Monday, May 11, 2009

Designer Spotlight: Nate Berkus

I have exciting news for everyone today.  Designer Nate Berkus, of Oprah fame and beyond, has recently debuted a line of furnishing and decorative items for the Home Shopping Network.  You heard me right, and not only are the pieces very accessible they are also extremely affordable.  The line, which includes furnishings, items for the bath, tableware and more, officialy launched April 27th with Nate's first on air apperance.  I recently had the opportunity to pick Nate's brain for ideas about ways to make a big impact affordably and more.  
This new line for HSN takes the feel of high-end design and makes it more approachable and accessible to a large market. Where did you find inspiration when designing these pieces?

I find inspiration everywhere I look. I read constantly and when I travel, I take a million pictures -- the way people are dressed, the architecture, the landscape. Those pictures then serve as a visual library for me. When I launched the line, I matched my paprika sheets to a bowl of spices I photographed in Thailand and used a pattern of a gate as inspiration for a blanket I was working on.

What suggestions do you have to help someone who would like to update their space for and create a big impact using small or inexpensive pieces?
My best tip, look at what you already have and ask yourself if that piece is being used in the right way. My guess, you’ve probably had that chair in that corner or that table in that spot since you moved in. Mix it up. Move things around. You’ll be amazed at how it totally changes your home. Then, add in some layers. Put down a rug to anchor the room. Add new throw pillows in bright colors. Create a gallery wall. All bring something new to the space, without breaking the bank. I have a jute rug in my collection for under $200 and a set of 3 frames for under $30. Neither are expensive but both bring personality and texture to the room.

Trends for interiors this Spring include a large ethic influence, with ikat and suzani prints showing up on the covers of many shelter magazines. Do you see these trends carrying through Summer and into Fall? What new trends for interior design do you foresee becoming popular for the Fall?
I hate to break your heart by telling you this, but I don’t really follow trends. I know...says the guy who has a new collection to put out three times a year. To me, trends come and go, whereas style is timeless. The reason ikat and suzani are important in design this year is because they’ve been important in design for hundreds of years. They are going anywhere. I say, chose what you love and it will always work in your home.

I saw the Brian Atwood spread in the April '09 Elle Decor and really loved the mix of modern and vintage pieces - something that you do often and very well. Do you have any tips for how to blend several styles or eras to create a cohesive look?
Blending eras is all about balance. I’ve heard people say, “I can’t put an ikat frame out because my home is Southwestern,” or “I’d love to put out a bright turquoise frame but, my home is cottage’y and it won’t look good.” That’s nonsense....more importantly, that means your home has taken on a theme. If you go for a feeling, you can blend almost anything together because you are creating a space that has a certain balance.

On a more personal note, what is your favorite design piece in your home right now? Do you have one piece that you consider your best score or greatest bargain? Where is your favorite place to shop for design items for your home?
I have two categories for my home. The new finds that I just lugged home and am obsessed with and the finds that I’ve had with me for years. One great example of a find that I’ve had since college is the daybed that I bought in Paris as a student and have lugged with me from home to home to home. As for shopping, I have favorite haunts in every major city like New York, LA, Chicago...but, my favorite tip is that I look up antique shops and flea markets of any city I’m headed to so that I can spend my down time shopping.

If you'd like the opportunity to catch Nate live (and who wouldn't) presenting his collection, the next on air appearance is scheduled for June 28th.  He will also be making appearances throughout the summer. 
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Photo Credits: HSN


  1. Wow, great interview! I love the armless sofa he did. Really classy items, and I completely agree about Ikat. I'm a bit obsessed with it myself, and I love its timeless look...

  2. Great interview- nice and honest- and real. Thanks for bringing us Nate, up close and personal.

  3. Great interview. I like what he said about Ikat.

  4. Interview turned out really nice! Great read.