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This year, home trends are cooler, more natural

A local interior design insider says the outlook is one filled with calmer, blended colors and more elegant accessories.

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 17, 2003

ODESSA -- Considering sprucing up your place for the new year? Whether your palette is a humble one-bedroom apartment or a 6,000-square-foot waterfront house, some attractive new design trends could change the way you think about decorating in 2003.

Jay Tenuta of LaBella Interiors in Odessa says Tampa homes have a definite look of their own, blending current styles and local attitudes.

Classic designs are preferred by many Tampa residents, he says, while a contemporary, more cosmopolitan look is preferred by younger urban loft dwellers, "particularly those living in Ybor City, which has really taken hold in the last couple of years as a place to live."

Tenuta, who spent last week at the biannual International Gift and Home Furnishing Mart in Atlanta, has been mulling new directions in interior design.

Here are his top predictions for 2003.

Cool colors. If you have already invested in the West Indies, Tommy Bahama look -- as have many people in Tampa -- blend, blend, blend. Think ice blue mixed with gorgeous charcoal gray. Or how about "washed-out mint green" mixed with beautiful cocoa brown? "Gorgeous," Tenuta said.

Natural metals. Forget bright brass and copper. The new metals on lamps and accent pieces have a low-key patina.

Metal and fabric fringes. Those artsy glass beads dangling from lampshades and feathers adorning even the most frivolous accessories (including wine glass markers) won't be as prevalent this year. The look has evolved into something a bit less casual and a lot more elegant, including generous pewter beading adorning duvet covers, upholstery, and other fabrics.

Asian contemporary. Don't fill your loft exclusively with Mies van der Rohe and Charles Eames knockoffs. Use stark furnishings sparingly and as accessories, not centerpieces.

"There will be much, much more of an Asian flair in the contemporary look," Tenuta says. The color schemes will incorporate "deep, deep" cherry wood and faded-out coral colors. "We won't see the same degree of bright, contemporary orange, blues and reds. This look will be much softer," he said.

Fogged-up mirrors. If you're a fan of the shabby chic look, you'll like these new mirrors that look old but really aren't. Whether they're decked out in old, beat-up frames and hung on the wall or used as table-tops surrounded by mismatched, turn-of-the-century chairs upholstered in burlap, Tenuta thinks the look is great for French country interiors or flea market-inspired decors.

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