Hanging a bathroom mirror requires much more than simply pounding a nail into the wall. Done incorrectly, a bathroom mirror installation can damage the wall, the mirror or the electrical wiring behind the wall. A bathroom mirror also affects the value of your home. An old real estate adage says bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. A gaudy, poorly installed bathroom mirror can take the focus off an otherwise tasteful selling point of your house.
The first step in installing a bathroom mirror is selecting the right type. Depending on your bathroom decor, you may want a contemporary, unframed mirror, or a more traditional framed mirror. If you have a double vanity, you might consider hanging two smaller mirrors, one over each vanity. The other option would be one, larger mirror that spans both sinks. A bathroom mirror should not be wider than the vanity over which it hangs, according to Home and Garden TV. This will determine whether you go with a horizontal or more vertical shape, such as an oval.
The weight of the mirror may be dependent on whether or not you have studs in which to place nails. Based on where you will be centering your mirror and where the studs in your wall are, it's a good idea to shop for mirrors taking your wall measurements and exact stud spacing with you.
Lighting will also affect your mirror selection. Will you need lights built into the mirror, or will you need to reserve space above or to the side of the mirror? Do you want to use natural sunlight in the morning via a skylight or side window? Is your current lighting directly in front of where the mirror will be placed or is it to the side or above it on the ceiling? These are all questions you should address before you begin shopping.
Where you want to hang your mirror will affect how you hang it. The most obvious placement for a bathroom mirror is to center it directly over the vanity. If you have not yet placed your vanity and the mirror will be a key element of the bathroom, lighting and stud placement may play roles in determining where you hang your mirror and then place your vanity. If you are using a non-lighted mirror, you'll need to place your mirror in a spot that takes advantage of your existing light source, or leave room for side sconces or an overhead light. If you plan on hanging a heavy, decorative mirror, you may need to place it on the wall based on where your studs are.
Once you've chosen your mirror and selected your spot, you are headed down the home stretch to final installation. First, compile a list of the tools you will need. These might include: stud finder, level, hangars or nails, j hooks, drywall anchors, wire, erasable pencil, chalk or marker, manual or electric screwdriver and hammer.
Lightly mark where the four corners of your mirror, or outer boundaries of a circle or oval mirror, meet the wall. Place a mark in the center of these four marks. Stand back and determine if this placement looks right. Stand close, where you will when washing or shaving. Raise the mirror against the wall with your hands to gauge whether or not the placement looks correct. Have a partner do this so you can look at the placement from further than arms' length.
Use the stud finder to find the studs nearest to where you want to affix the mirror to the wall. You may only be able to use one stud. If this is the case, you will need to sheath the other nail or screw using a drywall anchor. This is a small, plastic device that goes into the drywall first, into which you insert a nail or screw. This will help prevent the nail or screw from tearing out of the drywall if the mirror is too heavy. Start the hole in the drywall with a nail or screw, rather than trying to insert the plastic anchor directly into the drywall. This will prevent the anchor from collapsing or bending from too much hammer pressure.
Depending on whether you are using wire, hooks, nails behind the mirror or screws through the mirror, insert the items into the wall. If you are using a wire, consider using two nails or hooks to decrease the pressure on one hangar. Remove one hand and place the other beneath the mirror for support. Place both hands at the bottom of the mirror on each side and gauge whether you think the mirror is stable and the wall will support the weight. Use a ruler to measure the placement of the mirror to ensure it's where you want it. Place a level across the top of the mirror and angle the mirror until the bubble in the water is in the center of the level.
Stand back and reflect on (and in) your new mirror.