Amazing Spaces

Pros dish on the season’s hottest design trends and offer tips for giving your home a fresh, new look.

Color. Quality. Details. Those are the elements that will define this year’s freshest and most current looks, says interior designer Jose J. Cabrera, whose recent projects include swanky living quarters at The VUE at Lake Eola downtown and upscale digs in Keene’s Pointe for Steelers cornerback Ike Taylor. But keeping au courant doesn’t mean a drastic makeover; the injection of a fresh, new hue or the addition of a bold, trendsetting piece can instantly update a room. Here, Cabrera, principal and owner of Orlando’s C L Studio Inc. ( shares five ways to refresh your home without falling victim to fads.

1. The Color Teal

"I have three colors I do/did not like: burgundy (unless it’s a wine), school- bus yellow (childhood trauma) and teal (’80s misuse at my prom; e.g, streamers, tuxes and dresses. Ugh.) Fast forward to 2012: I now like teal. Use it as an accent. One great piece—a sofa, a chair, etc. It looks fantastic against dark wood, grays and other blue-greens. Grays will also be big in 2012; see Belgian trend #3.”

Teal Leather Eddie Accent Chair, $1,299 at Z Gallerie, Millenia Crossing

2. Photography

"I have always used photography in our projects. Both sepia and black-and-white photography are personal favorites, but choose what you like. Find unique images. Details. Vintage. Limited editions. Keep mats white. Keep frames simple.”

C L Studio Inc. used an oversized photograph of a Joshua tree in the room transformation it completed during a designer showcase event at The VUE. Contact C L Studio ( for reproductions.

Restoration Hardware’s eclectic, understated look with industrial accents typifies Belgian style.

3. Belgian Everything

“The Belgian look features a neutral color palette comprised of grays, creams and browns. Hallmarks include salvaged, worm-eaten, unstained, raw or distressed wood that may also be washed, limed or cerused. Linen fabrics for both upholstery and bedding. Large or exaggerated scale. Lack of pattern and ornamentation. The use of repurposed industrial pieces, including recycled wood, iron and other metals."


4. Acrylic and Lucite

“My favorite trend; there’s just a sexy vibe about acrylic and Lucite. There is an amazing substance and visual weight to this material, yet because it’s so unbelievably clear and fluid, it does not interrupt but complements most other design elements in a room beautifully.”

Alexandra Von Furstenberg Brilliant Console Table, $10,500, available through C L Studio Inc.


5. A Return to Quality

“Buy less, but better. Think before you spend. Buy one good piece at a time. Then stop until you can get another piece. In the meantime, get your backgrounds done: your walls, your tile, your lighting. Spend on long term. When you spend on quality, it may take a little longer to finish, but in the end it will be well worth it.”

Henry Link Somers Isle King Bed, $2,799 at Saxon-Clark, Altamonte Springs


Timeless Design

Dos and don’ts from Orlando interior designer Debbie Sheaf, CEO and president of Debbie Sheaf and Associates.





Look to fashion trends to spur your ideas in interior design. Runway colors and textures can make your rooms stylish.
Color your world. Don’t be afraid to enliven a dull room with a vibrant hue. 
If you don’t love it, leave it. Decorate only with items that you adore.
Design elements in your home should be like a traveling salesman: Door to door. Create a cohesive look throughout your home.



Overdo it. Too much of a good thing is too much. Avoid theming to an extreme. 
Be afraid to cross design lines. Get creative and mix it up.
Forget to take out the trash. Edit your collections and accessories for a clean, uncluttered look.
Rush it. It often takes years to acquire just the right pieces to define your style.


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