation and labour cost adds an extra $70 - $220 depending on the door type.
One-way / two-way mirrors
You can buy a one or two-way mirror for about $0.55 to $1.20 per square foot. On average, these reflectors’ total cost is between $100 to $250.
Are Mirrored Walls Outdated?
Mirrored walls were a popular concept in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and rightly so. These reflectors came in handy in studio apartments. This is because they make the room look spacious and brighter. It was, therefore, not uncommon to find an entire dining room wall covered in mirror strips.
Perhaps, you have inherited a home like this, or you want to have a mirror wall? However, you worry about your home looking old-fashioned. If so, it might be best to hide the wall with a curtain.
The versatility of a curtain gives your space texture, and it can serve as a room divider. Another way to conceal your reflector wall is with the use of wallpapers or light plywood panels. However, ensure that you have enough space around the mirror to hang it. More so, the use of shutters and decorative screens are also great ways to keep the wall hidden.
On that note, here are several ways you can make it stylish and modern:
- Frame the mirrored wall by attaching the frame directly to the wall. This will make it look larger. Then, you can further choose to paint the frame to match your home’s decor.
- If you want something a bit fancier, you can create unique patterns and designs. You can do this using decorative wood or fabric trim.
- Try to use your mirror wall as a canvas to display your artistic skills. You can do this by creating images with a stencil over them.
While mirror walls are not as trendy as they were in the 80s and 90s, their ability to add light and space to a room remains the same. So if light and space are something you appreciate, retaining your reflector wall is not a bad idea.
What Makes A Good Quality Mirror?
Professional manufacturers know that there are certain materials you should not compromise on. This is especially true if you want to achieve a good quality mirror. Some manufacturers pick the paint and chemicals under strict quality control measures. This also includes the use of the appropriate equipment. Here are the four key determinants of a trustworthy product.
The purity of the glass sheet
When it comes to identifying a good quality mirror, the first thing to look out for is the purity of the glass. A glass’s purity can affect the overall performance of a reflector. If you want a glass that does not distort images, you should aim to use the purest raw materials. Ones with no problems in its production.
Furthermore, this sheet should be flat and well polished. This way, it will prevent bubbles and other potential issues in the reflection.
The Thickness Of The Mirror Glass
In many ways, mirrors are capital investments. As such, you do not want to buy a low-quality one that will require you to change it every often.
One way to ensure durability is by going for a thick mirror. The thicker the reflector, the stronger it will be, and it will be less vulnerable to scratches. The standard thickness for reflectors in the home is around ¼, 3/16, and ⅛ inch thick. The ¼ inch is the thickest.
So if you have the budget to handle a quality mirror’s cost, you should pick a reflector that is ¼ inch thick. This will ensure that you do not experience inconsistencies in your reflection.
To further enhance your reflector’s output, you should ensure that your wall is flat. This is because mirrors are flexible. If you place it on an irregular wall, it will mould to that wall with its irregularities. This will eventually distort your reflection.
The Glass’ Reflective Coating
Mirrors do not solely consist of glass. This is why the reflection you see when you look at a window's glass is quite different and not as accurate as what you will see in a mirror.
There are several reflective materials manufacturers use. The common ones include tin-mercury amalgam, silver, and aluminium. However, coatings that contain a good amount of silver are the best if you want a good quality mirror.
The mirrors you find in local stores are usually inexpensive and of low quality. So, if you want something of high quality, you may need to consult a local glass shop.
How Do You Choose A Wall Mirror Size?
Reflectors are not solely for looking at your reflection; they can be decorative. Also, they are great for showing your creative side and personality. Wall mirrors do an excellent job here. This is because they are versatile and easy to install around your home if you choose to do so yourself. When choosing a wall mirror, there are three important things to consider. This includes shape, style, and size. So why does size matter? Size matters because it can influence the impact your reflector creates. In essence, you should shop for a product with your end goal in mind. This will direct you towards the right one for your space.
1. Have a goal in mind
Depending on the room design you have in mind, your mirror size will determine if you want it as the focal point. It will also show if it should simply be an accent or a mere background. For instance, a small one on a large wall will draw little to no attention. This is why you will have to be mindful of your choice of size.
If you want your mirror to be the focal point of a room, you will have to ensure that it stands out in size and frame. Choose a reasonable size that is noticeable at first glance and surround it with a unique frame. These come in different designs and patterns. So, you can choose one that matches your personality and house decor.
Using mirrors as accents can add personality and life to any room. You can choose to use a single or multiple reflectors by placing them in a cluster. When using many glasses, they will be smaller than the regular size. Also, they will come together to create a shape.
The use of a hanging mirror as a background will make your room appear spacious and brighter. To do this properly, ensure that you use a large reflector. Furthermore, you can finish off this look by adding a simple frame around it. The idea is to make your frame blend with the rest of your room to ensure that the reflector remains the focal point.
2. Get accurate measurements
Shopping without measuring your space can leave you with an ill-fit one. So, before heading to the store or shopping online for a new reflector, make sure you take measurements of the space where you intend to hang your mirror.
If possible, make light erasable markings on that area and step back to see if it fits your imagination. At this point, you choose to take a second measurement for accuracy and confirmation. You can go to the shopping market afterwards.
Don’t be in a hurry to buy the next mirror you come across. Take your time to go through the varieties they have at the shop before making a decision.
3. Seek professional help
Many people want to be the DIY master. However, we must be honest with ourselves about the areas where we excel and where we struggle. So, if choosing a hanging or freestanding mirror is not your turf or beyond you, do not be afraid to seek a professional’s help.
Designers customize some of the mirror photos you see on Pinterest. If you want something similar, get in touch with a trustworthy manufacturing company. Do your research on them or ask family and friends for referrals. Professionals will help you bring your grand vision into a reality.
The use of mirrors has evolved over time. What many of us consider a necessity (and sometimes take for granted) was once a luxury only the elites could afford. Wall types have particularly become more than reflectors. They now serve decorative purposes in the home. You can use them to express your creativity and personality.
You can do this through their placement, choice of size, and style. So, while choosing the right product can seem like a hassle, it is a worthy endeavour. A wall mirror can turn your apartment from drab to fab. You will feel like you just got a brand new space. Likewise, a standing mirror is also just as good. So choose quality and durability at all times by following the tips stated in this article.