Even if you aren’t too conscious about looking good, you can’t deny taking a look at the mirror involuntarily before heading out anywhere.
Mirrors undeniably play a significant part in our daily lives and have lots of useful applications as well. So, if you’re considering getting a new mirror for your home or workplace, it’s best to make a well-informed decision to ensure it serves the purpose well.
There are several types of mirrors available on the market, which you must be aware of before zeroing in on a particular option. That’s why we’ve come up with this comprehensive guide on the most significant types of mirrors out there. Go ahead and give it a read.
Firstly, know that we’ve dealt with each mirror type by talking about four key aspects. These include the design of the mirrors, their features and style, the materials used in making them, and the sizes available. We hope these categories will help you form a crystal clear idea about their characteristics and functioning.
Without further ado, let’s jump in!
1. Plane Mirror
A plane mirror is the one you’re most likely to have in your home. It’s the most widely used type and comes with a planar or flat reflective surface that you can also make slightly curved as per your preferences.
Plus, these flat mirrors are available in a range of designs and shapes with various interesting applications. Several varieties are shaped like animals and fun figures to make them appeal to children and fun-loving people.
The image added above is, of course, the most basic and standard mirror type available. However, you’ll surely be amazed by the vast variety of plane mirrors while selecting an option for your workplace or home.
B. Features And Style
Plane mirrors are the type that can produce almost or exactly the same image having the same shape and size as the reflection. Note that the reflection remains upright and virtual, implying the rays of light don’t come from the image.
Simply put, such mirrors give rise to a realistic reflection that’s laterally inverted — it causes your right hand to appear like your left hand and vice versa.
Know that the majority of such mirrors are formed using thin plate-glass pieces. Interestingly, these not only give rise to great images but can also protect and strengthen the mirror surface to prevent it from getting tarnished faster.
Some other varieties of plane mirrors are made using liquids like gallium and mercury that are quite reflective in their fluid state. As such, their reflecting surface will render consistent service for a long time.
You might already know that plane mirrors are available in scores of sizes, ranging from as small as makeup mirrors to those that can fit across a wall. As we mentioned earlier, they may come in rectangular, round, octagonal, and various other shapes based on their application.
2. One-Way Or Two-Way Mirror
Known by either of these two names, such mirrors are partially reflective and transparent, which makes them a useful apparatus for filming.
The most intriguing aspect is that such a mirror lets you see an object or individual while not being seen itself. It’s designed with a reflective and thin coating on one side while the opposite side is relatively darker. As a result, most of the light is reflected back to the bright side, and a small part passes through.
That’s why a person standing behind the dark portion can see the lighted part, whereas the viewer on the bright side only sees his or her reflection.
B. Features And Style
Apart from being used in movies, these mirrors are also applied in decks for security observation, experimental labs, interrogation rooms, and hidden security cameras.
They’re primarily known for their specialized manufacturing and lighting qualities, which makes them a two-way viewing medium. Note that it’s the thinness of the coated layer that causes the reflection and penetration of light simultaneously.
The coated side of one-way or two-way mirrors uses materials like tin, silver, or nickel. And that’s usually applied to the back side of the glass. Following this, the glass is covered with copper to rule out oxidation and finally protected with a layer of paint.
Two-way mirrors naturally come in several sizes owing to their variety of applications. While they need to be very small for being used in a security camera, interrogation rooms will need mirrors as large as an entire wall.
For instance, market research sessions require you to sit in a room and reply to a series of questions asked by a particular company. During such a session, you’re likely to be aware that the company’s representatives are present on the other side of a large mirror on the wall.
3. Spherical Mirror
Ever been to a carnival or festival? Then you’ve surely come across a house of mirrors that portray funny, distorted images when you stand in front of them. It’s the best example of spherical mirrors used for entertainment.
Spherical mirrors are shaped as though they’re cut out of a spherical structure. These can be of various types, the most common among which are convex and concave mirrors.
