“Design is about being fearless.”
On episode three of Bravo’s Best Room Wins, judge and Elle Decor Editor-in-Chief, Whitney Robinson, shared this testament with a New-York based interior designer that perhaps embodies it more than anyone: Megan Hopp.
Describing Megan’s design choices as bold is an understatement — the homes she designs nix neutrals for bright patterns, vibrant colors, and anything-but-ordinary furniture.
Best Room Wins challenges two interior designers on each episode to create luxury looks for less for couples in need of a room makeover. Using the design theme and inspiration from a multimillion-dollar estate, the designers must work to decorate a room that captures the couples’ luxury vision. The final rooms are judged by overall look, budget, and client satisfaction.
The show gave Megan an opportunity to showcase her work on a national scale, and she took it by the horns. Getting on the show happened quickly, and the whirlwind didn’t leave any opportunity for preparation.
“I didn’t prepare at all because it happened really quickly, and they also tell you nothing,” Megan said. “They’re super secretive about the operations, and they withhold all information. They tell you when to show up, and that’s it.”
Megan assured everything about her episode was completely real — she went in blind and was given no guidelines for where to shop or hours that she could spend designing. For four days, she could have worked for 24 hours a day and shopped anywhere from a garage sale to a department store.
For four days, she could have worked for 24 hours a day and shopped anywhere from a garage sale to a department store.
“I anticipated a bit more structure, and with reality TV, you never know what’s fake and what’s real, but I can assure you this was 100 percent real,” Megan said.
Megan had to make quick decisions and strategize ways to buy furniture quickly — a process that usually can take weeks.
“The first thing that crossed my mind was that you can’t get furniture in a day — that’s not how it works. So, it was a whole practice of going to stores and convincing people to sell me stuff off the floor, which is not really something I had done before,” she said.
Unlike her opponent, Megan chose not to focus too much on the inspiration home. She followed her intuition and didn’t question it — there wasn’t time to.
“My top priority going into the experience was that I didn’t want to walk away feeling like I didn’t go all in and feeling like on a national stage I didn’t do a design that felt like, ‘yep, that’s me, and that’s how i want people to know me,'” Megan said.
Megan’s Room Before
“My mindset from the start was that I needed to go big or go home, so I wasn’t super concerned with decision making. I just followed my impulses and worked crazy hard. I didn’t worry about if I was making the right decision — there’s no time to worry.”
Megan’s design choices are playful and distinct, but her style has been a journey — but after dabbling with a neutral, natural style, she’s returned to her roots: “circus chic.”
“I really try to use as much pattern as people will let me, and I want to take it as far as I can while making sure it’s still livable,” she said. “I want to strike a balance that’s whimsical and in your face, but in a beautiful, livable way.”
Unlike many designers, Megan doesn’t draw inspiration from the usual sources, like architecture or materials. Instead, she’s struck by the extraordinary — like a vintage garbage can that could be flipped upside down to make a side table — and then incorporates colors and pattern.
I want to strike a balance that’s whimsical and in your face, but in a beautiful, livable way.
When designing a client’s room, Megan searches for the basic, everyday things they use to get a sense of their taste. A glance at the cereal bowls they use or where they hold their mail can help her design a space that is a reflection of them.
Creating a bright, fun room that’s still a place you want to unwind and watch Netflix for the night is no easy feat — Megan’s favorite binge is anything about Elizabeth Holmes — so a part of her design process is figuring out how to incorporate boldness in a way that still feels like a home.
Megan’s Room After
“I think two places that you can incorporate color where you’ll get a lot of bang for your buck and are more functional are upholstery and wallpaper.” Megan said. “Wallpaper is obviously a go-to. You can do something that feels super high-end and custom but at an attainable price point. It’s not permanent, and it can transform a room in a way that nothing else does.”
Megan utilized both of these elements in her Best Room Wins home, which was full of bold, patterned wallpaper and bright furniture.
While Megan is spending her time taking on clients in New York, she hopes to pursue more opportunities that showcase her work on a larger scale.
“I think that for me, where I feel most in my wheelhouse is with communication about interior design with clients. I like to paint a picture before it really exists,” Megan said. “I just really enjoy that connection and talking about it and listening to what people want and translating it into fruition. For me, having this opportunity to design on television and get to talk about it on a larger scale feels really exciting, and I felt quite invigorated by it.”
Based on the circumstances that went into designing her Best Room Wins space, Megan says it’s her favorite room she’s ever designed.
“It felt like a risk. It was so rewarding to feel like the judges understood me when I often feel like the weird girl and not understood. That was very satisfying.”
You can check out Megan’s episode on Bravo and be sure to follow her on instagram for more design inspiration!
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