Design Inspo

How To Hang a Mirror Perfectly Every Time: Step by Step

Hanging a mirror (even a heavy one) isn’t hard. With a few tools and a little know-how, discover how to hang a mirror perfectly every time!

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Once a prized possession, mirrors are a favorite interior design wall feature, especially when they are large enough to create a feeling of open space. 

Don’t let the size or prominence of your new mirror discourage you from hanging it yourself; This is one home improvement project you can definitely tackle on your own. Forewarning: If it is a particularly large mirror, grab a friend and follow these steps to get it right every time!

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The Right Hardware for a Heavy Mirror

Before doing anything else, check the mirror’s weight and what type of wall it will hang from. 

If you just bought a new mirror, look at the packaging. If you purchased the mirror from an antique store, you’ll need to be more creative. Hold the mirror while standing on a bathroom scale and subtract your weight from that number. Heavy mirrors might require a hanger or wall anchor to accommodate the weight and wall type.

When it comes to wall type, it can be tricky to tell the difference between drywall and plaster. Try pushing a thumbtack into the wall; if it slips in easily, you probably have drywall. 

Whether you have plaster or drywall, you can use a stud finder to locate the wall stud nearest to the area where you’d like your mirror to hang. Studs provide extra support, but if yours isn’t located precisely where you want your mirror, don’t sweat it. You can find wall anchors for any type of wall at your hardware store; just make sure they are rated to support the mirror’s weight. 

It’s generally wise to get a heavy-duty anchor rather than rely on the cheaper hardware that comes with the mirror. For example, toggle bolts work best to hang heavy pictures or other decorative objects on plaster walls.

Once you drill the hole and insert them, they open up behind the wall and form an anchor. For drywall, self-drilling anchors work well because they don’t flex as easily as flimsy plastic drywall anchors and don’t require a pilot hole. 

Hanging in Drywall

Before we go any further, let’s review how to drill into drywall:

Use a screwdriver to screw your drywall anchor into the sheetrock. Make sure the edge doesn’t stick out from the wall. Once it’s set, it will be the hole you drill your screws into. Voila! It’s that simple as long as you know where you want to hang the mirror.


Visualize Your Wall Mirror

More steps? We know!

It seems tedious to hang a practice outline on the wall when you want this beautiful mirror up immediately, especially if it is a small mirror and hanging it seems like a snap. But you don’t want extra holes in the wall, and sometimes it’s good to get a visual before you commit to installing a piece. 

Painter’s Tape Outline

Use painter’s tape cut to the exact dimensions of your mirror to create an outline for you to practice the height and placement of your mirror. Nothing’s worse than getting a heavy mirror on the wall and then realizing it’s a few inches too high for your tastes (and eyes). So sit with this a bit and see if it feels right. 

Line of Sight

Proper mirror height is individual, but when mirrors are too high on a wall, they can feel detached from the rest of the room. You won’t get the benefit of the illusion of additional vertical space because you won’t easily be able to see it. Most people hang their mirrors between 54 and 57 inches from the floor or a comfortable line of sight. 

Adjust for Seating

Some designers like to place mirrors so that they’re at eye level when guests are seated. In this case, the line of sight should be lower. Hanging a mirror lower creates a feeling of intimacy. 

When contemplating this placement, think about what will be reflected on the mirror's surface. Possible reflections may influence where you want to hang it. Some people love the idea of a makeshift makeup table, while others don’t want to look up from a long nap only to startle at their own reflection. 

We recommend using Spoak’s online visualization tool to experiment with the placement of your mirror and other art. Spoak’s interior design suite helps you make beautiful plans that account for everything, including how the mirror’s dimensions and colors will impact the rest of the space. 


Hanging Mirrors By Type

Dining room designed in Spoak by Kaitlyn Rowsey

Now, you’re ready to mark your wall and install your hardware. Follow these directions based on your mirror’s type of fastener and mounting hardware. 

D-Ring Hangers

Before you begin marking where your mirror will hang on the wall, use your measuring tape to see if the D-rings on the back are equidistant from your mirror’s top edge. If one is higher than the other, your mirror will hang crooked unless you adjust for it.

Measure the distance from the top of one D-ring fastener to the top edge of the mirror on that side. Bring your tape measure to the wall. Measure the same distance down from the top of the mirror mark: This is the height for your fasteners.

Run a piece of painter’s tape along the back of your mirror over the D-Rings (flip them up). Use your pencil to mark the inside of the D-ring on each side. Also, measure and mark the mirror's center on the tape: This is your D-ring drilling template. 

Bring your template tape to the wall and line up the top of the mirror mark with the center of the D-ring template. Use a level to adjust it until the edge of the template tape is level. Drill your holes through the drill hole markings, remove the tape, insert your toggles or wall anchors, and voila! Your mirror should sit level.

The above is the same method you would use for heavy-duty command strips (for renters) and sawtooth picture hangers. 

Hanging Wire

To use a hanging wire, first, wrap your wire tightly around the D-rings on the back of your mirror and twist them to secure it, making sure it is taut enough that both wire and wall hooks will not be exposed above the mirror frame when it is hanging. For a mirror, you may want to use two wall hooks to evenly distribute the weight of the mirror. 

Have a friend hold your mirror by the wire using two hands to spread it taut. Measure the distance between the wire and the top of the mirror and between your friend’s hands for your picture hook marks. Bring your tape measure back to the wall and measure down from the top of the mirror. Mark the same distance from the mirror’s edge to the wire and note it with a pencil stroke on the wall. 

Take the distance you measured between your friend’s hands and half it. Use this number to measure this distance outward on each side of the pencil line and make an “X” at each place. The Xs are your picture hook marks. Use a level to adjust their height until they are straight, then attach your screws or anchors according to the hardware instructions. 

French Cleat

The French cleat is an extra secure way to hang a heavy mirror. It has two parts: one for your frame and one for the wall. Attach one side of the frame piece, with the lip pointed down, to the top of your mirror frame using the screws provided. Use a level to find the correct position for the other side of the frame piece so that it sits straight across the back of the frame. 

Measure the distance from the top of the mirror to the bottom of the lip. Take this measurement to the wall and measure this distance down from your top of the mirror mark and make an “X” there.

Draw a six-inch line through this, keeping the X in the center of the line. Align the top of your cleat’s wall piece with this line, lip facing upward, and check it with your level before you mark the drill holes with your pencil. 

Attach your screws or anchors according to package directions, and half of your mirror frame should slip over your wall cleat piece for a flawless, level fit.

Frameless Mirror (for Bathroom Mirrors)

Frameless mirrors are often chosen for a sleek bathroom wall, especially if you want to avoid drilling into a tile wall. Apply a construction-grade adhesive meant for your mirror’s weight limit to both mirror and wall with a foam roller.

Press your mirror into it and keep it fixed to the wall with heavy masking tape as it dries. Once dry, remove the tape and enjoy the reflection of a successful DIY-er.


Reflect on Your DIY Skills 

Just like that, your DIY mentality got you through the project! Your mirror is now hanging and beautifying your space, but don’t stop learning to do these things for yourself. 

Photo Credit: (Left) BHG

Sources:

The Rise of the Mirror as Commonplace | Brown University

Do’s and don’ts for hanging your mirrors and artwork | The Seattle Times

Everyone Is Buying Mirrors Right Now — But Why? | Vogue

Best Cleat Hangers for Displaying Artworks | ARTnews

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Date Posted
February 5, 2023
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