Wondering how big the bathroom mirror should be that you hang above the vanity? It’s important to get it right. When you do, you welcome style, light, and the illusion of space and openness to even the smallest of bathrooms. So, choosing the perfect vanity mirror is crucial, and choosing the right mirror starts with the right size.
A bathroom mirror over the vanity should be wider than the sink but 2-6 inches narrower than the vanity. The bathroom mirror size should allow it to hang without touching the vanity, backsplash, light fixtures, wall mounts, ceiling, and adjacent walls. You should see your head, neck, and a foot of space above your head.
There are no official laws or codes regarding what size your vanity mirror should be, but there are design guidelines that should be followed to achieve the best and most balanced look. In this article, I take you through these guidelines, provide mirror dimensions for the most common vanity sizes, and answer some other questions you might have regarding your bathroom mirror.
Should a Vanity Mirror Be Wider Than the Vanity?
The first design guideline of vanity mirrors is that they should not be wider than your actual vanity.
Mirrors Wider Than the Vanity Throw off the Design Proportions
If your vanity mirror extends beyond the widest part of your vanity, then it can make your vanity unit appear smaller than it is.
Furthermore, it will also throw off the proportions of the bathroom in general.
How Much Space Should Be Between the Mirror and Vanity Edge?
On average, designers recommend that the mirror should be 4 inches shorter than the widest part of the vanity (typically the countertop). This measurement should include the frame if you want to hang a framed mirror.
Adapting for Small Vanities
If you have a very small vanity, then you can decrease the difference in width between the mirror and the vanity to 2 inches. This will also still allow you to follow the design guideline regarding the sink width, which we will get to momentarily.
Adapting for Large Vanities
If you have a very large vanity, you can increase the difference in width between the side of the mirror and the edge of the vanity to 6 inches so that you do not end up with an expensive mammoth of a mirror.
You can also increase to 6 inches if you intend to hang sconce lighting on either side of the mirror. (If this is you, be sure to see my guide to how to position sconce lighting around a bathroom vanity mirror.)
Should a Vanity Mirror Be Wider Than the Sink?
Yes, yes, yes! Your vanity mirror should definitely be wider than the sink. But, why?
Mirrors Smaller Than the Sink Are Impractical
In most cases, if the mirror were narrower than the sink, it would be very small and almost pointless in terms of function.
Mirrors Smaller Than the Sink Make Everything Look Smaller
A mirror that is narrower than the sink pulls the design lines inward, making the whole vanity set up appear smaller than it really is, even for those who have luxurious and large sinks.
Ultimately, a mirror that is smaller than the sink looks like an afterthought and will draw attention, but in a bad way.
One or Two Mirrors for a Double Vanity?
If you have a double vanity, then the classic and timeless look would be installing two identical mirrors, one above each sink.
Neither of the mirrors should extend beyond the widest part of the vanity, and both should be wider than the sink. In addition, the two mirrors should not touch. A larger gap between the two mirrors is preferred by many designers (at least 10 inches).
If these guidelines would result in the twin mirrors being too small for the wall or to remain functional, then opt for one mirror that extends behind both sinks but does not go past the vanity edge.
Other Considerations for the Width of Your Mirror
If you want to have sconce lighting beside your mirror, it will likely influence the width of your vanity mirror because, ideally, the sconces should be mounted on the wall above the vanity.
If you have a recessed or alcove vanity, or if your vanity is not centered on the wall, it can affect the width of your mirror. This is because there should be a good few inches between the vanity mirror and the adjacent walls for the aesthetic to look right.
Wall-Mounted Cabinets or Shelving
If you have wall-mounted cabinets or shelving on the same wall as the bathroom vanity, then you should aim to keep the bathroom mirror a couple of inches away from these while still maintaining a centered mirror.
What About Round Mirrors?
For round or oval mirrors, it is less about the width of the vanity (although the mirror should not extend beyond this). Most designers use the bathroom sink to guide the sizing of round or oval mirrors. The popular option is that the diameter of these mirrors should be equal to or slightly wider than the width of the sink.
Some Example Sizes
Let’s look at some common vanity lengths and the mirror sizes that would work best with each of these.
|Bathroom Vanity Width||Maximum Mirror Width||Space Beside Mirror on Each Side|
|24 inches||22 inches||2 inches|
|30 inches||24-28 inches||2-4 inches|
|36 inches||32 inches||2 inches|
|40 inches||36 inches||2 inches|
|60 inches||56 inches||2 inches|
|72 inches||66-68 inches||2-3 inches|
What Size Mirror Should I Use Over a 24-Inch Vanity?
If your vanity is 24 inches, then it is quite narrow, and you can probably get away with a maximum of a 22-inch mirror, leaving 2 inches of space on either side of your vanity.
What Size Mirror Should I Use Over a 30-Inch Vanity?
For a 30-inch vanity, the maximum width of your bathroom mirror should be between 24 and 28 inches wide. This leaves you with 2 to 4 inches of space on each side of the mirror.
What Size Mirror Should I Use Over a 36-Inch Vanity?
If your vanity is 36 inches, then your mirror should be at most 32 inches wide, leaving 2 inches of space on either side of your vanity.
What Size Mirror Should I Use Over a 40-Inch Vanity?
For a vanity that measures 40 inches, your mirror should be at most 36 inches wide, leaving 2 inches of space on either side of your vanity.
What Size Mirror Should I Use Over a 60-Inch Vanity?
If your vanity is 60 inches, then your mirror should be at most 56 inches wide, leaving 2 inches of space on either side of your vanity.
