Style Talk With Nate Berkus

Nate Berkus
Photographer: Carter Berg

Name: Nate Berkus
Place: Chicago, IL
Design Firm: Nate Berkus Associates

I am so excited to bring you today’s Style Talk Interview with Nate Berkus! It’s not every day that you get to interview one of America’s top interior designers and someone who has had such a major influence on your own interior design philosophy. I first fell in love with Nate when he made over a small space on Oprah. Since that time he has been featured everywhere from Elle Decor to Domino, and has produced collections for Linen N Things and now the Home Shopping Network. I had the opportunity to ask Nate about what inspires him as an interior designer and his new line for HSN.

Tell us about your design philosophy.
Make your home your own. Whether that means traditional or mod, you owe it to yourself to outfit your space with what you love and what makes you comfortable.

silver chain pillow

How does your design philosophy translate into the rooms you create?
I spend quite a bit of time getting to know my client as well as their families. Do they have pets? Do they travel? What are their hobbies? I want to hear it all. It’s the only way for me to do my job. I know exactly what I’d do in the space if I were moving in, but that isn’t the point. I’m not making their home for me to live in. It’s for them and it needs to rise up to greet them each time they walk through the door.

Can you give AphroChic readers an example of a room that embodies these ideas?
In my own home, it’s my den. It’s filled with stacks of books. I love to read and have two comfy couches for plenty of seating for when friends come over for Thai take-out and movies.

astor tablescape

How did you discover your own personal style and voice in the world of interior design?
To me it’s an evolution. As I experience new places or people, I find new inspiration or new passions that work their way into my home. As we change, so do our homes, or at least they should. I look back to my first place and what I loved then and see only small touches of that in my place today. That’s the beauty of home. It’s a mirror for where we are at this moment.

What do you think the importance of interior design is today, and how do you see it playing a role in the larger context of people’s lives?
We all want to live beautifully. That doesn’t mean more money or high end. Just living well, in a home that welcomes us. And, why shouldn’t we? We spend so much time in our homes. We create our best memories there. Home is where we get our start.

athens tablescape

What inspired your new line for HSN?
I travel. I read. All of that inspiration makes its way into my products. And, I thought of what I wanted. What pillows did I want on my couch right now? What types of sheets do I love? I’m my best customer!

How did today’s current recession fit into your ideas for this new line?
I have always wanted what I design to be the right value for my fans. So, I just maintained that same focus for my line of products sold on HSN.

moroccan table

Your new line for HSN has a lot of cultural influences. How does global style fit into the collection?
People tell themselves that if they like one style everything in their home needs to fall within that look. To me that’s creating a theme, not a feeling. Liking traditional doesn’t mean you can’t put out an Ikat frame. Or a country look doesn’t mean that you can’t bring home something from a flea market that’s a bit mod. It’s just about balance. Follow your heart and just choose what you love.

ikat frames

Tell us about your unique partnership with Cotton Made in Africa.
I wanted my towels to feel luxe, but I wanted them to work. Great towels are always 100% cotton. So, I asked the team if there were differences in the cotton. That spurred a great idea to use my towel for a great cause. First, we found the style and look that we liked and then we sourced the cotton from the Cotton Made in Africa Fair Trade group.

african cotton bath towels

hampton bathscape

As one of the world’s top designers, you’ve already accomplished so much. What is it that you feel keeps you motivated and inspired going forward?
It’s simple. I love what I do. And, I get just as much inspiration from the process of working with others as I do spending time on my own interiors. Doing what I do is a true gift.

What can we expect to see next from Nate Berkus?
I keep dreaming up new items to add to my current line. So, stay tuned.

ahmad tablescape

Any tips for readers on how they can make their home a soulful space?
Get to know yourself and make sure that space reflects who you are.

Thank you so much Nate for sharing your thoughts and vision with AphroChic readers! To see more of Nate’s new collection for HSN click here. Super stylish, everything in the collection retails for under $500. You are going to love it!

{Images from Nate Berkus Home Decor for}

11 replies
  1. Susan
    Susan says:

    I completely agree with Nate about following your heart when choosing items for your home – creative interiors that reflect your personality are where it's at.

  2. Brandie
    Brandie says:

    This is great! I completely agree that your home should reflect you at this current moment. I think back to my first apt and it's nothing like the space I'm currently living in! Thanks for a great interview.

  3. Andre
    Andre says:

    This is exactly the kind of advice people need to heed. Far too often we are compelled to keep up with the Joneses, or worse, we don't include something in our home because we don't want to show that side of ourselves to people. In essence we are denying who we are even with our homes. Staying true to who you are may very well start within, but the next stop is in your home. Thanks for a great interview! AphroChic!!

  4. Get Togetha
    Get Togetha says:

    First of all. How gorgeous is that man? I've been in love since the first days of him being on the Oprah Show. He's just deliciousness (with my married self!). Second. Great Interview. The man knows decor and how to make stunningly gorgeous makeovers. Plus he seems to be very kind hearted…

    Ok. enough gushing…

  5. AphroChic
    AphroChic says:

    I am so happy you enjoyed the interview with Nate. His design philosophy is something that everyone should take to heart. Your home should be nothing less than what you love, and a true expression of you. I've seen my own style change so much over the years. And it's wonderful!!! We can even grow in our interiors.

  6. Vasudha.dilip
    Vasudha.dilip says:

    I simply loved this interview and his style….His philosophy is great and most of us budding designers should try and learn such trinklets from them…. thanxx for such a great info…please visit my blog


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