Here we share our types of mirrors guide including the different kinds, styles and interior design ideas.
Mirrors are said to date way back over 6,000 years ago in Anatolia (ancient Turkey), where it was molded from crushed volcanic glass and polished to become obsidian.
Ancient Egyptians followed with polished copper, and then Mesopotamians with burnished metal, followed by Central and South American’s polished stone mirrors, and China’s polished bronze and metal alloys. With the high value of precious metals, mirrors are signs of wealth and position.
Despite its distant past though, today’s mirrors are said to be invented by German chemist Justus von Liebig. And they have become affordable and more accessible to the common people.
With the development of mirrors, they now range from simple functional mirrors to lucrative and decorative ones. In fact, there are now several types of mirrors you can consider, including the following.
A plane mirror is the most basic and common type today. This type is focused on functionality rather than aesthetics, centering on reflecting images identically in normal proportions but left to right reversed. These mirrors are normally installed in bathrooms and bedrooms.
Plane mirrors are made from glass and metal alloy. The flat piece of glass is coated with a metal alloy, which is responsible for the reflection, as well as the protection of the mirror’s surface.
The plane mirror’s design is known for its flat reflective surface. If preferred, it can also be structured slightly curved.
While the primary design of the plane mirror is for functionality, it can also be designed in fun shapes, from basic ones to animal shapes.
There are a variety of designs in the market to choose from, you only have to look.
The primary usage of a plane mirror is image reflection. It produces almost-identical images, from size to shape.
The virtual reflection is realistic but it is also laterally inverted, which means that the right will always look like the left and vice versa.
Plane mirrors are made from thin plate glass pieces, which are responsible for producing realistic and identical images. The plate glass also helps protect the mirror’s surface so that it won’t tarnish easily and quickly.
There are also some plane mirrors made from gallium and mercury, which are both reflective in a liquid state.
Plane mirrors come in varied sizes and even shapes. They can be small to fit a compact or even as large as a big wall (which a lot of dancers install in their studios).
To be honest, your imagination is only the limitation of the sizes that plane mirrors can come in.
Spherical mirrors can be differentiated from plane mirrors due to how it looks. Spherical mirrors come in either convex or concave versions.
Convex mirrors bulge outward, creating a distortion in the reflection. This results in a smaller distorted image compared to the actual object.
Some examples of convex mirrors are passenger-side mirrors and dressing room mirrors in closing stores.
Concave mirrors curve inward. Opposite from convex mirrors, concave mirrors make enlarged reflections of images (which seem upside down from away but flips once you get near).
Some of the concave mirrors used in everyday life are shaving mirrors, car headlights, makeup mirrors, and dental mirrors.
Spherical mirrors are named as such because they are curved and appear to be half of a sphere.
Concave and convex mirrors are examples of spherical mirrors and while the concave mirror curves inward, the convex mirror curves outward.
Reflections are also distorted when using these mirrors.
When using spherical mirrors, there are only 2 effects that also work as their uses. It either magnifies an image or makes it smaller and the reflections would also appear distorted of some sort.
These are concave and convex mirrors respectively. The former focuses on the center point of the mirror while the latter focuses on the edges.
Spherical mirrors are made from polished metal or glass. The materials are guaranteed to be of high quality and reasonably priced too.
Due to different uses, spherical mirrors come in different sizes. For instance, dental mirrors are considered concave mirrors and are considerably small due to how they are used.
Car headlights, another example of concave mirrors, are bigger than dental mirrors. And dressing room mirrors, examples of convex mirrors, are bigger than the first two examples.
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A non-reversing mirror, also called true mirror or flip mirror, showcases an eerie reflection of yourself and something else.
Since we are used to flat mirrors, seeing ourselves in a non-reversing mirror can be weird since it reflects your actual movement, as well as your right and left profiles.
A regular non-reversing mirror involves two mirrors joined together at a 90-degree angle. Besides that though, there are three main designs that can be found in the market.
This includes the following:
• Surface mirrors are joined at an exact spot, making it seem non-existent
• Concave mirrors and at some point there will appear a non-reversing image
• Mirrors are angled to create a surface with curves and bends that create a disco ball effect
Non-reversing mirrors are mean to present an image in actuality and as is with the subject.
These kinds of mirrors have more commercial applications than the other previous mirrors. They are most often used in retail outlets and stores.
Non-reversing mirrors are not made from anything special. They are just comprised of two flat mirrors combined together at a 90-degree angle to have this “non-reversing” effect.
Using rectangular/square flat mirrors is the way to go since using other shaped mirrors may not successfully create the same effect.
Most non-reversing mirrors are large (like an entire wall) primarily because most of them are used commercially. Like other types of mirrors though, they also come in different shapes and sizes.
