A medicine cabinet is a bathroom accessory that is generally thought of in strictly practical terms, but a stylish medicine cabinet can make a huge difference in the overall look of your bathroom. 


Installing a new medicine cabinet is a simple change that can quickly change the feel of your bathroom. Stylistically, they range from simple rectangular mirrors, oval shaped medicine cabinets, corner medicine cabinets, and even vintage and antique medicine cabinets. If you decide to go the vintage route, just make sure it's workable, and you can still use the mirror practically and functionally.


A surface-mount medicine cabinet is probably the easiest style of medicine cabinet to install. Most varieties are simply hung on the wall like a picture frame. These are available in a variety of depths, although most tend to average around 4 inches.  A recessed medicine cabinet means that it's installed by a hole cut into the bathroom wall, so the mirror sits at almost the same level as the wall. Unless you're replacing an old recessed cabinet, this can require a lot more work. However, it is a clean and custom look that can add a bit of a high-end value to your bathroom. If you're cutting a new hole to put in a recessed cabinet, make sure you check behind the drywall before purchasing a cabinet, just to make sure that no ductwork and plumbing are blocking the space.  Corner medicine cabinets are great alternatives for bathrooms or powder rooms that are a bit on the small side. They use space efficiently, and still allow for wall space, if needed.  Tri-view medicine cabinets have three mirrored panels. In some, the center is just a decorative mirror while the other two panels swing or slide open. In other models, all three sections open for storage. 


Once you've decided the type of medicine cabinet that'll work best for your bathroom, it's time to figure out which features are on your must have list. Are you looking for something that's purely decorative? Or are there a few functional add-ons that you need as well? Some medicine cabinets come with hinged doors, while others slide. Some have fixed shelving, while others have adjustable shelves. Consider who is going to be using this bathroom the most, and determine what features are going to benefit them. 

For surface-mount cabinets, you can often opt for a stylish trim that goes around the edges of the base. Treated wood, plastic, aluminum, or metal with an enamel finish are all great options. 

Lighting is another consideration. Many recessed cabinets come with built-in lighting already installed. Think about what kind of lighting is going to be the most flattering and the most useful. Fog-proof mirrors are another handy feature that can prevent those grimy watermarks.


Make sure to take both your wall size and your vanity or sink size into account. Take out a tape measure and measure both to help you figure out what size medicine cabinet won't end up looking too big or too small for the space. Make sure you pay attention to outlets, windows, or any other wall features, so your new medicine cabinet won't block any of them. If you're worried about if your measurements were correct, simply cut out a piece of paper in the size you're considering, and put it on the wall in your bathroom to get a better idea of how the cabinet will look.