April 29, 2024 9 min read

Choosing between a window mirror or a traditional vanity mirror for your space involves considering both functionality and aesthetics. 

Each type brings unique characteristics and benefits to different areas of your home. 

For example, window mirrors bring their architectural charm and decorative appeal, while traditional vanity mirrors, are mostly used for practical purposes of illumination for grooming and makeup tasks. 

Read on as we shine more light on the unique differences between these mirror types and explore where each excels in terms of placement, style, and functionality. 


What Are Traditional Vanity Mirrors?


Traditional vanity mirrors are your regular mirrors that are mostly found in bathrooms and bedrooms.

These types of mirrors are designed specifically for personal grooming and makeup application. They are often placed on top of a dresser and can come in various shapes such as rectangular, oval, or round


Traditional vanity mirrors are often larger than regular mirrors. Since they are usually paired with dressers, it makes sense that the mirror provides a clear view of your face and upper body.


These mirrors often have decorative frames made from wood, metal, or plastic, enhancing their aesthetic appeal and complementing the décor of the room.

Some other nice features that come with these types of mirrors are: 

  • Adjustability: Many traditional vanity mirrors are adjustable, allowing you to tilt the mirror to your preferred angle for optimal viewing while seated.
  • Lighting: Some vanity mirrors incorporate built-in lighting around the perimeter of the mirror to provide even illumination, which is especially useful for makeup applications.
  • Magnification: Often, these mirrors have one side with a magnified view, typically 2x or 3x, to facilitate detailed tasks like eyebrow grooming or precise makeup application.


While the name says it is a traditional vanity mirror, there have been modern updates to it such as touchscreen controls, LED lighting and Bluetooth connectivity for audio. Either way, the purpose remains the same and that is to provide a crystal clear undistorted reflection for grooming and personal care.



What Are Window Mirrors?


Window mirrors, also known as architectural mirrors or windowpane mirrors, are decorative mirrors that are designed to mimic the appearance of a window.

These mirrors usually have multiple panes or divisions, which are made from wood, metal, or another material to create the resemblance of a window frame.


Another common feature you'll see in window mirrors is arched tops and distressed finishes that help to enhance the vintage or rustic appeal of the mirror.


Unlike traditional vanity mirrors, window mirrors are primarily used to add depth, light, and visual interest to a room by creating the illusion of an additional window. They come in different sizes ranging from small accent pieces to large statement mirrors suitable for hanging on walls.

They're also quite versatile which makes them popular in interior design, as they come in various styles to complement different décor themes, from farmhouse and rustic to traditional and contemporary.

Their versatility and uniqueness mean that they can serve as focal points in entryways, living rooms, bedrooms, or any space where you want to introduce a touch of architectural charm and brightness.



Traditional Vanity Mirrors Vs Window Mirrors

Having looked at those two mirrors individually, it's time to compare and contrast.


Let's look at a detailed breakdown of the differences between window mirrors and traditional vanity mirrors in terms of lighting, style, and functionality for beauty routines. 


1: Lighting

When we talk about lighting options for mirrors, traditional vanity mirrors take the lead. They usually have built-in lighting around the mirror perimeter, such as LED strips or bulbs which are specifically designed for the main purpose of providing optimal illumination during beauty routines like makeup application or skincare.

The best part is that these lights also come in various temperatures like warm and cool and some mirrors have an adjustability feature that allows you to juggle between the various brightness levels and temperatures till you find what works for you. 

Window mirrors, on the other hand, generally do not include built-in lighting. They rely on ambient or natural light from the surroundings and if placed strategically, they can reflect and enhance existing light sources within a room.


2:  Style

Traditional vanity mirrors tend to have a functional and modern aesthetic, often with adjustable features like tilting mechanisms and sleek frames.

But if you're looking for a mirror that can add a unique focal point to a room and contribute to a vintage, rustic, or eclectic décor theme, then a window mirror is your best option. Because of their architectural style and ability to mimic the appearance of a window frame, window mirrors are mainly used as decorative elements in room.


