Why Are Mirrors So Expensive? (Find Out Now!)

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Mirror, mirror, on the wall, who’s the priciest of them all? If you take a look at how expensive mirrors can be, it can be a fairly shocking experience. I mean, a mirror alone can be fairly cheap, especially if you get one of those discount mirrors from the Home Depot. But, what about those luxury mirrors? Why are they so expensive?

Mirrors themselves are not always expensive, since manufacturing methods have offered easier (but less durable) ways to create them. However, upscale mirrors can be expensive as a result of the frame they have as well as the ultra-low expansion glass they are made from.

If you are in the market for a new mirror, you might be shocked to find out how much you might need to spend on a new one. Is it worth splurging? When is it a good idea? Let’s take a closer look at it all.

How Much Should You Expect To Pay For A Mirror?

This depends on the quality of the mirror that you want as well as the type.

The lightweight mirrors that you see on discount piles in hardware stores generally are not going to be high quality. You can find full-length mirrors for as little as $7 to $25 if they are made of low-end materials. These tend to warp and fade quickly. We do not suggest them.

A high-quality mirror with a frame can easily exceed $150 to $300 or more, especially if you want to have a nice frame attached to it. If you want to have an ultra-high quality mirror that covers an entire wall, you may need to pay as much as $1000 or more.

Another option you might consider is getting a smart mirror. If you want to have a smart mirror, expect to pay between $150 to $1,500.

Why Are Good Mirrors So Expensive?

Obviously, there is a noticeable difference between good mirrors and bad mirrors. It’s best to make sure that you get a high-quality mirror. This means that you will have to splurge. Here’s what you’re paying for:

  • The glass on expensive mirrors is made from ultra-low expansion glass. Mirror glass tends to warp and expand when it’s not made from high-quality glass. Ultra-low expansion glass is expensive to make and also isn’t easy. This is the biggest portion of your mirror’s pricing.
  • High-quality cuts also matter. A chipped mirror can ruin it for good. You have to pay for good cut, especially if it’s a custom-cut mirror. Much like with most other major crafts, you’re paying for the skill of the people who make those mirrors.
  • Then, there’s also the framing that you have to consider. Those beautiful wooden frames tend to cost a lot because they tend to require careful woodworking and a nice finish. Moreover, the frames on a good mirror also tend to require sturdiness. After all, it’s the mirror’s backing.
  • The polishing and silvering process can also take a lot of time and effort. Well polished mirrors won’t get black spots on the bottom. This is why it’s worth paying the extra fees for it.
  • Though rare, some people also will pay extra for a famous brand. Yes, it’s true. There are artisan mirror makers out there. This tends to be more of a trend among people who want to have future antiques and heirloom items.
  • Finally, you might also end up paying extra for add-ons. Mirrors aren’t just framed glass anymore. They could come with a magnifier, a backlight, and maybe a little “smart home” action too. Depending on what amenities you want, the price of the mirror you want can balloon.

Is Buying An Expensive Mirror Worth It?

Absolutely, without a doubt. A cheap mirror will break and crack quickly. It also has a tendency to have a “funhouse” effect because it won’t stay on your wall in a straight manner. Since most people do not want to have a mirror that doesn’t give them an accurate depiction of themselves, cheap mirrors are basically useless.

Moreover, an expensive mirror is one that can easily last for a hundred years or more before it needs to be replaced—provided it’s not a smart mirror. I’m not sure that most people would want to have a smart mirror for 100 years, but it’d be cool either way.

How Long Can A Mirror Last?

In most cases, a high-quality mirror can last up to 100 years. However, there are still some functional (though slightly blackened) mirrors in museums that have lasted for more than 200 years. If you have a mirror that is low-quality, it will probably be able to last 15 years at most—and that’s assuming that it hasn’t chipped or broke.

There is a reason why mirrors are often considered to be family heirlooms. This is because they tend to be able to last a lifetime.

How Can You Tell If A Mirror Needs To Be Replaced?

If you notice that your mirror is starting to get black spots on it, then it is losing the silver. In most cases, you can fix this by resilvering it. However, there will be a certain point in your mirror’s lifespan where it will start happening more and more frequently. When this happens, it’s usually time to get a new mirror.

With that said, most people will never really see a mirror that needs to be replaced within their lifetimes. They tend to be replaced far before that for stylistic reasons or as a result of a room overhaul.

Can You Buy A Used Mirror Instead Of A New One?

If you don’t have much of a budget for a high-quality mirror, don’t panic. Mirrors are one of the most popular items to buy at yard sales, consignment shops, and auction houses for a reason. Unlike couches or beds, you don’t have to worry about bed bugs taking a hike on these items nor do you have to worry about them losing value.

Most mirrors are perfectly fine being resold at almost any venue. As long as they look good and happen to be sturdy, you don’t have to worry about getting your money’s worth.

Do Mirrors Hold Resale Value?

Mirrors are one of the very few pieces of basic home furniture that tends to hold their resale value very well. If you spend a lot of money on a beautiful mirror, you will be able to sell it off later at a fairly decent price. Many antique houses adore having mirrors in their collections for this reason alone.

In some rare cases, mirrors will actually become more expensive as years pass. This tends to be the case with mirrors that have historic significance, such as Marylin Monroe’s bedroom mirror or a mirror that was a part of a major movie set.

Why Are Bathroom Mirrors So Expensive?

Believe it or not, most bathroom mirrors aren’t really that high quality. While the mirror itself is usually mid-range, it’s the installation cost that can be a pretty expensive ticket. Depending on the type of mirror you buy, it can cost between $70 to $250 to install.

How Can You Tell If A Mirror Is A Good Investment?

A high-quality mirror will reflect around 90 to 95 percent of the light that hits it. It also will be perfectly flat (and not bendable) as a way to ensure that the reflection you see is as accurate as possible. Finally, it also is worth taking a look at the polishing level that you get. A good mirror is always going to have that seamless glimmer.

Related Questions

What are some of the more expensive luxury mirror brands currently in the world today?

Johnathan Adler, Boca De Loba, Philippe Stark, Brabbu, and Nella Vetrina all tend to be seen as some of the most expensive brands today. However, there are literally dozens of major fashion houses that offer mirrors at a premium price.A good rule of thumb for people who want to get the finest that money can buy is to ask an interior designer. Most interior designers have a Rolodex of names they will swear by—and trust me, the quality is always stellar.

How does a mirror’s weight influence the price of the mirror?

Mirrors are not easy to transport, especially if they are heavy. In order for a mirror to be shipped, it has to be wrapped up carefully and sent across the country. Most supply chains will charge by weight. This is also true with postal services and delivery services like UPS or DSL. As a result of transit fees, the price of the mirror might end up increasing.

What is the best thickness of mirror to use?

The best mirrors are thick mirrors. For homes, that means that you should opt for a mirror thickness that is 1/4 inch. This is usually the thickest mirror size you’ll find for a typical house mirror. In commercial settings, you might be able to get a thicker mirror. When in doubt, go for the thickest mirror you can find. They last the longest.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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