Now, if you assume the spherical mirror to be of a half-moon shape, these two types are reflected either on the outside or the inside. This logic helps explain the design of convex and concave mirrors and their functioning, which we’ll discuss next.
B. Features And Style
When objects are placed close to any spherical mirror, they are magnified greatly. Note that the glass in such a mirror is curved either outward or inward, just like the external or internal part of a spoon.
Coming with an inward curve, concave mirrors reflect light to a focal point at their front, which results in the creation of an enlarged image. Instances of concave mirrors are the ones popularly used for makeup and shaving.
Likewise, it’s an outward bulge in the case of convex mirrors, with the reflection occurring more at the edges rather than in the center. That’s why the resultant image is slightly smaller than that produced by a concave mirror and is also somewhat distorted.
Moreover, the images might appear farther apart from the object than their actual distance, with the mirrors providing a larger field of view. This is a reason why convex mirrors are utilized on car and truck doors. Some other instances of convex mirrors include large mirrors applied in corridors and parking garages that let you see any object or individual around the corner.
Spherical mirrors are mostly made of either a particular polished metal or high-quality glass. But despite using superior-grade materials, this type generally comes at a reasonable rate since it’s widely used for a range of products.
As these mirrors are among the most popular types available, they can be of various sizes and can also come in different shapes. The varieties available include rectangular and medium-sized mirrors, round and small types, and those big enough to view images from a large distance. These can also be applied as large wall mirrors, accent mirrors, cabinet door mirrors, etc.
In fact, spherical mirrors are so versatile that you can find them even in household items such as jewelry boxes, bath bars, teapots, and other kitchen products.
4. Acoustic Mirrors
Intriguing as the name sounds, these specialized mirrors are also referred to as parabolic sound mirrors since they’re made to reflect sound waves and not light rays. Once widely used by military professionals, they are also utilized in outdoor events like different types of sports to hear distant sounds.
B. Features And Style
Acoustic mirrors work based on the passive mechanism of sound reflection. This makes them ideal for surveillance applications and in museums for focusing on sound by establishing some whisper galleries for visitors to enjoy. The use of the word “mirror” in this regard can confuse anyone since you can’t see the core unit that’s running the device.
Notably, acoustic mirrors are also used in making products like microphones that serve to pick up far-away sounds.
The most significant material used for making acoustic mirrors is known as a parabolic dish and is sensitive to sound waves coming from specific directions. As such, they should be positioned in the right place while they’re being inserted into a particular device.
Like the other types we’ve discussed till now, acoustic mirrors are available in different sizes, large and small, since they must fit well in devices of different shapes and dimensions. That’s why there isn’t any standard size for these mirrors, and users have to choose a suitable option based on their needs.
5. Silvered Mirrors
The silvering of mirrors simply refers to the process of coating them with high-quality reflective material. In earlier times, this process was carried out using a mixture of tin and mercury, though it was replaced by pure silver during the 18th Century.
But for modern glass mirrors, the most commonly used mixture is created using aluminum or its associated compounds. However, this design procedure is still referred to as “silvering” and may also have been used for the mirror you have at home.
B. Features And Style
The aluminum compounds or silver applied for making mirrors serve different purposes. First of all, the non-corrosive nature of silver increases the longevity of the mirror considerably. It is also highly reflective, which ensures excellent image quality, and is of a low density compared to many other compounds used on mirrors.
As evident from above, silver is undoubtedly the best material for mirrors. It can reflect every wavelength of light and is often utilized in making mounted mirrors for bathrooms and furniture that are fixed for decorative purposes. Moreover, it just needs to be applied in a thin layer for the mirror to be effective, which also makes it a budget-friendly method.
The silvering process can be used for any type of mirror, which is why these can be of all sizes. However, silvering is mostly applied for decorative mirrors and larger-sized ones.
That’s why the new mirror you might purchase for the living room or bedroom furniture will probably come with a silver layer, making it stronger and even more attractive.
