Nate Berkus is the founder of interior design firm Nate Berkus Associates, author of “The Things That Matter” and a frequent design expert on “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”
He was the guest on this week’s Home Front chat. Here are some of our favorite pieces of advice from the live Q&A:
▪ Don’t worry about trends. Love traditional Oriental rugs but seeing modern patterns in all the magazines? Don’t worry about it. “Design is really about finding a style that represents who you are and not following the trends in magazines.”
▪ For a balanced fireplace mantel, you can go one of two ways: One large mirror or piece of art hung above the fireplace, or several small framed pieces leaning against the wall. “A beautiful pottery bowl, a pair of candlesticks or a series of handmade pottery in complementary colors would be beautiful.”
▪ Don’t be a slave to history. Rather than painstakingly searching for only art deco pieces for a 1920s home, pair classic elements, such as subway tile, with newer materials. “The best part of a well-designed interior is respecting the history but also incorporating elements available now.”
▪ Go big in a small space. A small space doesn’t have to mean small furniture and accessories. A large mirror can make the space feel larger and brighter. And “resist the urge to scale down your furniture in a small space,” Berkus said. “Keep the sofa large, and remember that no one will be comfortable in your tiny chairs.”
▪ Symmetry doesn’t mean pairs of things. “Symmetry is not always required, but it does make certain people (like me) more comfortable,” Berkus said. “It creates a sense of visual balance that can feel relaxing when you walk into a room.” Instead of loading up on pairs of heavy bookcases or chairs, try using items of similar heights, such as a bookcase on one side of a window and a tall potted tree on the other.