Want to beef up you décor smarts? Design Chicago, an interior design educational conference, is on at the Merchandise Mart today and Wednesday. Most of the seminars are geared toward the trade, but the guest speakers have broader appeal. All are open to the public.

Under the broad appeal category: Tuesday at 10 a.m., fashion designer Ralph Rucci, who just created a line for locally based Holly Hunt, will talk about how fashion inspires interior design. And Michael S. Smith (hired by the Obamas in 2008 to redecorate the residential quarters of the White House) will talk about his new book, Building Beauty: the Alchemy of Design, as well as the hallmarks of American interior design, right after Rucci, at 11:30 a.m. (Smith's collection for Baker is shown above.)

You might also be curious about certain trade secrets, to be shared in such seminars as "Fabric Selection 101" and "Lighting Controls as Components of Interior Design." Or, build your knowledge of digital scrapbooking at "Cut and Paste: From Scrapbooks and Journals to Flipbook and Pinterest."

Check out all the offerings at the Design Center's website.