The design itself though doesn’t allow it to be small since two mirrors are used. Most would also prefer at least medium-sized mirrors to accomplish and see its effect.
One-Way & Two-Way Mirrors
One-way & two-way mirrors are interesting because they have been seen and advertised in movies and drama shows.
Remember that scene where police officers will interrogate suspects in one room where the suspect is seen by other officers but the people inside the room can only see a mirror? That’s the two-way mirror!
One-way and two-way mirrors are designed with a coated see-through panel, which makes them reflective and transparent.
The one-way reflection and transmission are accomplished by keeping one side of the mirror dark and keeping the other side bright.
You will be able to see from the darkened side but not from the bright side. On the bright side though, you won’t be able to see through it.
One-way and two-way mirrors have specialized lighting that allows them to be the unique mirrors that they are. What allows this to be a two-way mirror is the use of aluminum on the surface of the mirror for the reflection.
Only half of the light is reflected back and the other half goes through the glass pane, resulting in an effective two-way mirror. These mirrors are normally used in the following:
• Interrogation rooms
• Experimental labs
• Security observation decks
Minerals including aluminum, tin, silver, or nickel play an important role in creating effective one-way and two-way mirrors. Other materials used in these types of mirrors are glass and paint.
You will need a glass to serve as the base while the minerals are needed to coat the glass panel for the reflection.
After coating the glass with one of the minerals you’ve chosen, the next step is to cover the glass with copper to help protect it from oxidation. And finally, the paint will follow as the last step.
These mirrors also come in a variety of sizes, depending on where you plan to install them and how you’re going to use them.
For hidden security cameras, the mirrors need to be small to still appear hidden. For interrogation rooms though, it can be the size of half a wall or even the entire wall.
A silvered mirror, based on its name, uses “silver” (can be other compounds acting as silver) as its main material for reflectivity.
This is the factor that differentiates it from other types of mirrors. These silvered mirrors are usually for decorative purposes in rooms, adding aesthetic value.
Silvered mirrors have a simple design, which involves silver coating responsible for their reflective factor.
People started “silvering” their mirrors with mercury and tin mixture but it all changed in the 18thy century when people started using pure silver instead.
Other mixtures used besides silver are aluminum and other compounds.
Silvers (and similar compounds) make a mirror stronger, non-corrosive, and more durable so it can last longer. They are also highly reflective, which makes them perfect for making mirrors. Some of the uses of silvered mirrors include the following:
• One-way and Two-way Mirrors
• Rearview Mirror
• Dental Mirrors
Silvered mirrors are also popularly used for decor and entertainment. They can also be used for signaling in technology. You can even make this your project during your leisure time.
Silvered mirrors need highly reflective materials in order to successfully accomplish their roles. Other mixtures used in place of silver, when it’s not available, include stuttering aluminum and other compounds.
Silvered mirrors come in various sizes and shapes, depending on how they are used and where they will be used or installed.
One-way and two-way mirrors are popular examples of silvered mirrors and when installed in interrogation rooms, they are expected to be larger than your regular compact mirror.
Some silvered mirrors are also decorative in that they are installed in the living room and bedroom, their sizes, and shapes would also be varied.
Custom mirrors are mirrors that have been tailored depending on what mirror is needed.
Some designs are unique and the limitation can only be in the mind of the person requisition for its customization.
You can have mirrors customized in traditional style, Victorian design, formal style, or modern style. Whatever you want will be followed.
When talking about the design for custom mirrors, it will really depend on which custom mirrors we’re talking about. A custom mirror ordered by a company for a dressing room in a mall can come in full-length mirrors.
A custom mirror ordered by an individual though for her minimalist home will have a simple design. They can come in specialized frames, shapes, and colors. The design of a custom mirror will always be as instructed.
The use of custom mirrors depends entirely on who had them customized.
There are custom mirrors focusing on increasing the size of the mirror to accommodate the use of more than one person at the same time. And that’s the specific use for that particular custom mirror.
On the other hand, it is entirely different for custom mirrors that have been designed to add aesthetic value to a home.
The materials used for custom mirrors can range from the most common materials usually used to create mirrors to the rarest materials you didn’t think possible.
You may want to use tin or aluminum for the coating or you can also choose silver if you can afford it. In addition to that, the materials used for frames are also varied and would just depend on what you want and what you can afford.
Similar to its designs and materials, the sizes of custom mirrors are also varied and would depend on the individual having the mirrors tailored.
Custom mirrors for a dressing room of a mall will be large in size. Custom mirrors for home decor will be smaller than that.
Different Mirror Styles
More than just the different types of mirrors you can make the most of, there are also different mirror styles to choose from.
Your choice on what specific type and style of mirrors to consider will depend on what you need the mirror for. Where will you use the mirror and for what purpose?