6. Customized Or Miscellaneous Mirrors
Mirrors that are custom-made are available in a variety of designs, which include:
- Mirror tabletops made for a unique purpose
- Full-length mirrors that are used while dressing
- Mirror backsplashes to enhance the visual appeal of a kitchen
- Mirrors come with specialized frames used to accent a living room
- Mirrored walls for bedrooms
Apart from this, you’ll also find beveled glass mirrors, those devoid of frames, and others having different designs, shapes, and colors.
B. Features And Style
Irrespective of the size or style of the room you’re decorating, the mirror type you purchase will make a significant difference. Backsplashes with mirrors can add light and space to the kitchen, making it look bigger and brighter, while full-length mirrors are made 6 or 7 feet tall to enhance your convenience.
On the other hand, mirrored walls add elegance and depth to hallways, and such tabletops serve as an easy way to call attention to a coffee table. Another great benefit of going for customized mirrors is that companies can also design them to suit your personal preferences.
Unique customized mirrors and their frames are made using a range of materials. As such, you can find mirrors of all styles, including dotted ones that are brightly colored and the basic neutral–colored varieties. The internet is the best source of such options as there is an endless variety of mirrors being sold on thousands of websites.
When it’s about purchasing a mirror that doesn’t fit into any of the standard categories, there’s no limit to the sizes you can get. The mirrors can be as long as 6 feet, which can make the room appear bigger and enhance the look of any wall. On the other hand, you’ll find even larger mirrors coming with unique shapes.
7. Non-Reversing Mirrors
Also called a flip mirror, this type consists of two mirrors kept together at a 90-degree angle. Its design allows viewers to see an object at the point where these mirrors meet. As such, it’s popularly used in dressing rooms or public bathrooms.
Non-reversing mirrors are available in three primary designs:
- A mirror is formed by joining two flat-surface mirrors at a particular spot, implying the join is almost invisible.
- A mirror that’s angled to form a surface consisting of different curves and bends occurring in different directions.
- A concave mirror that will create a non-reversing image at a point.
B. Features And Style
A non-reversing mirror always presents an object or individual as seen in reality, which is why many refer to it as a true mirror. As you can easily connect two regular mirrors perpendicular to each other to make this mirror, it doesn’t have any special features.
In case you choose to set up a non-reversing mirror vertically, you can look into the angled part to see a non-reversing reflection.
Since true or non-reversing mirrors are made using standard mirrors, the materials used are no different from the basic components of any such mirror.
But in case you’re using beveled glass pieces or those coming with odd shapes to make a DIY mirror, the results might not be what you were hoping for. That’s why a basic or standard mirror will be the best choice in this regard.
You can get ready-made non-reversing mirrors in a variety of shapes and sizes. But when used in a commercial setting, they’re usually quite large, to the extent of filling one or all the walls of a room.
In fact, they aren’t usually very small as they have to be made with two large or medium-sized mirrors. We’d advise exploring the non-reversing mirrors available online to develop an idea about how they look and the size and shape that will be ideal for your needs.
When were mirrors invented?
Note that some archetypes of mirrors are known to be more than 6,000 years old, though the earliest known mirror was created by Justus von Liebig in 1835.
Furthermore, mirrors are known to have been made using different materials in different regions of the world. While ancient Egyptians made them from polished copper, the Chinese created them using metal alloys and polished bronze. In South and Central America, polished stone mirrors are known to be the earliest forms.
What is an over-the-door mirror?
Over-the-door mirrors are generally used in a setting with limited space and are quite simple to install. All you need to do is fix some hooks to its backside and then hang it over a door without using any extra hardware.
Plus, these mirrors are quite easy to use and don’t leave any mark on the door over which they’re used.
Can mirrors aid plant growth?
Yes, mirrors can sometimes be used to enhance light availability in the shaded areas of a garden, which can help more plants grow in those areas. They work by reflecting the light available to make certain spots brighter, nourishing plants that aren’t getting the required sunlight.