Depending who you talk to, a medicine cabinet is either a must-have feature in a bathroom or relic of the past. While the debate rages, the humble mirror has been revolutionized and is making a case for its relevance.
The medicine cabinet, of course, is an extremely useful feature in a bathroom, holding salves, emollients, and other personal care items that homeowners use pretty frequently. In recent years, medicine cabinets, like almost everything else in the home, have gone high tech, with smart units that operate via voice command and offer LED lighting and Bluetooth connectivity with embedded speakers.
The Radiance mirror features a perfectly circular silhouette inlaid with an LED strip that provides ambient illumination. It has touch-activated light buttons on the bottom and a frameless design maximizes the mirror’s surface space. Measuring 23.6 inches wide and 23.62 tall, it has a built-in defogger, four-direction keyhole mounting, and 3000K color temperature.
But change is afoot. According to the National Association of Realtors, there is a movement among some consumers and homebuyers to ditch the medicine cabinet. Instead, the association says on its website, some buyers are expanding their options to include a shelf with a mirror or open shelving. “Yes, open shelving—which has been popular in kitchens for years—is making its way to the bathroom,” the site says.
Ditching the traditional medicine cabinet for a simple mirror is an intriguing option. In recent years, shelter and design magazines have been publishing scores of interiors showing baths that have nothing more than a round mirror hanging from a leather strap. Other designers are finding additional ways to use the old standby.
Roma is an LED backlit mirror recessed in a glass frame which also acts as a shelf. It features an on/off sensor with dimmer and nightlight, and defogger with hardwiring to a wall switch. Roma comes in a variety of sizes in square and rectangular shapes. Custom sizes are available upon request. Light temperature is 4000K with 3000K or 6000K available by special order.
Sebring Design Build in Naperville, Ill. says on its site that “asymmetrical mirrors are here and better than ever before.”
Whether you opt for a mirror with shelving or without or round mirror with a leather strap, one thing is for certain, the whole category is nothing like it was in the past. More companies are developing ways to give the humble mirror the tech makeover, so today it can do almost anything a smart medicine cabinet can--except store goods.
“Mirrors can have anti-fog technologies, smart touch abilities, USB charging stations, and just about anything else you can imagine,” Sebring Design says on its website. “Long gone are the days of plated mirrors. With shaped frame options taking over, you have the ability to get as creative as possible when it comes to picking out the exact style. And we have not forgotten about the most important detail of bathroom mirrors--lighting. It’s all about the lighting. Getting ready in your sleek and stylish bathroom would mean nothing if you didn’t come out looking flawless, right?”
Designed by sieger design, the Happy D.2 Plus mirrors incorporate the classic design idiom of the iconic Happy D series, the archetypal oval. Available in two sizes, these circular mirrors are available with all-round lighting strips in two finishes--Radial and Organic--and light adjustment capabilities from 2,700K (warm light) to 6,500K (cold light). When purchased in a set, the Happy D.2 Plus mirrors pair via wireless technology, which synchronizes the two mirrors to act as one.
Lighting is a crucial component in the new mirror collection from radiant heating manufacturer WarmlyYours. The company’s new collection of made-to-order Collection of LED mirrors expands on their Marquee Series line of hardwired, wall-mounted LED mirrors. “The new line of custom LED mirrors features 11 different base models (including a medicine cabinet option) with different sizes and orientations,” says Julia Billen, owner and president of WarmlyYours. “There are also two different LED color temperatures available with the Made-to-Order Collection, warm yellow and cool white.”
Recently, bath products manufacturer Duravit, introduced a wide range of mirrors across many of its collections. The company says the various introductions are driven by technology and offers a variety of solutions across style, dimension and price point. The products, which include the circular shape of the Happy D.2 Plus collection and the rectangular XSquare line, offer features such as lighting, defogging, and integrated technologies.
Measuring 24 inches by 36 inches and projecting 2 inches, the Galaxy Oval mirror offers 4200 lumens with a color rendering index of 90+. It’s dimmable with any standard wall switch and can be hung horizontally and vertically. The light lasts approximately 120,000 hours.
“Duravit prides itself on great design, continually innovating its process and integrating technology across all categories of products offered,” says Tim Schroeder, president of Duravit North America. “In the case of mirrors, this philosophy is no different. We are proud to offer not only a range of solutions in this category, but perhaps more importantly, class-leading designs that incorporate patent-pending innovative technology.”
There is no question that the smart mirror has arrived and offers whiz-bang tech that many consumers, especially younger buyers, will appreciate. But the question remains, can it supplant the medicine cabinet, which does all of the things that the mirror can do but also stores razors, facial moisturizer, and dental floss, among many other things.
Whether you choose a medicine cabinet or a mirror, there are some things to keep in mind. Make sure the unit is sized properly for the vanity. The mirror should never be wider than the vanity, experts say, though if the unit is smaller it’s not an issue. Also pay attention to frame material. Frameless mirrors, naturally, are more contemporary, while wood frames can be more transitional or rustic depending on the species and the finish.
The AiO Lighted Wall Mirror includes an integrated LED light, engine and dimmer, and capacitive-touch dimming switch. An OM Audio Technology transforms the mirror into an audio system using Bluetooth connectivity. Two Kelvin ratings creates warm mood lighting or cool, energizing task lighting. The unit measures 23.06 inches long, 1.5 inches deep, and 29.88 inches tall.
Part of the 45° collection, the series 1400 mirror measures 55 inches wide and integrated LED perimeter lighting. It has a 45-degree edge design feature and an individual touch sensor switch located on the mirror face. The unit comes in Natural Oak wood finish or black matte and white matte lacquer finish.
The new line of wall-mounted LED mirrors compliments the brand’s Marquee Series of hardwired, wall-mounted LED mirrors. It features 11 different base models (including a medicine cabinet option) with different sizes and orientations. There are also two different LED color temperatures available--warm yellow and cool white.