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August 29, 2019

Mirror, Mirror On the Wall

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest of them all? Answer: The home buyer, of course!

When you look good, you feel good. And you definitely want your buyers feel good about themselves in your model! So that mirror above their vanity becomes a critical component of the sales process. All fairy-tales aside, you want your buyers to see themselves in the best light possible!

That means the design, placement and lighting of the bathroom mirror is vital. After all, they will look into it throughout the day, every day, 365 days a year. Shouldn’t this warrant more consideration than “What’s the least expensive way to light up the bathroom?” When you consider that 80%+ of the home buying decision is made by the woman, this becomes a detail that cannot be overlooked. (Trust me on this one, guys)


We all know mirrors can be expensive, and with housing affordability at the forefront of the conversation, we need to be strategic about the size of the mirror. It is neither practical nor affordable to run the mirror from back-splash to ceiling and wall to wall. One trend has been to frame the mirror like the expensive artwork that it is. This provides a nice look, but is not always cost-effective. I love the strategy of two mirrors in the master bath, one over each sink, enhancing the His and Her vanity separation.


Mirror placement is only half the of the design challenge. Lighting is just as critical as the size and placement of the mirror itself. Placing lights in the ceiling is great for general room illumination, but not for making us look our best. It’s kind of like shining a flashlight under your chin and seeing how creepy you look – effective when telling a scary story to the kids around a campfire, but not much of a confidence booster.

The most useful and flattering lighting comes when mounted at eye level. Recall the Hollywood lights surrounding the mirrors from the past: they provided ample lighting but also excessive heat – not to mention they were ugly.

The lights really need to be wall mounted so they can adequately light up our faces in the most flattering way – but where? Long gone is the practice of mounting the light in the mirror, requiring a hole to be cut into the mirror – without breaking it, of course. The default solution lately has been to add wall scones above the mirror, which can be tricky. If the mirror is tall because the room has a tall ceiling (say 10’), the light is too high, and we’re back to looking like the Crypt Keeper. Keeping the mirror shorter is better for the lighting, but looks out of proportion with the taller ceilings, cheapening the look.

Mirrors and Lighting working together

I love the practice of essentially turning the mirror on its side and running it vertically. This gives a rich, elegant look and accentuates the tall ceilings (refer to the first photo of the blog of the NEXTadventure Bath for the full effect). This also creates room on either side of the mirror for lighting at eye level. A brilliant cake-and-eat-it strategy if you ask me.

Don’t forget to add additional light somewhere else in the room. It is impossible to style dark hair when the bathroom behind you is dark. I know this one from experience! This can be a single recessed can on the affordable side or a lovely pendant fixture on the custom side.

Windows Work Wonders

Another strategy to add light and keep the mirror cost down is to place a window between the mirrors, further enhancing the His-Her look. This has become increasingly popular solution to adding natural light in the master bath since the disappearance of the bathtub. I love the window in front of the knee space where ladies can apply makeup instead of a wall mirror. Nothing beats natural light, and a mirror two feet away is useless when applying eye makeup. We need that mirror inches away, so we don’t poke our eyes out or inadvertently go out looking like Tammy Fay Baker (with all due respect).

Take cues from Hotels

Today, the ultimate cake-and-eat-it solutions are the lighted mirrors, now found in most hotels. All the glamour of old Hollywood without the third degree burns! They may not be the most cost-effective solution, but prices are coming down as they become more abundant, coming in a variety of shapes and sizes. I like the tall ovals which accentuate the height of the room, elegantly. They even have them with Bluetooth speakers for those that really like to splurge.

Don’t forget the closet

Finally, consider adding a full-length mirror to the walk-in closet if you can do so without sacrificing hanging. And yes, they make full length lighted mirrors to ensure that you put on the navy blue and not the black pants after all.

Who would have thought there was so much to think about when it comes to mirrors and lights – just in the master bath? Your female buyers will be far more receptive if they feel good about themselves in your home – especially when the sales staff points out why (hint, hint).

Thanks for including me in your day. Let me know if you don’t think about this blog tomorrow when you wake up and look at yourself in your own bathroom mirror. 😉

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This post was written by Housing Design Matters