I read in your pages a few weeks ago about the Neo-Deco trend; I know there's a lot of new-wave glamour around, but what does it mean and how can I introduce it without having to start all over again? I already have a few ornate, engraved-edge mirrors and I'd like them to be more visible in my apartment. It's small but flooded with light and it seems a shame not to make the most of that.
The Art Deco period produced so many enduring classics that can be easily adapted for modern day use with a little clever thinking and some imagination. For instance, I found a great 1930s mirrored sideboard that I adapted to house a basin with space beneath, as I like to have plenty of storage in my bathroom. The other great thing about the Deco days is that the look was intrinsically - you could say self-consciously - modern and thus the look and all its charms are easy to find.
The cornerstone of Deco glamour is shine and sparkle, monochrome, curved edges combined with sleek geometrics, and witty, interesting details. It's at once cool and comforting, warm and glossy. Keep surfaces shiny. Glass is paramount and, by extension, Perspex. Brushed steel, polished chrome and every other shimmery surface right through to mother-of-pearl all look old yet modern, which is exactly the look you want. Zara Home has plenty of mother-of-pearl tabletop accessories.
Make the most of mirrors. Move your mirrors to centre stage - and remember that they needn't be arranged just by their function. Consider leaning them against walls or placing them on the floor. Use mirrors wherever possible, from stand-alone mirrors to mirrored furniture - they look grand in just the right way and always imply modern. Mirrored surfaces are also good for adding a sense of space to a room naturally lacking in it. If your home is already light-filled, even better - and if not, the mirrors will bounce around what light you do have. As much as I'd almost say you can never have too many mirrors, you can also get the effect with just a subtle touch here and there - a couple of mirrored photo frames, a mirrored candleholder or even Venetian-style coasters.
Add a splash of colour. Don't be afraid of surprising jolts of colour but add them wisely. The overall background effect of this look should be soft, which means choosing a base of neutral shades (I love taupe, grey-beige, and oyster pinks). A touch of colour can make you notice everything a little more - the key is to use it in measured doses. Chartreuse green, deep pink and navy blue all look glamorous but sober enough not to seem camp or crazy.
Go monochrome. Black and white always looks smart and fits this the trend perfectly. A chequerboard effect is gorgeous - and if you can't have the classic chequerboard floor, mimic it with the soft furnishings you choose, working with what you've already got. If you have a white or pale sofa, choose chocolate brown or black cushions and throws. If you have dark wood or lacquered-effect furniture, choose pale - white, cream or beige - accessories to sit on dining and coffee tables.
Pattern in surprising places. A quirkily detailed cushion or throw can be all the detail that you need - the Deco decorators loved interesting, intriguing eye-catchers, with feathers and geometric designs being favourites. Being as concerned with and adoring of modernity as they were, I think they would have appreciated that the best way to honour the look they pioneered would be to apply a shiny new edge using the best of the pieces we can find today.
Emily Davies was talking to Nina Campbell, an interior designer and author. www.ninacampbell.com.