Nate Berkus is a designer whose reputation precedes him. Few in the industry have become a household name in the way he has, all while achieving the highest honors along the way (Elle Decor A-List, AD100, check, check). For nearly 20 years, he’s been a fixture in the worlds of design and television, ever since his first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show. He brings a sense of charm, openness, and a spirit of you-can-do-it-ism to the occasionally opaque world of high design, making it feel accessible to everyone.
In that spirit, Nate is opening his storefront exclusively to Chairish readers, giving us all a taste of his treasured finds, from seating to lighting, accessories, and much more. Be sure to shop his favorites and read what he had to say about them below, along with his advice for designing small spaces and why outdoor fabrics can be a godsend for parents.
Nate’s Finds for Sale on Chairish
What do you find most compelling about Chairish?
Searching Chairish feels like going into an enormous, organized vintage marketplace that has something for everyone, at any price point. About 70 – 80% of what my design firm sources are antique and vintage pieces for our clients.
You have beautiful items for sale on Chairish. What do you like to collect / sell? Of your fabulous pieces are there any “don’t-miss items” that should be scooped up now?
I’m constantly buying new things; it truly is all about the hunt for me. Sourcing beautiful things from around the world and sharing those finds in my Chairish storefront makes it all the more fun and real. What’s also of note is that being able to resell pieces for our clients as part of the design firm’s services is unusual and really enhances our relationships. Some purchases are mistakes, or people grow tired of things, and this is a great way to recycle beautiful pieces and for them to find a new home.
In the shop right now are these Poillerat-style Mirrors – I can hardly stand the fact that they’re for sale but we couldn’t find a place for them in our New York home. There’s also a pristine pair of Andre Arbus leather chairs, which are exquisite, and this 18th c. Venetian sculpture stand to bring some unexpected architecture into a space.
What are three of your favorite pieces on Chairish now?
Do you prefer to design for commercial or residential? Which can be harder?
Categorically, I prefer to design for residential — which is more challenging because it’s so deeply personal.
Do you have any advice when sourcing art?
Art is too personal to be a designer’s job, but as a firm, we can make suggestions and point clients in a certain direction based on their style and what they gravitate towards when it comes to color and décor.
Do you have any great tricks for making a small space appear larger? What’s a “must” when considering the design of a limited area?
Always use full-size furniture, even in a small space. There’s a misconception that an apartment can’t fit a larger sofa, but it becomes that one universally comfortable place to sit — which everyone would prefer over five odd apartment-size chairs.
If on a limited budget, what should people invest that is likely worth it?
As a parent of two, what design advice would you offer for those who have small children?
Two words: outdoor fabrics. Most of the larger pieces in our home are covered in performance fabric. The durability gives you peace of mind with sticky little hands about. It’s also a feeling of not being beholden to perfection in your possessions, which is why I love to incorporate vintage pieces that have patina and are age worn. Trust me, it’s really hard for your preschooler to ruin a 200-year-old chest of drawers.
Now that we’ve been living with quarantine for awhile and people are largely working from home, is there a demand for a particular room or category of furniture / decor that your clients are asking for (i.e. home office, outdoor living, better lighting)?
We are definitely seeing more of a focus on home office design, or how to utilize a space that now needs to double as a Zoom office or virtual classroom. Clients are choosing bigger pieces, like vintage cabinets, breakfronts and servers — pieces that can do double duty and offer great storage solutions.
Some Design Favorites…
Favorite way to create a statement-making moment in a room:
Mixing vintage with new
Favorite iconic piece of vintage design:
Axel Einar Hjorth chest of drawers
Favorite decorating cheap thrill:
Grosgrain tape on store-bought lampshades
Favorite paint color:
Least favorite color that you try to avoid:
Favorite decor piece in your home:
Too many — what we live with are all favorites.
Favorite designer from the past you most often turn to for inspiration:
Design destination every decor lover should visit at least once:
Some Lifestyle Favorites…
Favorite vacation destination (the next time travel becomes an option):
I might be the only person left who doesn’t listen to podcasts.
Favorite Instagram accounts to follow:
Favorite hostess (or thank you) gift:
White roses or gardenia
Lead portrait of Nate Berkus by Heather Talbert