Classics like navy and white, cream sofas, honey leather chairs and sisal rugs will always be basics in a designer’s world.

But more and more professional designers and home artiste are embracing bright color combinations anchored in the classics but fresh to today’s homes.

Taylor King furniture is reimagining East Coast prep style for today’s stylish customers. The fabrics are a nod to classic “prep school” color palettes. Combos like navy blue and Kelly green take the lead, while pops of pink and over scaled florals add dynamic interest.

Taylor King steps out with a collection of bold floral and geometric prints in navy, lime green and pink.
Taylor King steps out with a collection of bold floral and geometric prints in navy, lime green and pink. Photo from Taylor King.

The 2019 color of the year is “Living Coral”. Coral tones float easily into the preppy palette. Jessica Charles, known for trendy and daring as well as timeless chic furniture designs selected geometric coral patterns overlaid on white to pump up a wide selection of stylish upholstery.

The key to embracing new color ways is to keep the furniture basics traditional, like turned wood legs, stock arms and overall details clean and streamlined. Self-welting, limited usage of nail heads and skirts, allowing the fabric combinations to be the stars.

Jessica Charles’ Estate Settee is upholstered in the signature preppy color pink. A bold print filled with color and a pink and white zebra print bring a pop of sunshine into this sunroom.
Jessica Charles’ Estate Settee is upholstered in the signature preppy color pink. A bold print filled with color and a pink and white zebra print bring a pop of sunshine into this sunroom.

Don’t just limit yourself to one manufacturer or the fabrics they offer. There are thousands of fabric choices when putting together a room as well as dozens of furniture manufacturers. Selections should be based on the quality of product, frame styles, delivery times and always price sense.

When combining fabrics, it’s important to select every single piece of fabric, the rugs and paint before committing yourself to any of these single elements. I generally supply my furniture manufacturers with fabric. This is referred to as COM (customer’s own fabric). Most companies will give you a credit for COM jobs.

Courtney Liven up an all-white room with preppy inspired prints on a bench and side chair.  A lime green throw and lamp tie it all together.  Photo from Jessica Charles.
Liven up an all-white room with preppy inspired prints on a bench and side chair. A lime green throw and lamp tie it all together. Photo from Jessica Charles.

Shop first for a great preppy print that incorporates all the colors you want to use in the room. This is the tough job because this decision trumps every future choice. Then look for another print or tweed that has two or three of the same colors as your inspiration fabric.

For the sofa, I always go with a solid colored fabric with textured. Never overlook the value of texture. It elevates the value of any piece of furniture, large or small.

A sofa, due to size, always dominates the room. Don’t be seduced by a big bold floral or patterned fabric for the sofa. It might look great in a magazine layout but in most homes, it’s over the top. It is much easier to live with a dynamic color than a extreme print.

A geometric print in orange on a white background bring and updated look to this dark contemporary corner seating area. Photo from Jessica Charles.
A geometric print in orange on a white background bring and updated look to this dark contemporary corner seating area. Photo from Jessica Charles.

Order or buy a sample (swatch or memo) of all the fabrics you are considering. Make sure the tones are compatible. Don’t select a preppy print with a white background and a cream sofa. Or a goldish fabric with a tan rug. Studying the swatches all together and you can quickly discover any mismatch issues.

If you’re not looking for a complete makeover, introduce touches of these refreshing colors into your existing décor. Deep navy and pale pink pillows look great on a gray sofa. Pick up a preppy bouquet of lime green hydrangeas for your coffee table add a matching throw for the couch. Select books with jacket covers that match your key preppy color scheme and create a stunning display.

It’s as easy as that to make your room as cool as an East coast prep school.