What are the Different Types of Wall Mirrors?

Cathy Rogers

Wall mirrors are available in various shapes, dimensions, and price ranges. Because they reflect light, they can visually expand a small room or narrow space. From contemporary to elaborate, these mirrors come in a multitude of styles.

Framed wall mirrors are widely available and usually made of wood.
Framed wall mirrors are widely available and usually made of wood.

Etched wall mirrors contain artwork imprinted into the glass. The etched image can be simple or ornate, and choices range from geometric designs to animal images to elaborate scenes. Laser etching, hand etching, or acid etching is used to create the decorative image. Kits and instructions are available to add an etched design to a plain mirror.

Vinegar may be used to clean a mirror.
Vinegar may be used to clean a mirror.

Framed mirrors are widely available. Most commonly, frames are made of wood; however, elaborate wall mirrors can be framed in cowhide, mother of pearl, turquoise, or other exotic materials. Framed mirrors give the impression of being larger than they are. The price of framed mirrors varies according to size and frame quality. Custom-made mirrors are more costly due to the labor involved.

When choosing a framed wall mirror, the framing should be complimentary to other accessories in the room. For example, in a room containing bold or sturdy furniture, choose a mirror that has a heavy type frame. Painting wood framed mirrors the same color as the walls can create the impression of a larger space. Carved mirrors, a type of framed mirror, add visual interest to a room. Some wooden framed mirrors feature unique, intricate carvings or are carved into contemporary shapes.

Beveled, or angled, edges on wall mirrors provide a sleek image. Some beveled mirrors are frameless, while others have frames with beveled edges. Unlike a mirror with a frame or molding, a frameless beveled edge provides a reflective surface to the entire mirror. The beveled edges act as prisms and create color-intensive reflections of light. Beveled edge frames tend to be more costly than framed mirrors. Kits are available to add a bevel mirror overlay to dress up a simple mirror.

Wall mirrors consist of a piece of clear glass coated with multiple layers of silver, copper, and paint sealer. Except when cleaning, mirrors should be kept dry. Use clean, warm water; vinegar; or rubbing alcohol to clean a mirror. When using commercial glass cleaners to clean a mirror, do not spray the mirror itself; instead spray the cleaner on a soft cloth. For stubborn spots, re-wet the cloth and use pressure; do not use an abrasive cleaner or gritty cloth.

Round mirrors that hook into the wall may be suitable for use in a bathroom.
Round mirrors that hook into the wall may be suitable for use in a bathroom.

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Discussion Comments


My husband tears down houses with a demolition crew, and he often gets to bring home furniture and items that previous owners left behind. He recently brought home two nice wall mirrors.

One of them is framed in wood that has been painted white. The wood is raised up along a roughly two-inch area next to the glass, and it has been carved into shapes resembling waves.

The other is a full length mirror made to hang on the back of a door. It has frosted beveled edges, so it needs no frame.

We just moved into our small home a year ago with very little furnishings in tow, so I can definitely use these mirrors. I find that they make a room appear bigger than it is by bouncing light around.


My bathroom has an oceanic design theme. I wanted my wall mirror on the back of the door to reflect that, so I chose one framed in shells.

The mirror is round and rather large, so it needed a supporting frame for the shells to adhere to. This frame is made of mother-of-pearl, though you can’t see much of it, as the shells are placed very close together.

A variety of every type of seashell I have ever seen in different sizes lines this mirror. The shells even retained their oceanic smell, which I love. Some of them still have trace amounts of sand stuck down inside.


I have a beautiful small, round wall mirror that my friend gave me for my birthday. It has quite an interesting frame.

Though the reflective surface is only slightly larger than my head, the frame makes it twice as large. The round frame extends outward half the diameter of the glass in each direction.

On top of the frame are mosaic tiles arranged in a pattern. Directly around the glass, small black rectangular tiles are arranged to encircle it. Coming off of them are gray tiles cut in the shape of sun rays.

In between the rays are lighter gray, randomly shaped small tiles that make up the background. The outermost tiles are more black rectangles with white edges.


I have a full length wall mirror in my bedroom. It has beveled edges, and I love what it does when the sunlight hits it.

At a certain time of day when the angle of the sun is just right, the light coming through my window falls on the mirror. It casts little rainbows all over my carpet.

The rainbows are brighter than the ones you see in the sky. They are only a couple of inches long and wide. I like to put my fingers into them and see the colors on my skin.

Had I chosen to place the mirror on a different wall, I never would have seen what the beveled edge could do. I am glad I discovered this incidental effect.


How do you clean wall size mirrors and what products do you use?

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