I adore the look of big, glamorous mirrors. How can I use them to make more of my home as well as making the most of how they look in their own right? Mirrors are fantastic for their ability to be both highly functional and highly decorative. They can add glamour and modernity to any style and size of home, yet their overall cool neutrality and lack of colour can tone down their excessive, extravagant aspect. It's surprising how well some very decorative styles of mirror work in the most spartan, simple apartments: they have the potential to work well in every kind of home. You just need to decide how many you want and what kind of effect you'd like, from subtle to dramatic.
Scale is all-important. Something huge is often tempting, and is indeed often the best choice, but always think carefully about size and shape - if you are positioning your mirror above a specific area or item, such as on a landing wall or above a fireplace, be sure it's not going to overpower the other elements. Of course, something oversized can also work in your favour - a great mirror can be a real showstopper and an effective distraction.
Be bold. A mirror allows you the opportunity to be a little more dramatic. I love the quirky sophistication of 1930s Hollywood glamour, which is deliberately modernist and takes inspiration from an international blend of cultures and design. To me it means lots of strong geometric shapes that work as well in private homes as in hotels and on film sets. The gilt-edged Art Deco sunburst-style mirrors are potentially overpowering but they look wonderful on most walls and are an elegant way to introduce a vintage feel to a modern home.
More than glass. Think about the frame too - wood and lacquer look great in metal-leaf and paint finishes, from a glossy black to a bold colour or a glitzy metallic. And consider details on the glass, for instance, bevelled or not? Convex mirrors are having a comeback too, particularly in rounded, highly decorative frames. Beyond walls. Mirrors can look fantastic on the floor and displaying large-scale mirrors by simply propping them on the ground against a wall removes a degree of grandeur, if that is something you're concerned about. It's a good way to make the more decorative and imposing mirrors look a little more modern. Also think about placing it casually behind a vase of flowers or any objects you have arranged decoratively on a side or console table. This works particularly well in hallways and landings.
An extra window. Of course, mirrors give light but a little-known yet great tip is that in a flat with space but little light, a mirror can act as a window. Mirrors also work well with existing windows - if there are two windows with an empty area between them, consider filling the gap with a mirror of similar size and shape. You'll find that it will dramatically reflect the light that does come in during the day and at night will come into its own as a decorative piece.
Time to reflect. Consider what you place directly opposite the mirror - hang a favourite painting or place a favoured object on the same level facing the mirror and you'll instantly be able to see it wherever you are in the room. Think about night-time too: candlelight is even more magical when reflected, so consider having a mirror close to where you entertain. Of course, there's nothing stopping you from moving a mirror around to suit your purpose temporarily.
Think about shapes. An angular mirror could look even more different from a curved-edge, soft and feminine mirror once it's out of the showroom and in your flat. And the bigger the size, the more cautious you should be: go for the simplest possible design. Emily Davies was speaking to Marco Colacicco, the director at Christopher Guy.