Is Backlit or Front-Lit Mirror Better?

Illuminated mirrors are taking over as a fundamental addition to any room. Both backlit and front-lit mirrors add unique lighting to a room's ambience, but they offer different features that should be carefully considered when choosing between them. 

If you're asking yourself, "Is a backlit or front-lit mirror better?" you'll have to learn more about each and decide for yourself, as it's not a straightforward answer. Both types are great in different circumstances, but one is usually a better choice.

What Is the Difference Between a Backlit Mirror and a Front-lit Mirror?

An illuminated mirror has lighting built into it. The two different types, front-lit and backlit, are distinguished by whether that light comes from behind the mirror or directly in front of it, usually inlaid into the mirror glass. 

While they both are a beautiful addition, they serve different purposes for functionality and design.  

What are Backlit Mirrors?

Backlit mirrors have lighting installed in the backside of the mirror. The result is a soft glow around the wall emanating from behind, providing a pleasant ambient light.

LED backlit mirrors have uniform lighting and a modern look. This stylish choice can be seen in more sleek and contemporary designs, as it's a classy and upscale look. These mirrors are also commonly seen in darker rooms as a staple piece.  

What are Front-lit Mirrors?

Front-lit mirrors have LED lights ingrained in the glass or placed around the mirror like a frame, so the light comes from the front. This provides a more dramatic and bright look for the user. 

You'll likely see them in more casual or eclectic places that use bright light for their ambience. 


Backlit and lighted mirrors are similar in many ways: 

  • Both provide a lit-up reflection with even lighting.

  • Both usually use LED lights, which are significantly more efficient than standard lights and will help save on the electric bill.

  • Most will require an electric source, although some are battery-operated. These will be smaller mirrors that are more mobile, while the larger vanity mirrors will need a plug-in. 


The only difference between the mirrors is where the source of the light is coming from. 

A front-lit mirror will be more luminous and intense with the lightbulbs in the front, while the backlit mirror light will reflect from the wall and therefore be dimmer. 

When Should I Use A Front-lit or Backlit Mirror?

Backlit and front-lit mirrors are both great options, but these important considerations can help you decide between them:

Room Placement

Darker rooms where the mirror is an important feature, like bathrooms without windows, may require brighter light like the one front-lit mirrors provide.

Rooms that do better with backlit mirrors are: 

  • Hallways
  • Lounges
  • Living rooms
  • Kitchens
  • Bedrooms with a lot of natural light

Front-lit mirrors, on the other hand, look better in bathrooms, front rooms, and bedrooms that don't have much natural light. 

It will depend on your unique situation, as some of these rooms may look better with the other type of mirror. 

Other Lighting 

For rooms drenched in natural light, you may not need the more intense light that front-lit mirrors provide.

If the mirror's location is in a place with uneven light, like if there was a window on one side but not the other, then the brighter light may help provide a more uniform ambience. 


The type of mirror you decide to get will depend on its purpose. For mirrors that are focused on your reflection, like bathroom or makeup mirrors, you'll want a bright reflection to see all the small details. 

But if you want to add ambience to a room, consider a backlit mirror. It won't detract from the other design elements in the area. 


The most important part of picking a mirror will be the aesthetic that you're trying to achieve. Backlit and front-lit mirrors bring different moods to a room. For example, you wouldn't want an obnoxious front-lit mirror in a romantic dining room setting, as it would be distracting. 

Backlit mirrors are a more artistic and subtle addition to design. They won't call attention to them directly but can complement other design elements well. Consider using one for rooms that have any of these aesthetics: 

  • Modern 
  • Romantic
  • Cozy
  • Elegant
  • Relaxing

Front-lit mirrors, on the other hand, offer a completely different aesthetic. They're often a staple piece in a room and bring attention to them due to the bright light. They're typically best for rooms with a design focus on: 

  • Futuristic
  • Eclectic
  • Industrial
  • Urban
  • Contemporary 

What to Know Before Choosing Lighted Bathroom Mirrors

While illuminated mirrors offer a stunning addition to any room, you should be prepared to handle the implications of buying one.

