How to Choose the Best Bathroom Mirrors for Aging in Place

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Bathroom mirrors are standard home features, but not all mirrors are created equal. It's essential to have functional and easy-to-use mirrors in every bathroom, but is especially important for aging in place bathrooms. Let's explore how to choose the best bathroom mirrors for a convenient and future-proof bathroom design.

There are several types of bathroom mirrors available. Each kind has a specific purpose, but not all styles may work in every bathroom. It's important to determine what features are needed to support the user's particular needs.

Different types of bathroom mirrors are combined to create a more functional age in place bathroom design.

Types of bathroom mirrors

Stationary mirror

A stationary mirror is the standard and most common type of bathroom mirror and is generally wall mounted. Stationary mirrors can be placed at different heights and angles depending on preference. They are usually attached to the wall above the sink or vanity.

Adjustable mirror

An adjustable mirror is generally mounted on the wall and can be angled in several directions. It may tilt up and down and sometimes side to side for greater adjustment. This type of mirror may provide more flexibility than a stationary mirror because it moves with you when needed.

Wall-mounted swing-arm mirror

A swing arm bathroom mirror is mounted to the wall at one end and swings away for easier viewing from multiple angles. Often the mirror arm is extendable for even more positioning options. These mirrors may have a standard mirror on one side and a magnification mirror for dual functionality.

Medicine cabinet mirror

A medicine cabinet mirror is usually on the outside of the medicine cabinet door. There may also be a mirror on the inside of the door. A medicine cabinet and mirror combination may be helpful in small bathrooms. Make sure there is enough room for the cabinet door to swing open. To use an interior mirror requires some degree of flexibility as one must open the medicine cabinet door to properly angle the mirror.

Some bathroom mirrors have integrated lights while other mirrors are simply decorative.

Bathroom mirror styles

Framed vs. frameless mirrors

A frameless mirror has no frame around the edge of the glass. On the other hand, a framed bathroom mirror has a wooden or metal border that adds style and definition to the overall look.

Framed mirrors are generally more popular than frameless designs because they add an attractive element and depth to a space. Frameless designs have more reflective surface area and show more of the mirrored image.

Full-length mirrors

Full-length mirrors are generally found in the bedroom, not the bathroom, because they take up a lot of space. However, if you have an extra-large or open layout bathroom with lots of wall space, this design may work for your specific needs.

Decorative mirrors

Decorative bathroom mirrors add a stylish aesthetic appeal to any space but are often not used for their functional purpose. They may be mounted on the wall in unique patterns, shapes, or styles to create a decorative focal point for added decor interest.

Lighted mirrors

This type of mirror has lighting built into all or part of the perimeter of the mirror. Additional light is helpful for anyone, but especially older individuals and those with vision challenges. A lighted bathroom mirror may be more convenient if it includes adjustable brightness levels or a dimmer option.

Stand mirrors

Mirrors on stands are smaller and can be moved where needed. Often these have mirrors on both sides with magnification on at least one side. Stand mirrors can be lighted for further ease-of-use.

Bathroom mirror placement is important especially for wheelchair accessible vanities.

Bathroom mirror size

The size of the mirror is another factor to consider for aging in place, and it's essential to have one that provides sufficient visibility without being too large or imposing in the space.

A larger mirror above the sink could more easily be used by someone who is either sitting or standing.

For seniors who have difficulty with mobility, a larger mirror provides more flexibility to position themselves while using the mirror.


Bathroom mirror shape

The preferred bathroom mirror type and size vary by individual preference. Still, the most common choice is a rectangular or square design. Some people prefer round mirrors, while others like oval shapes for a unique style in their bathrooms.

For the largest reflective mirror surface, use a rectangular or square design.


Bathroom mirror placement

Mirror placement is crucial, particularly if you want easy viewing access from different angles depending on where you're sitting or standing. Most bathroom mirrors are hung in a location assuming that the people using it will be standing. 

The ideal mirror height is at eye level. As people grow older, they often develop conditions that can make it harder to stand for prolonged periods. Position mirrors where they can be easily accessed from a sitting or standing position without too much twisting or turning. 

Above the vanity

A standard placement for a bathroom mirror is wall-mounted above the sink or vanity. For someone seated at the mirror, it needs to be low enough and angled downward to allow for more of their reflection to be seen.

Freestanding mirrors

Free-standing mirrors are placed on the floor either propped against a wall or on a movable or stationary base. A free-standing mirror with wheels could provide a lot of flexibility because it can be turned to almost any angle.

These mirrors would work best in a larger bathroom since they take up valuable floor space.

Bathroom mirror lighting, placement, style and adjustability are important details for the most functional mirror design.

Bathroom mirror lighting

Lighting is an essential component of a well-planned bathroom and the mirror is no exception. Consider is the amount, type, and location of lighting at or near the mirror. A combination of natural light and several lighting fixtures, a general or overhead light, task, and accent, usually creates the most user-friendly and attractive light for a bathroom.

A greater mirror surface area will help to reflect more light in the bathroom. Small bathrooms can feel significantly larger simply by adding a larger mirror or several mirrors. Strategic placement of lighting fixtures closer or farther from the mirror will determine the amount of light reflected as well.

Bathroom mirror design and selection

A functional and easy-to-use mirror is a bathroom necessity. Having several mirrors at various positions will provide greater flexibility and make it easier to complete your daily bathroom routines. Aging in place design ideas can make a more convenient and safe bathroom for anyone of any age. Use these tips to choose the best bathroom mirror options for your specific needs.

To save time and money on future bathroom remodeling projects, be sure you know the must-have features of a retirement-ready home which can be found in this handy guide.

About the Author

As a home health Physical Therapist for over 20 years, I help clients solve home dilemmas so they can live their best life.

I'm here to use that same problem-solving expertise and training as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist to help you create an optimized home that's forward-thinking and future-ready to support you and your loved ones well for a lifetime.

Ready to discover your Golden Girl strategy for a retirement-ready home?