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How Does A Two Way Mirror Work?

Two Way Mirrors are very interesting for many reasons!

Two Way Mirrors, also known as one way mirrors, are commonly used for observation rooms, which are rooms that you happen to see on crime dramas where a suspect is being interrogated, and observers are watching from a different room without the suspect knowing.

So, how does a two way mirror work?

Glass Two Way Mirror

Home Privacy


They are also used for home privacy. You can install a two way mirror or apply mirror film to help create more privacy in your own house.

Infinity Mirrors

You can also use two way mirrors to create infinity mirrors, which are really unique mirrors that add a mysterious, science fiction vibe in any location.

Infinity mirror dress

Pepper’s ghost Illusions

Pepper’s ghost Illusion Demonstration

They are also used to illustrate pepper’s ghost illusions, which is where you can use the reflection of the mirror to create a “ghost-like” appearance on camera.

Hidden Televisions

Hidden TVs also use two way mirrors because when you turn the TV on, you have a perfect view. Then, when you turn it off, all you see is a mirror. There are many ways you can put a two way mirror to use!

Let’s Start with the Observation Room (How a Two Way Mirror Works)

Going back to pop culture, have you ever seen a crime drama where a detective is interrogating a suspect, while others watch behind a window without the suspect knowing, because to them, all they see a mirror? If not, the embedded video is a great example of an Observation Room! 

The effect is created with a two way mirror by illuminating the suspect side, while decreasing the light on the observation side. That makes it easy to see through from one side, and impossible from the other. In addition, the mirror side is highly reflective and the non-mirror side acts as an “interference” layer that eliminates the glare that would ordinarily be caused by the mirror coating.

Two Way Mirror Observation Side
Observation side of a two way mirror.
Two Way Mirror Reflection Side
Reflective side of a two way mirror.

A glass two way mirror is 70% reflective, and 11% transparent for optimal privacy. It is flatter than acrylic, and durable. Since one side is transparent, you can see through it while the other side looks like a regular, reflective mirror. The privacy can be further enhanced by applying a semi-opaque window tint to the glass side.

An air gap can be created between two panes to prevent sound from getting through. This is ideal for observation rooms and areas near loud traffic and airports.

There you have it! Now you know how a Two Way Mirror works!  Have you ever noticed a Two Way Mirror? Tell us where in the comments!

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