  • Costs of maintenance: If the mirror breaks or the electrical system fails, it can be a costly expense to get it repaired. Only certain specialised people will know how to fix illuminated mirrors. 

  • Limited ability to customise: Most illuminated mirrors are manufactured in a complex way and sold as is. If you want a custom look or custom shape, it may require a hefty budget to create them. Manufacturers have predetermined sizes and cuts of these mirrors. 

  • Design around the mirror: Due to the limited customisation ability, you may need to build a design around your mirror selection. For example, bathroom vanities are suggested to be of certain dimensions compared to your mirror, so you might consider starting with your mirror and purchasing other furniture afterwards.

  • Installation: Depending on your abilities, you may need to pay someone to install the mirror because it's more complex than your typical mirror.

  • Cost of a mirror: Even without customising and installing it, the cost of mirrors with LED lights will be higher as they are more advanced. 

Keep in mind that the installation is a one-time fee, and the options are vast so you should be able to find the right one for you. 

All in all, none of these considerations should scare you away from getting an illuminated mirror, but it's always best to know what you’re getting yourself into when making the purchase so you’re prepared for the future. 

Best Backlit Mirrors To Consider

Browsing multiple pages of backlit mirrors can be overwhelming. To help your process, here are a few of the best-selling and customer favourites.  

  • Windsor Round LED Mirror: A backlit round mirror is a tasteful choice for almost any room. It's versatile and can be moved to complement a variety of rooms and ambiences. It's a timeless choice. 
  • Remer Miro Backlit Bathroom Mirror - Optional Bluetooth Audio: This Remer mirror provides an extra bright backlight perfect for larger bathrooms with a double sink setup. It's a more sophisticated bathroom mirror choice. 
  • Remer Great Arch LED Mirror: The stunning arch shape frames the user perfectly in this mirror, demanding a bit more attention than your typical backlit mirror. It can be placed in various rooms but looks especially good at the end of hallways. 

Best Front-lit Mirrors To Consider

Front-lit mirrors are more function-focused, as the light is demanding and serves a specific purpose. You'll see this in the lighted mirror selection, as the design gives users a practical shape. 

  • Remer Great Gatsby LED Mirror: This Remer has a unique oval shape that brings a more modern and original look to a room. It looks perfect for walk-in closets and bedrooms.  
  • Remer Great Great Arch LED Mirror: For a more classic look, the Great Great Arch variety is similar to the Great Gatsby but more traditional in shape. It will be more versatile but adds a bright and demanding feel to any room.
  • Remer Vera LED Shaving Cabinet: Perfect for any bathroom with a single-sink setup, this top-of-line shaving mirror provides bright light, an anti-fog element for shaving, and a cabinet to store away your items. It has everything you could need in a bathroom mirror.  


Which Mirror Is Better for Makeup?

When doing makeup, it's essential to have strong lighting to see all the small details on your face. Most makeup mirrors will be front-lit mirrors to minimise glare and provide even illumination, as the soft glow of a backlit mirror isn't quite enough light. 

Which Mirror Is Better for the Bathroom?

Most bathroom mirrors prioritise functionality over design. Strong lighting will be beneficial to the person using it because they'll likely want to see themselves well. For this reason, front-lit mirrors are more popular in bathrooms. 

What Should I Do If I'm Not Sure Which Would Be Better?

If you still feel stuck, consider looking up photographs of the mirrors in a similar setting you're working with. You may want to use Pinterest or Instagram for design inspiration. 

Another option is to speak to an interior designer about their opinions. You can contact local ones or ask a freelancer for their opinion. 

Wrapping Up

An illuminated mirror provides a stylish addition to any room. It can be a standout piece that highlights the user's reflection like a front-lit mirror, or it can subtly extend a room with gentle light like a backlit mirror.

LED illuminated mirrors are a worthwhile investment for the decor of your home, but you'll need to carefully consider which one is better for your circumstances. Think about the location and purpose of the mirror before jumping in and buying one. 

You can browse a wide selection of LED mirrors on our site to find the perfect addition to your home.