3: Functionality

Traditional vanity mirrors are specifically tailored for beauty tasks and as such are more functional than window mirrors. This is because they provide clear and focused views with adjustable angles. The built-in lighting in vanity mirrors ensures even illumination for detailed makeup application, skin care, and grooming. 

As for window mirrors, although they are designed to be used for beauty routines, they can indirectly contribute by reflecting light and creating a brighter, more visually appealing space. They can enhance the ambience of a room where grooming activities take place. 



Window Mirrors Vs Traditional Vanity Mirrors: Ideal Placement For Different Rooms

 Both window mirrors and traditional vanity mirrors have different uses and as such may work best in certain spaces in your home.

So how do you know where to put them?

How do you know which mirror is best suited for your living room, bathroom or entry?

That's what we're going to look at:


1: Living Room

The best type of mirrors to put in your living room are window mirrors. They add architectural interest and enhance natural light. They can also create the illusion of extra space and contribute to a stylish décor, especially in rooms with traditional or rustic themes.

How to use:

Position a large window mirror above a sofa or console table to create a focal point and amplify the sense of space. For that cohesive look, choose window mirrors with decorative frames or arched tops to complement your living room décor.


2: Entryway

Window mirrors are great for entryways as they help to create a welcoming atmosphere and make the space feel larger. They can serve both decorative and functional purposes, such as providing a spot for last-minute checks before leaving the house.

How to use:

Place a window mirror near the entrance of the door to make the space feel more inviting and spacious. You can also go for a window mirror with a weathered or distressed finish for a rustic or farmhouse-style entryway.


3: Bedroom

Both window mirrors and traditional vanity mirrors work well in bedrooms. Vanity mirrors are commonly found in bedrooms, particularly on dressing tables, where they are used for makeup application and grooming tasks. As for window mirrors, they can be used alongside vanity mirrors especially as statement pieces above dressers to add charm, reflect light and brighten the room.

How to use:

Traditional vanity mirrors are often placed on top of or integrated into a dressing table in the bedroom. This setup provides a dedicated space for grooming and getting ready. Another option is to mount the mirror on the wall. This arrangement maximises floor space and allows for a clean, streamlined look, particularly for bedrooms with limited space or modern aesthetics.

For window mirrors in the bedroom, simply install the mirror beside your vanity mirror. You can also place them near actual windows or beside a lamp stand. This way, it can reflect light from the lamp or window to enhance the overall ambience and create a cosy atmosphere. 


4: Bathroom

Traditional vanity mirrors are very popular in bathrooms, especially mounted on walls or integrated into bathroom cabinets. Window mirrors won't fit in properly due to moisture levels in bathrooms which may end up damaging the window mirror frames.


How to use:

Above the Sink: In bathrooms, traditional vanity mirrors are commonly installed above the sink or vanity countertop. This placement allows for easy access during daily grooming routines such as brushing teeth, applying skincare products, and styling hair.

Medicine Cabinet: Some bathrooms feature vanity mirrors integrated into medicine cabinets, providing additional storage space for toiletries while serving as a functional mirror.


5: Office:

Most home offices do not have mirrors in them being that the space is strictly for work purposes. However, you can incorporate window mirrors in your home office to create a brighter and more open atmosphere, especially if natural light is limited. They can also add a touch of character to the workspace.


How to use:

You can place your window mirrors anywhere in your home office or study, so long as it's reflecting and amplifying the natural or artificial lighting in the room. This will help reduce eye strain during work hours. Also, choose a sleek and modern window mirror design that complements the office's overall aesthetic.


6: Dining Room

Aside from decorative uses, mirrors aren't necessary for dining areas. This is why window mirrors are best used in this part of the house.

How to use:

Hang the window mirror on a wall opposite a window or light source so it reflects the dining table centrepiece or artwork, enhancing the room's overall design. Don't forget, always go for a window mirror with decorative details that will help elevate the overall aesthetic of your dining room.