After answering these questions, the next step to do is to know your options. You’ve been presented with the different types of mirrors. Here are the different mirror styles to consider.
Mounted mirrors are installed on the wall, cleanly. This helps free up floor space, which will be perfect for small spaces.
This is the reason why most mounted types of mirrors are found in bathrooms. They can also serve as home decor when installed on the walls in the living areas.
Freestanding mirrors are mirrors that can stand on their own, whether through a tripod stand or other types of stand.
One good example of this type of mirror is a freestanding full-length mirror, which is normally used in fitting rooms in clothing stores. It can also be installed in bedrooms for your walk-in closet.
Behind the Door Mirror
Behind the door mirror is a bit similar to a mounted mirror but instead of being mounted to a wall, it is mounted behind the door.
Also known as an over-the-door mirror, it also helps save space, is affordable, and is easy to install too.
Mirrored Wall Panels
Mirrored wall panels, also known as wall mirrors, can come in a variety of sizes and shapes but one thing is sure, they are hanging mirrors.
These are heavy mirrors due to the solid wood frames that they come in. If you plan to use this type of mirror, make sure you know how to safely and securely hang a heavy mirror.
Mirrored furniture is another style of how a mirror is installed. The mirror is integrated into a specific piece of furniture, where it will do its purpose.
One popular example of this is a mirrored tabletop. A mirrored tabletop can result from customizing a coffee table in order to protect its surface from scratches.
Uses for A Mirror In Interior Design
When it comes to interior design, a mirror is also an item you can use to its full extent. Coming in different sizes, shapes, and styles, mirrors can be a great addition to your home.
But what can it do for you and your home? Here are some uses for these different types of mirrors.
Starting with its primary function, mirrors are used to provide reflection. When you have a mirror at home, you can be sure that you know how you look and if you are presentable enough before even going out of the house.
It will be helpful either in the bathroom or your bedroom, to check how your clothes look on you, as well as in fixing your hair and makeup (if you’re using some).
Brightens Up Space by Enhancing Natural Light
Mirrors can brighten up the space when you install them across the window because of their ability to enhance natural light. The mirror reflects the light that comes in through the window.
Makes A Room Feel Bigger
The trick is to use large types of mirrors, preferably a floor-to-ceiling mirror, and install them around the room. This helps visually increase the size of the room.
Adds Aesthetic Value
Mirrors can also act as decor for your home. You can choose to have mirrored tiles for a backsplash in the kitchen or add a mosaic mirror with a Victorian frame and hang it on the living room wall. These can definitely add aesthetic value to your home.
You can choose to hang your mirror in areas at home with faded paints or ugly nail holes.
If you choose to hang it, either for functionality or decor, you can also hide other imperfections you have on your walls.
Is A Mirror Glass?
Is a mirror a glass? The straight answer to this is yes. One of the materials needed to create a mirror is a glass or glass pane.
The glass will have to be coated, though, with minerals like aluminum or silver in order to give it its known reflective characteristic.
Whether it’s a glass played sprayed with paint for the mirror effect or a cool glass bonded with heated aluminum in a vacuum, both mirrors would still use glass.
What Makes Mirrors Expensive?
Not all types of mirrors are expensive since there are also affordable ones offered in the market. And there are pricey mirrors found on the market.
But what makes it expensive in the first place? Here are some factors affecting the price of a mirror:
A high-quality and rare glass will clearly have a higher cost compared to simple and common glass.
A cheap glass has a higher chance to be an imitation and produce a distorted reflection. In addition to that, a high-quality glass lasts longer compared to cheaper glass.
Besides the glass, the frame of the mirror also affects its price. While some mirrors are frameless, some have a costly frame that increases the price of the mirror itself.
The quality of a mirror does not only come from the materials used but also its craftsmanship and how it was made.
This means that the maker should have dedicated time and effort in creating it in order to produce a polished and high-quality mirror.
Size & Design
The size of the mirror can also affect its price. The bigger the mirror is, the more pricey it is.
This means that the mirror installed in dressing rooms is more pricey than the mirror you have in your compact.
What Type Of Mirror Do Department Stores Use?
Department stores make us of spherical mirrors, specifically convex mirrors. These mirrors are installed as a security measure for the stores, especially since it offers a wide-angle point of view.
The store’s corners can be viewed using these mirrors, increasing security and protection. Security cameras can also be installed within the camera for stronger security.
Some department stores choose dome mirrors to help them improve their security. Also known as hemispherical mirrors, dome mirrors are installed on the ceiling and offer a wide-angle and a full 360-degree view of the room or the store.
If not dome mirrors, some also use half-dome mirrors (providing 180-degree view) and quarter dome mirrors (installed between the ceiling and two walls). See more related content in our article about how to fix a cracked mirror on this page.