As my team and I design, we really try to think about every single element that goes into a space to make sure that we aren’t missing an opportunity to do something more interesting. As you may have seen on social media, we were at the mountain house for two days last week trying to design EVERY.SINGLE.ROOM. It was a frenzy of ideas and creativity, and man did it bring me back to Design Star group challenge days. We brought a billion samples up with us and went room by room with them. I wouldn’t let us leave the space we were in until we had two solid plans with at least the general materials chosen (for two looks a la ‘I design, You decide’). We didn’t finish, but OH BOY was it productive. At one point, while in the master bathroom thinking through the vanity design, it really led me down a path of “are we missing a chance here for something special and amazing?” Yes, tiles and fixtures are obviously important to a bathroom’s design, but those secondary design elements – mirrors, lighting – that’s where the magic can really happen.
The vanity mirror, for instance, can be something super simple and basic, but it doesn’t have to be. Of course, if you need a medicine cabinet for storage, then you have less stylistic options (and that’s okay), but if you don’t…it’s a world of design-forward possibilities. I’m here to encourage you (and remind myself) to think outside the builder-grade wall-to-wall mirror for something far more unexpected. I’m not talking a big ornate frame or even anything insanely out of the box; even something as simple as a large round mirror instead of a rectangle can really shake things up.
I thought I’d give you a peek into some of the style options we’ve found in our research for the mountain house master bath that are exciting us SO MUCH right now. Take a look, and let me know what you think:
The Large, Round Mirror
Duh. The round mirror is certainly not new, but the key is thinking up new ways to do it. We actually have double vanities in most of the mountain house bathrooms, which makes it hard to do a single round mirror because it means that if you are staring at yourself in front of the faucet, say, brushing your teeth, your face might be cut off (that could be a deal breaker for some). Over a single vessel like the room above, it’s great and fine, and we might go this route in the powder room. Putting it just off-center, though, definitely puts a new spin on things.
But as you can see above, when a large circle is over a double sink situation, it can get tricky unless you have a ton of wall space to make the mirror HUGE. IS THIS OK????
I’m here to tell you that I personally think it’s fine. This was a huge debate at the office because I don’t think that Brian and I have ever brushed our teeth or gotten ready at the same time so to me, it didn’t seem like a big deal, whereas Sara and her boyfriend brush their teeth at the same moment morning and night, and she had quite the different perspective than I did on this not being a design red flag. To me, the solution is simple: just move your body in a few inches to the middle of the vanity if you want/need the view of your entire face and hair.
But you should know that going into it. When choosing fashion over function, you need it to be a choice, not a mistake. Do you value having a cool mirror more than being able to see yourself from every inch of the vanity? If so, then go for it. If not, keep reading.
The Circle 2.0
A circle doesn’t have to be just a circle, though. Take this bathroom for example. Sure, this one isn’t for every house as it’s VERY modern, but it’s certainly cool and solves the partial-face dilemma discussed above. Imagine these double hanging circle mirrors in a 200-year-old hotel in Europe or in a restaurant (which I actually think this is). So, so cool.
Or you shake it up with something like this that has a shelf going through it. Adding function and interest, just like that.
Oh, this one is GREAT. A slightly elongated circle hung on a wood peg…yup.
The Tall & Skinny Mirror
We are VERY into tall mirrors right now, too. We have the height in the master bath to do something lengthy and more dramatic, and we just might. Playing with proportions is a way to do something interesting in a simple way and right now, the super skinny, vertical lines are enticing us. The key is to have the frame as thin as possible so it’s not this massive, distracting thing.
This are gorgeous and giving me LIFE.
Wait, what’s that you said? You love BOTH round mirrors and tall and skinny mirrors? Well, man do I’ve got something for you. The pill-shaped mirror combines both trends and is GENIUS!!
The Suspended Mirror
But why simply hang a mirror on the wall when you can have it welded to your ceiling? 🙂 We are into suspended mirrors hard right now because they add a sculptural detail that brings your eye up, and adds drama but again, in a way that’s pretty visually simple. This photo above is EXTREMELY inspiring to me for this house. It’s more glam than we will likely go, but that gorgeous tile, suspended mirror and marble is an intoxicating cocktail of deliciousness.
Tall and skinny AND suspended. Wonders never cease.
I feel like a window behind the vanity would actually provide GREAT light (hello perfect face of makeup), so don’t close it up or rearrange the space. Instead, keep in mind that the suspended mirror is particularly genius for this instance.
Maybe your house is more traditional or glamorous? These attach to the wall and countertop and are in a more traditional shape and finish.
Or you could be like this genius and customize these that come from the wall. I love those so much. It doesn’t make sense to do if you have actual room for a mirror, but maybe you have a tiny awkward powder bath or are trapped by an awkward floor plan and can only have your vanity facing the window…sometimes these kinds of problems (and their solutions) can become the reason that you love a room.
There is a little bit of an issue with suspended mirrors, and that’s the lighting situation. Where do you put your lights when the mirror isn’t flush to the wall? DON’T WORRY, because you can always light them from behind.
This is something that we actually considered. You don’t see the light source unless it’s on, but boy is it modern. Remember that our master bath has a lot of tech features, so I actually think this could work…
I’m currently in the process of coming up with our real plan and some of the considerations are risky, like a modern version of this recessed niche mirror – but DOUBLE and tall. EEK. But stay tuned…
There is so much more to come. This post could have been 3,600 pages and photos long because we truly are considering everything. For instance: how do you make a basic wall-to-wall mirror look custom and special? Or how can you add hidden storage behind mirrors that doesn’t scream medicine cabinet? Or maybe you are asking, “Hey Emily…tell me about the new shelf above vanity trend?” OH, I CAN. The whole team happens to be headed up to San Francisco today for a big Pinterest party, otherwise, I’d STILL be typing/showing you inspirations. For now, we rounded up some mirrors we’re loving if you’re considering a vanity refresh yourself and want to shake up your morning lipstick routine:
1. | 2. | 3. | 4. | 5. | 6. | 7. | 8. | 9. | 10. | 11. | 12. | 13. | 14. | 15. | 16. | 17. | 18. | 19. | 20. | 21.
#7 is a serious contender for our master bath if I can figure out where to put the lights. #13 just might grace the guest room. I’m intrigued by #14 a lot and would love to see it in person (it comes in different finishes, as well as in circle form) and, no surprise, really dig #17.
Before wrapping up for today, I want to circle back to something. I’m curious if any of you have been, both intentionally or accidentally, in the “single circle mirror over a double vanity” position where you technically couldn’t see your entire face when standing in front of the faucet? To remind you, like this:
If you’ve dealt with this, please tell us in the comments if you like it, regret it or the limited vision doesn’t bother you at all. We’re itching to hear from people who actually live with this day in and day out. I don’t think there’s a right or wrong answer here, but curious where you land. I’d say that if you are renovating from scratch like I am that it makes more sense to come up with a beautiful, exciting mirror plan that functions for both sinks equally. But if you have a built-in double vanity and really want that round mirror over the basic rectangles that do the job better but kinda bum you out, I say GO FOR IT. I have an antique mirror in our entry that is so old and shaky, it’s virtually impossible to use to even apply lipstick in, but I don’t care because it makes me happy every time I see it. Wouldn’t you rather see a smile in that reflection than a frown of compromise?
Now go forth, and rethink that standard vanity mirror…