7: Hallways/Corridors

Hallways or Corridors are parts of the house known to be very dark since little or no natural light comes in. But they are also too narrow to fit in a traditional vanity mirror so yes, again, window mirrors are best suited for this part of the house.

How to use:

Install narrow window mirrors along a hallway or corridor to create the illusion of more space and place them strategically to reflect natural or artificial light. Lastly, make sure to get window mirrors with unique shapes or patterns to make the hallway visually engaging


8: Dressing Areas

As the name implies, this space is solely for grooming and getting dressed. It could either be a walk-in closet or a small space just between your bathroom that houses your clothes, shoes, jewellery, makeup and skincare items.

For such rooms, the traditional vanity mirror is your best because they usually have dedicated Dressing tables attached that provide ample surface area for storing beauty products and accessories. 


How to use:

Aside from being attached to a dressing table, traditional vanity mirrors can be installed on closet doors or walls to create a personalised space for trying on outfits and accessories. Also, keep in mind that the mirror must be positioned at an appropriate height and angle for comfortable use while seated or standing.


Things to Consider When Choosing A Mirror for Your Space

When deciding between window mirrors and traditional vanity mirrors for your space, several factors should be considered to ensure you choose the mirror that best suits your needs and preferences. Here are key factors to consider:


1: Functionality and Purpose

Are you more interested in the practical or decorative use of the mirror? If you prioritise decorative appeal over specific grooming needs, then a window mirror is what you should get. But if your primary goal is to have a dedicated mirror for grooming, makeup application, and skin care, a traditional vanity mirror with built-in lighting and magnification options would be more suitable.


2: Room Size and Layout

Ideally, window mirrors are best suited for larger rooms or spaces where you want to create the illusion of depth and openness. Traditional vanity mirrors, on the other hand, are more practical for smaller, dedicated areas such as bathrooms, bedrooms, or dressing rooms where grooming tasks are performed regularly. Either way, you still have to consider the scale and proportion of the mirror relative to the room size.


3: Lighting Needs

Window mirrors rely on existing natural or artificial light sources to enhance brightness and create a well-lit environment. Traditional vanity mirrors come equipped with built-in lighting designed specifically for grooming and makeup tasks. So if consistent and adjustable lighting is important for your beauty routines, a traditional vanity mirror is the better choice.


4: Decorative Style and Aesthetic Preference

Both mirror types credit to different decor themes. Traditional vanity mirrors come in sleek modern designs as well as classic and ornate styles, perfect for rooms with contemporary and minimalist styles of interior decor. Window mirrors are available in various styles from rustic farmhouse to contemporary. So whichever one you choose, make sure it complements your overall décor theme.


5: Maintenance and Cleaning

Knowing how to care for your mirrors is important if you want them to last for the long term. Usually, there's no specific cleaning or maintenance routine required for the different types of mirrors. However, you might want to factor in the glass surface and frame materials for the window mirrors and the maintenance requirements of built-in lighting components and adjustable features for the vanity mirrors.


6: Budget and Value

Prices of window mirrors can vary based on size, design, and materials used. For

Traditional vanity mirrors, prices may vary depending on features such as lighting quality, magnification options, and design aesthetics.  




Traditional vanity mirrors prioritise practicality and clarity for tasks like makeup application and grooming.

While window mirrors focus more on decorative style and can enhance the overall aesthetics and lighting of a room, indirectly supporting beauty routines by creating a pleasant environment.

Traditional vanity mirrors are best suited for spaces dedicated to personal grooming and beauty routines, such as bedrooms and bathrooms. Window mirrors, with their decorative appeal and light-enhancing properties, are versatile for various rooms like living rooms, entryways, and bedrooms where they can serve both functional and aesthetic purposes.

Ultimately, the choice between window mirrors and traditional vanity mirrors depends on the specific needs and style preferences of each room within your home.

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