What Size Mirror Should I Use Over a 72-Inch Vanity?
For a 72-inch vanity, the maximum width of your bathroom mirror should be between 66 and 68 inches. This leaves 2 to 3 inches on either side of the mirror.
How Tall Should a Vanity Mirror Be?
Your bathroom vanity mirror’s height is limited by three factors:
- The height of the ceiling
- Any wall-mounted fixtures
- The width of the mirror
How Close to the Ceiling Can a Vanity Mirror Extend?
A vanity mirror should not extend all the way to the ceiling. If you want to hang a long mirror above your vanity, then leave, at minimum, an approximately 5-inch gap between the top of the mirror and the ceiling.
In fact, a long mirror in a small bathroom or a bathroom with a low ceiling can open up the space.
However, if you have a very high bathroom ceiling, then a mirror that extends all the way up would look funny.
The Mirror Should Not Touch Any Wall-Mounted Fixtures
If you have a wall-mounted light fixture or high floating shelves on the wall between the vanity and the ceiling, then the mirror obviously cannot extend up to the ceiling.
The mirror should only extend up to within a few inches of the wall-mounted fixtures, but it should never touch them.
The Width and Height of the Mirror Should Be Proportional
A very narrow, very tall mirror will typically only work in very specific situations. The safer option is to keep the mirror proportional.
This does not mean a square. You can get round mirrors, rectangular mirrors, or any other shaped mirror that you desire. The proportions should simply be aesthetically pleasing to you.
Hanging a Bathroom Mirror Above a Vanity
The most vital factor to consider when hanging your bathroom mirror is your own height or the height of the people who will be using the mirror. You should be able to see your whole face and neck, as well as a foot above your head in the mirror.
Should a Vanity Mirror Hang Flush Against the Vanity?
Your vanity mirror should not be hung low enough that it touches the surface of your vanity.
If the mirror was sitting flush with the vanity, then water could run and collect behind it, causing damage to the mirror and the wall behind the mirror. Most often, bathroom vanities will have a backsplash to protect the wall from water damage. (Read about whether you can get away without a bathroom vanity backsplash and what size backsplash you might need.)
Should the Vanity Mirror Hang Flush Against the Backsplash?
The lip of the vanity backsplash can still collect water and funnel it under and behind the mirror if the mirror was sitting flush against the backsplash.
If you have a backsplash to your vanity countertop, then make sure that the mirror hangs a minimum of 1 inch above the backsplash.
Hang the Mirror Above the Faucet Line
When selecting the size of your vanity mirror, remember that it should preferably never extend below the highest point of your bathroom faucet.
This often negates having to worry about high far above the surface of the vanity or the backsplash your mirror should hang—just make it above the faucet line.
There are three primary motivations for this guideline.
- In general, if your mirror hangs below the faucets, it is too low on the wall for functionality. This does depend on your vanity height, your height, and the height of your faucets.
- The flow of the wall is off with regard to design when the mirror extends lower than the faucet line.
- Practically speaking, if your mirror were directly behind your faucets, it would constantly be getting splashed, making it more difficult to keep clean.
When Is the Faucet Line Guideline Less Important?
The faucet line guideline is less important when the faucet is mounted beside the sink as opposed to behind it.
Another scenario in which the faucet line guideline is less important is when your vanity is too tall for you, and putting the mirror above the faucet line would place it too high above your eye line.
Should You Center a Mirror Over the Vanity or in the Wall Space?
If your vanity is not centered on your wall, then traditionally, the bathroom mirror is centered over the vanity
Should You Center a Mirror Over the Vanity or the Bathroom Sink?
When you have a sink centered on the vanity, you should then center your bathroom mirror over the sink. In doing so, you will also center it over the vanity.
If the sink is not central to the vanity, but the mirror is large enough to allow an unimpeded view of your reflection in the mirror, then you should center the mirror over the vanity.
Suppose the sink is not in the middle of the vanity and the mirror is smaller, and centering it over the vanity would mean that your face or head is only partially visible in the mirror when you are standing in front of the sink. In that case, you should rather center the mirror above the sink.
Steam Free Bathroom Mirrors
If you’re about to purchase a new mirror, you might be interested in a recent innovation: the steam-free mirror for homes. Previously, this technology was only available to visitors at luxury hotels. But now you can do away with the problem of needing to wipe away steam after you shower in order to shave or put on makeup.
Many of these steam free mirrors (also called defogging mirrors) come with LED lighting in a variety of color temperatures and are dimmable by a smart touch sensor. Read my post on exactly how steam free mirrors work and get my recommendations for the best ones.
So How Big Should the Bathroom Mirror Be for Your Vanity?
When it comes to selecting the right mirror size for above your vanity, then there are four main guidelines.
First, make sure you can see yourself in the mirror clearly. The mirror should show your entire head and neck, as well as a foot of space above your head.
Second, the mirror should be narrower than the widest part of the vanity—ideally, 4 inches narrower.
Third, the vanity mirror should be wider than the bathroom sink, but if you have a round or oval mirror, then you can decrease this to the same width as the sink, but never less.
Fourth and finally, the mirror should not touch anything—not the vanity countertop, backsplash, ceiling, adjacent walls, etc.
But, in the end, all of these are only guidelines, and you can make whatever design decisions you feel work for your bathroom.
If you’re getting a new bathroom mirror as part of a remodel, don’t miss the opportunity to save thousands of dollars on your renovation. Fill out the form below and I’ll send designer hacks straight to your inbox.