Mirror vs Medicine Cabinet, which to choose?

enduringMarch 8, 2012

I would like to hang a nice mirror over my planned

vanity in my planned BR remodel. Do those of you

who have changed out from a medicine cabinet to

just a mirror miss your cabinet? I will have some

storage nearby, but not in the narrow format like

the medicine cabinet.

If I go with a mirror I want it to be able to tolerate

damp conditions and have a quality chrome trim.

It can be framed or unframed.

If I go with a cabinet I plan to go with a recessed one.

I want a cabinet with a quality chrome finish/trim, or

painted wood in a shaker style. I want the mirror

framed to keep hands off the edge of the mirror while


Any opinions of mirror vs cabinet would be helpful.

Any recommendations for brands would be appreciated.

Thanks for your time and thoughts.

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Will you have any drawers in your vanity?

I don't have a medicine cabinet and I don't miss one. But I have a vanity with a couple of drawers plus a large linen closet.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:38PM
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We found this recessed, mirrored medicine cabinet and installed it when updating a bathroom two years ago. We kept the existing vanity which has no drawers. The bathroom is for guests and I have it filled with things they might need, from asprin to toothbrushes with bandaids and shampoo in between. I have to tell first-time visitors as unless one knows it is a medicine cabinet, they have no idea.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2012 at 9:48PM
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Flicka001, Thanks for the reassurance. I will have 2 or more tiny recessed drawers on either side of my vanity. But I didn't know if that would be inconvenient for thinks that go into the medicine cabinet. I don't want the drawers to be a dumping ground for things then having to rifle through them to find a bandaid for example. I have a built in wall cupboard nearby that I could out fit with rollout shelves to handle these small items and the items that need to be up out of the way from guest, children, etc.

Fnmroberts, Thanks for the picture. something like that might work. It is very pretty in you bathroom. Off topic, what color floor do you have? And what color is you paint. I think I've settled on a paint color but yours is a pretty gray/blue. I am trying for a gray/periwinkle and think I have found it.

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 7:24AM
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This cabinet gives us the best of both worlds. And I agree, there are daily use things for which a cabinet is superior to a drawer - like a wet tooth brush.

Our wall color is C2, Monday Morning. Yes it is blue toned rather than red. The floor was changed to marble tile in gray with rust intrusions.

Below is a link to the room album.

Here is a link that might be useful: Guest Bathroom

    Bookmark   March 9, 2012 at 8:16AM
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I'm facing the same issue - keep function of medicine cabinet (tripl) or go with pretty mirror. I'm not finding any pretty medicine cabinets.

fnroberts -where did you get your medicine cabinet. Does it come in a larger size for a 48" vanity? Your bathroom is a great example of a nice upgrade without spending a fortune on tiled showers and walls. Looks great!


    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 11:57AM
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fnmroberts , thanks for the link and follow up. I am going to keep my hopes up for finding a medicine cab that will meet my design needs. Your cabinet looks very nice as does your bath update.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 12:11PM
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tuesday_2008 - Thank you. My DH keeps track of update costs! For everything we did, including new towels, just under $2400. And it was his idea. Should I say I wanted the old wall paper removed and the room painted and he said he wouldn't do anything unless the sheetgood flooring was replaced. Everything was DIY except installing the floor tile.

Our medicine cabinet was on close-out at a local bath shop. It's a Broan and measures 24 x 30. I've seen similar at Home Depot but not a triple - haven't seen one that large in years.

enduring - hope you find something that works for you.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:06PM
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We are getting ready to install our recessed medicine cabinet. I have a vanity with 2 drawers and a closet for towels, but I felt it was necessary to have to recessed cabinets for additional storage. I think it was the right decision because it looks just like a regular mirror, which was in my original plan. Here is a link to to our Kohler recessed medicine cabinet.


I will post pictures once we have ours installed.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 9:29PM
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Rufinorox, thanks for the Lowes link, I looked at a few on their site. I need to see a few in person. Looking forward to seeing the cabinet installed in you BR.

Fnmroberts, thanks for the info and encouragement on my search.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 8:32AM
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fnmroberts, I'm going to have envy dreams about that floor.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2012 at 2:26PM
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Enduring - I posted a post on my bath renovation . If you can't find link I will post image later today. I love it!!

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 7:53AM
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hosenemesis - I'm so pleased how that floor looks too. When it was first completed I would sometimes just stand in the hall to stare at it. Once in a while things just come together like you hope. Thanks for your endorsement.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 9:47AM
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I would put a nice mirror I personally hate the look of medicine cabinets I have only seen a few that look good and fnmroberts is one I like. But if you decide to put a medicine cabinet, recessed is the only way to go.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:49AM
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here is the Kohler medicine cabinet we installed. I love it - it has a ton of storage without the look of a medicine cabinet.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 5:48PM
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fnmroberts - I noticed your hand towel holder. Where did you get that? I could use that on one of my bare walls by the sink.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 9:52PM
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You are all very helpful, thanks.

Rufinorox, very nice cabinet, and it is very roomy. I am leaning towards a recessed cabinet. Thanks so much for taking the time to post your pictures.

Smcox1, thanks for your input. I like the recessed ones the best too. A lovely mirror would be wonderful but I think I am wanting the convenience of the shallow cabinet above the sink. My choice is a few months out. We'll see what happens when the time comes :)

    Bookmark   March 12, 2012 at 10:03PM
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rufinorox - Nice looking beveled glass cabinet. You should be very pleased with the overall update. We are in the beginnings of a facelift to our master and planning for a similar look by using a beveled mirror across a double vanity.

The towel holder is simply a robe hook from the same collection as the towel bars. We found ours at Pottery Barn but most collections have something similar. Some even have really large ones termed "harness hooks" to use in lieu of towel bars.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 6:42AM
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Thanks! I didn't even think of that. I''ll have to take a look for it.

    Bookmark   March 13, 2012 at 9:01AM
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