Backlit vs. Front-Lit Mirror Style: Which One Is Better?

Backlit vs. Front-Lit Mirror Style: Which One Is Better?

Discover the differences between backlit and front-lit mirrors. Learn about their lighting sources, installation process, costs, and benefits. Choose the perfect mirror type for your needs!

Backlit vs. Front-lit Mirrors Comparison

Feature Backlit Mirrors Front-lit Mirrors
Light Source Lighting behind the mirror Lighting fixtures positioned in front of the mirror
Lighting Effect Soft, even glow across the surface More direct, focused lighting effect
Installation Built into the wall with integrated wiring Mounted onto the wall with external lighting fixtures
Cost Typically higher due to complex installation Usually less due to external lighting
Benefits Stylish, uniform lighting; integrated modern look; great for sleek, contemporary spaces Affordable, easy to install and adjust; good for budget-conscious projects
Recommendations Best for upscale contemporary aesthetic Provides better value for more varied lighting needs


Mirrors are a popular choice for home décor and design. Their reflective surfaces can make spaces seem larger and brighter. Two styles that have become trendy options are backlit mirrors and front-lit mirrors. Both provide great illumination for optimal use, but they work differently. This article will compare the key differences between backlit and front-lit mirrors. It will cover their lighting sources, installation, costs, benefits, and best uses to help readers choose the right mirror type for their needs. The goal is to outline the advantages of each mirror style so readers can determine which fits best for their next mirror purchase and installation.

What Are the Differences Between Backlit and Front-Lit Mirrors?

Light Source

One major difference between backlit and front-lit mirrors is the location of the light source. Backlit mirrors have lighting behind them mirror. The light illuminates through the mirror to create a soft, even glow across the surface.

Front-lit mirrors have lighting fixtures positioned in front of the mirror surface. This directs light specifically onto the mirror. The lighting effect is more direct than a backlit mirror's dispersed glow.

Lighting Effect

The lighting effect also varies between backlit and front-lit mirrors based on the placement of the light source. Backlit mirrors emit an even illumination across the entire surface. The glow is soft and dispersed. This creates a subtle ambient effect.

Front-lit mirrors have a more focused, directed lighting effect. The light shines on the mirror surface from specific fixture points. This creates a more dramatic illumination, with harder shadows and highlights. The light is concentrated into particular zones rather than being evenly dispersed.

You may are interested in How Do Bathroom Mirrors With LED Lights Work?


The installation process differs between backlit and front-lit mirrors as well. Backlit mirrors are built into the wall behind them. The wiring and lighting are integrated during the construction phase. The mirror fits over the backlight source to diffuse the illumination.

Front-lit mirrors are mounted onto the wall surface. The lighting fixtures are then attached to the frame or directly onto the mirror. This makes front-lit mirrors easier to install after construction. The lighting can also be adjusted as needed.

Related installation tips of shower screen: How to Fit a Glass Shower Screen in Australian Homes?


Due to the more complex installation, backlit mirrors typically cost more upfront. The construction integration and hidden wiring raise the price. Backlighting is better suited for larger mirrors and more sophisticated spaces.

Front-lit mirrors usually cost less overall. Since the lights mount externally, the fixtures are easy to add. This makes front-lit mirrors a more budget-friendly option. The style also allows more flexibility to use affordable lights.

New direction of attention: What Are the Benefits of the LED Light Bathroom Mirror With Bluetooth Audio

LED Light Bathroom Mirrors collection from ELEGANTSHOWERS

Backlit Mirror Benefits

While pricier, backlit mirrors provide some distinct advantages. Here are some of the major benefits of backlit mirrors:

  • Stylish, Uniform Lighting - The diffuse backlight creates a clean, uniform glow across the mirror. This looks great in contemporary, minimalist spaces.
  • Integrated, Modern Look - With the lighting built-in behind the mirror, backlit styles have a streamlined modern aesthetic. They do not require visible external fixtures.
  • Great for Sleek, Contemporary Spaces - The soft glow and integrated lighting make backlit mirrors ideal for slick, polished rooms. They enhance the contemporary vibe.

Overall, backlit mirrors provide more ambient illumination, perfect for modern, elegant spaces. The subtle glow aligns with classy, upscale décor.

Front-lit Mirror Benefits

Front-lit mirrors offer their advantages as well:

  • More Affordable Upfront Cost - Without integrated lighting, front-lit mirrors cost less to purchase and install initially. This makes them a budget-friendly choice.
  • Easy to Install and Adjust - The external light fixtures mount easily on the mirror surface. Their positioning can be modified as needed.
  • Good for More Budget-Conscious Projects - The lower price point makes front-lit mirrors a smart choice for more value-driven designs. They provide great lighting for less.

Front-lit mirrors work well for more casual, eclectic spaces where adjustable directional lighting is preferred. They offer flexibility and affordability.

Silver Shower Screens collection from ELEGANTSHOWERS

Recommendations for Backlit and Front-Lit Mirrors

Based on their different qualities and lighting effects, here are some recommendations for selecting between backlit and front-lit mirrors:

  • Backlit for Sophisticated Look - Backlit mirrors are the best choice for an upscale contemporary aesthetic. Their integrated glow enhances the ambiance.
  • Front-lit for Cost-Effectiveness - If price is a concern or the space will use more varied lighting, front-lit mirrors provide better value.
  • Professional Input for Install - Both mirror types require precise installation. Seek expert input to ensure proper wiring and placement.

Consider the lighting needs' overall look, budget, and complexity before deciding between backlit or front-lit mirrors. This will help match the mirror style to the space.

Related info: How to Choose the Right Mirror Shape for Your Bathroom?

Mirror Placement Tips

Proper mirror placement is crucial for functionality and visual appeal. Here are some top tips for positioning mirrors in the home:

  • Height - Place mirrors about eye level for the primary users. Center the mirror about 58-62 inches from the floor.
  • Position - Facing windows is ideal to reflect light. Also, consider the focal point and usage of the room.
  • Angle - Aim for slightly tilted angles rather than completely straight. Angled mirrors are more dynamic.
  • Coordinating with Other Fixtures - Position mirrors to complement light fixtures and other features. Create an integrated look.

Location Recommendations:

  • Entryways - Create an open, inviting effect upon entering.
  • Living Spaces - Use subtly to brighten the room without overpowering.
  • Bathrooms - Illuminate key areas over sinks and grooming stations.
  • Bedrooms - Add depth and amplify natural light from windows.

Careful mirror placement completes the look and functionality of the chosen mirror style. Consider sight lines, coordinating design elements, and usage needs when positioning mirrors.

Framed Shower Screens collection from ELEGANTSHOWERS


Backlit and front-lit mirrors each offer unique advantages. Backlit mirrors project soft, even illumination for a sleek, contemporary look. Front-lit mirrors provide more directed lighting at a lower cost.

Key differences include the internal vs. external light source and the diffuse vs. directed lighting effect. When selecting a new mirror, consider the aesthetic style, budget, and ease of installation for lighting needs. Seek professional guidance for proper wiring and placement to maximize the impact.

With strategic positioning and the right mirror type for the space, both backlit and front-lit mirrors can become beautiful, functional focal points in any home's décor. Use these insights to choose between the glow of backlighting or the brilliance of front lighting.

Read More