This Was the Best Decorating Tip I Learned from 4 Pro Designers

published Jul 5, 2022
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“MERIDIAN” stands for “manifesting exceptional relationships with interior design influencers through authentic networking,” and the MERIDIAN Experience (ME) conference that designer, content creator, and Apartment Therapy 2021 Changemaker Alberthe K. Buabeng of Albie Knows organized in June couldn’t have been fuller of authentic, beautiful design-based connections. I’d know; I got the opportunity to attend the programming and even managed to snag some decorating advice from the pros myself… but more on that a little later. First, here’s a little bit of context for this weekend-long event that took place in real life in Bellevue, Washington, last month.

For up-and-coming interior designers, following favorite industry influencers on Instagram is a must. Being able to meet those decorating heroes in person and share best practices and learnings, though? That type of connection, particularly in the wake of COVID-19, just might provide the boost of confidence someone needs to truly start forging a path ahead in the design industry. Those were exactly the types of interactions Buabeng aimed to establish through her ME conference.

At the gathering, I saw the faces of so many light up as they were able to shake hands, hug, and chat with designers they admire. For the inaugural year, Buabeng assembled a roster of 20 big-name designers and creatives to present at workshops and talk on panels, while 80 design enthusiasts attended to soak in their peers wisdom and network with each other on deeper levels. From a photo creator lab with blogger Joanna Hawley-McBride of Jojotastic and photographer Sara Tramp for best practices in creating interior imagery and an inspiring fireside chat with one of our Small/Cool Experience designers multi-hyphenanate David Quarles IV to a video workshop with content creators Demetrius Robinson of At Home With Savvy and Nadia Casanova of Styled By Casanova, there were so many opportunities to learn how to step up your game in the industry. Buabeng even created a pre-event Slack channel so attendees and presenters could meet and communicate with one other before, during, and after the programming proper.

While chatting with professional designers at the event, I posed a question I hoped would receive some intriguing answers. “If you only had $100 to upgrade a space, what would you suggest?” The only catch? The designers couldn’t say paint. Many wanted to go that route of course, as paint’s an inexpensive way to change up a room. Another answer bubbled up though, which made me think about how to best decorate my own space, and it’s simply this: art.

Designers Orlando Soria, Teri Moore, Racheal Jackson of Banyon Bridges, and Marie Cloud of Indigo Pruitt all said artwork can completely make a home feel upgraded in the most straightforward way. Whether you’re supporting a local artist, buying a secondhand piece, or slightly splurging on a framed work, you can definitely keep the price point under $100 and add some new life to your decor. Check out this video I captured at ME for even more insight.

After a successful first year, the Meridian Experience will be back in 2023 with new speakers, exciting panels, and more opportunities to connect and network in real life. I’m already counting down the days!