How to Hang a Mirror

Decorating with wall mirrors is a great way to make your child's room feel bigger and brighter, but there are specific steps to take when hanging mirrors to ensure they don't get damaged during or after installation. To help you install a mirror quickly and safely, we at Pottery Barn Kids have created this step-by-step guide to hanging mirrors.

Materials You'll Need

  • Mirror
  • Masking Tape
  • Paper or cardboard
  • J brackets (for frameless mirrors)
  • Wood screws
  • Hollow-wall anchors (optional, for plaster or drywall)
  • Masonry anchors (optional, for brick or concrete walls)

Tools You'll Need

  • Stud finder
  • Pencil
  • Measuring tape
  • Drill and drill bits
  • Level
  • Yardstick

Mirror Placement

The first thing you'll need to do is choose a place for the mirror. Doing so will help you determine what kind of hanging hardware you'll need. A heavy mirror placed above a changing table, for instance, will require sturdier hardware than a small frameless mirror used as part of a gallery wall. When choosing a spot for the mirror, think about what you want the mirror to accomplish. Is it meant to be functional or decorative? A few good places to hang mirrors in nurseries and children's rooms are over dressers, behind doors and above hanging shelves. You could also mount a mirror low on the wall in your child's play area to promote self-exploration.

Steps for Hanging

Follow the steps below to hang your mirror.

1. Hold the mirror against the wall. Depending on the size of the mirror you're hanging, you may need a friend or family member to help you with this step. Holding the mirror up to the wall will help you visualize its final placement.

2. Mark the placement of the mirror.While still holding the mirror up against the wall, use your pencil or some masking tape to mark the exact placement of the mirror. Alternatively, you can use a paper or cardboard cutout of the mirror to mark its place.

3. Find a stud.If the mirror is heavy, hanging it on a wall stud will ensure the piece stays in place. Studs are wooden beams that provide extra support for drywall and plaster walls. They are spaced either 16 or 24 inches apart along the wall and run from floor to ceiling. Use a stud finder to locate a stud in the wall. If you don't have a stud finder, you can try locating a stud by knocking on the wall and listening for a solid (as opposed to hollow) sound.

4. Make sure the wall is flat.Hanging a mirror on an uneven or bumpy wall can cause a mirror to wobble or crack. Before fastening your hanging hardware to the wall, use your yard stick to test the wall for flatness. If the yardstick wobbles, you'll need to either sand down any bumps in the wall or choose a more appropriate place to hang the mirror.

5. Mark the bottom edge of the mirror.Hold your level under the bottom edge of the mirror to mark its position. Holding the level in place, set the mirror down and draw a straight line along the top of the level.

6. Measure the distance from the bottom edge of the mirror to the hanging point (framed mirrors).Framed mirrors usually have one or two hanging points on the back. Use a tape measure to determine the distance from the mirror's bottom edge to the hanging hooks on the back of the mirror.

7. Mark the hanging point on the wall (framed mirrors).Using your tape measure, mark the hanging point, or points, on the wall, measuring up from the line you drew to mark the mirror's bottom edge. Draw a second horizontal line to indicate the hanging point.

8. Mark the sides of the mirror (frameless mirrors). Using the same method as in step 5, mark the sides of the mirror. These markings should run vertically, at a right angle to the horizontal line you drew in step 5.

9. Install the hardware. Once your mirror placement and hanging points have been determined, you can start installing your hardware. The type of hardware you use will depend on the weight of the mirror and whether or not it is framed. Wood screws work best for framed mirrors, while J brackets are perfect for hanging heavy, frameless mirrors. Use wall anchors to install the hardware if no studs are available.

10. Hang the mirror. Hang the mirror up on the wall and use your level to make sure it's straight. If there are no adjustments to be made, you're all done!

Safety Tips

  • Weigh the mirror before hanging it to ensure the wall and hardware can support its weight.
  • Always seek the help of a second person when hanging heavy mirrors.
  • Whenever possible, hang mirrors on studs. Mirrors hung on drywall or plaster are at risk of falling and breaking.
  • To avoid injury, follow the manufacturer's directions for hanging the mirror.

Hanging a mirror isn't complicated if you use the right tools and techniques. Follow the simple steps above to avoid error and injury when mounting your mirror.

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