Opulence gives way to practicality in no-nonsense '90s

January 16, 1994|By Orlando Sentinel

Three years into the decade, the main themes of '90s decor are settling in. Styles, colors, fabrics and furnishings have made the shift from the flamboyant show-house looks of the '80s to those of low-key, comfortable, environmentally aware personal places.

People who once looked for decor that was chic are more interested in living spaces that offer comfort, convenience, quality and practicality.

"I see much more emphasis on comfort -- not necessarily opulence but comfort," said Gail Steves, editor-in-chief of Home magazine.

Fabric designer Jay Crawford and Winter Park designers Gail Adams and Sam Ewing of Ewing-Noble Interiors find the search for comfort expressed in the fabrics that are the most popular now. These would be cotton chenilles, in particular, and velvets, as well as other textured fabrics that "feel comfortable."

"People still like rich kinds of fabrics, but they don't want them to be too opulent," Mr. Crawford said, "not the heavy damasks and not with the heavy '80s kind of trim."

Today's colors are softer; among the most appealing are moss and khaki greens, dull apricot, claret and camel, Mr. Crawford said.

Ms. Steves says people are looking for practicality. "They are re-examining spaces. The dining room is being seen as not just a dining room but as a place for a home office, family work space, a place where kids can spread out and do puzzles."

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