Finding a mirror to sit above our vanity was something that weighed heavily on my mind long before we started the renovation. Fortunately, one kind of fell in my lap, and I seized the f-r-e-e opportunity to maximize the light and wall space in my bathroom. Hi, I really love it.
The transformation from old mirror to new mirror was tremendous. As you can see, it really opens up the space. You might have seen that picture before, I dropped it into last week’s post about the installation of that vanity, but I’m back today to walk through what I accomplished in one evening, on the official Day 14 of my bathroom renovation.
Installing a piece of raw mirror on the wall is something that just about anyone can do, so keep on reading to learn how.
My old mirror? It was small in comparison, just something that I picked up at a yard sale not long after I bought my house. At the time, this find, which I believe to have originally been a mirrored cabinet door, was much bigger than the medicine cabinet mirror that had been installed when I moved in. You know the kind, the cabinet door that’s just wide and tall enough for you to brush your teeth in but not much else? With just a few swift movements, I had detached the old medicine cabinet, touched up the paint on the wall, and hung the new mirror on the wall (with Anthropologie knobs in place of the old cabinet handle). It worked well for almost 3 years, but still was a little small if you were trying to share the mirror.
The new one, however, was a freebie from a friend who had been ready to throw it away. Measuring 20″x68″, it had loads of potential as a vertically-standing full-length mirror, but I had different plans in mind for it.
A DIY mirror install does require a little bit of planning and know-how, but is something that anyone can tackle themselves (unless of course the mirror is too heavy, large, or fragile to lift by alone). I started planning the mirror placement on the same day that I installed the vanity, taping out where I wanted the mirror to lay against the wall with a tape measure and blue painter’s tape (so that it wouldn’t leave residue when I removed it later on).
I left the tape up for several days. There’s only one thing worse than having a too-small mirror, and that’s having no mirror, but while I was eager to get my new mirror installed, I wanted to make sure that both me and Pete were comfortable with the height and length of it in proportion to the vanity. After we agreed, I did have to get the original mirror cut 1-ft. shorter in length because of the placement of the electrical outlet on the far left of this next picture (the new mirror measures 20″x56″). (Tip: if the mirror you have or find is too big, you can easily make it work with a little mirror cutting. And of course mirror glass cutting something you can DIY if you have the know-how, but this specific piece of glass was really thick, so I found a professional place locally to take care of the trimming.)
To install, I bought a set of metal mirror clips, priced at just over $2 at Lowe’s. The set came with four clips, one for each corner of the mirror.
I liked this metal style a lot more than the plastic mirror clip variety because they rest flush with the mirror, meaning that you could easily build a frame on top of the securely installed mirror someday if you wish (hint-hint-foreshadowing-foreshadowing).
Using a stud finder, I marked each stud along the wall and learned that I would be able to install my clips directly into studs in such a way that the clips would also align evenly along the mirror instead of looking off-center. I consider that nothing short of a miracle occurrence in a home that has no predictable studs. If your studs do fall unevenly compared to where you want to install the mirror, consider using strong toggle bolts to attach the clips to the wall. Toggle anchors are my ultimate go-to. I started by installing the lower two clips first, measuring directly up from the already level vanity. The mirror sits solidly in the cradle of the clip. The bottom clips hold the entire weight of the mirror.
The upper brackets, on the other hand do the job of keeping the mirror pulled tight, upright against the wall. Notice how the design allows for a little sliding space on the bracket? This sliding room is essential because it allows you to raise the clip up when you lean the mirror into place, and then slide the clip down to wrap around the top edge of the mirror.
The clips, when installed strongly and securely, do all of the heavy work, totally eliminating the need for extra adhesives or mastics. Maybe you’d want adhesive to reinforce the mirror if your mirror is super big, but mine isn’t, and with the clips in the studs, it’s not going annyyyywhere. I could probably wrap my fingers over the top edge and dangle if I were more adventurous.
With the mirror solidly in place, the room is suddenly functional again as a place to put on makeup and brush your hair (or shave, dudes). While it’s long and thin, you’d be surprised just how much of your head and torso you can see without a problem. For example, me:
We’re really loving the space and how much the reflective light from the mirror adds to it.
Catching the home improvement bug at an early age, Emily Winters is a now a devoted DIYer living in Rochester, NY. The projects she covers on her blog Merrypad range from painting a wall to building a deck, so it’s only natural she landed at DIYNetwork.com. You can follow Emily on twitter at @merrypad and like her on facebook at facebook.com/merrypad.