Podcast, Ep. 193: Houston Week: designer Meg Lonergan

It’s the final day of Houston week, and we close it out with Meg Lonergan, Founder and Principal Designer of Meg Lonergan Interiors. Since founding her firm in 2009, Meg has become one of Houston’s most in-demand designers. She talks with us about mixing classic with contemporary, how to balance investing in nice pieces while still knowing that we change our tastes and minds over the years, and get a behind-the-scenes look from her work featured on HGTV and Southern Living. Meg also has some great ideas for helping children appreciate the finer things in their home while creating an environment that welcomes play and comfortability.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode: 

  • Meg is originally from South Louisiana, but she has lived all over the world and this is a huge influence on her style and open mind when it comes to working with clients.
  • Don’t let a bold sofa scare you! Meg shares some of her ideas for working with bright and vibrant colors.
  • Meg’s own home is filled with funky patterns and textures, and she loves the surprise element of design.
  • It’s okay for your house to evolve over the years. Try to plan ahead and stay flexible, but know that things such as toy storage are more temporary.
  • The importance of teaching children to be around nice things, even if there is a major spill every now and then.
  • How she incorporated color with the HGTV home.
  • Why Meg believes designers should push their clients to think outside the box – if you aren’t a little scared every now and then your designer isn’t doing it right!
  • Meg’s experience working with dark, moody colors for the bedroom.

Decorating Dilemma

Hi Everyone!

I recently moved into one of those sheetrock mausoleums mentioned on the podcast earlier this year, so I’ve been listening to you all as often as I can and learning a lot. I’ve never decorated anything from scratch without hand-me downs and secondhand purchases, let alone a place this size and shape. Right now we only have a few pieces of furniture from our previous house, and I don’t want any of it. I have several questions for you relating to the great room and entryway. For background: I love bold pure hues and bright tints and styles that I’ve seen by designers such as Jonathan Adler, Will Taylor, and Maria Killam, so I’d love ideas for how I could bring these colors and style into this space related to the following questions.

  1. The big empty wall at the end of the great room is 17 feet wide and 10 feet tall. My idea is to have built in cabinets on the bottom and shelves up to the ceiling starting at the outer wall and coming in 11 feet, leaving the last six feet as space for an upright piano (which I don’t have yet). There would also be a large open section in the shelving centered on the seating area for a TV. I thought I could put board and batten on the wall behind the piano with a large clock or painting to balance with the shelves on the rest of the wall. What other feedback, considerations or suggestions do you have for me here? What do you think of adding color on this wall and/or the built-in shelving, or would you make them white?
  1. What seating furniture/arrangement do you suggest? I intend to have a 9×12 rug in a turquoise/aqua color with a white trellis pattern and I’m considering a navy-blue sofa. My kids are asking for comfortable chairs because they really don’t like the ones we have. I was thinking of something like Ballard’s Skylar Swivel Glider. My husband’s greatest wish is to maximize the seating in this room for someday when we can have lots of guests over. How can we do that while still keeping the open flow of the room?
  1. I love the windows in this room, but they are also the biggest difficulty. They face due south, so the sun shines directly in most of the day. I need something to diffuse the light so it doesn’t shine in our eyes. The worst of the problem actually shines through the top windows, and I don’t know how to deal with them because of the curved tops. What can I do to make them beautiful and functional?
  1. What would you do to add color to our black and white kitchen? We’re planning to put in a white subway tile backsplash with dark grout because I prefer to add color in less permanent ways. I’m interested in adding colorful pendants, but we’d have to add wiring for that, and my husband doesn’t like pendants in general.
  1. I’d like to have a bench in the entryway but that’s as far as I’ve got there. I need ideas for what to do with the big empty walls.

P.S. Along with all this, I have work to do in the dining area, too. Maybe a rug, and eventually we may do something creative with the table/chairs. We’ve got a mess of a computer desk against the wall right now, and we plan to build a long, two-station desk with a butcher block top using Ikea drawer units as legs and a floor to ceiling cabinet next to the fridge to hide the printer, computer tower, etc. I know desks in the kitchen are out of fashion, but we are a homeschooling family, and it works with our lifestyle to have it here. We’ll hang some great art above it. I just didn’t want you to think I was going to leave it like this!

Thanks for your thoughts and ideas!


Hello! Thank you for writing in. First, we would suggest painting your cabinets a cool color. We agree that it would make it feel charming and English! Meg thinks you should do an oval or round breakfast table, and lighting is very important. We aren’t feeling the dark grout. Next, check out Ballard’s Seagrass Rug, and layer a small rug on top to maximize your space. Even though we mention off-center art, we wouldn’t do anything off-center for your built-in. It’s all about creating a warm ambiance here, and two cabinets painted white like the trim on the house with some pretty hardware could add a nice touch. For your entryway, a console table with lamps would be nice. Under the console table, you could put some storage cubes plus a mirror on the wall for a last-minute look as you head out. Warming up the kitchen will help balance the big navy blue sectional couch. We heard that you like Jonathan Adler, and adding a pop of saturated color even by adding pillows or art can add that special funky touch. You have your work cut out for you, but we believe in you and are glad you reached out!

Mentioned in This Episode: 

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Happy Decorating!

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Abbey Nolte

Abbey is a homegrown Georgia peach who loves a fresh take on Southern design. When she’s not working behind the scenes of the How to Decorate blog and podcast, you can find her cheering on the Appalachian State Mountaineers and spending time with her wheaten terrier, Charlie.