Nate Berkus
Nate Berkus, the man with the decorating expertise, answers the audience's questions.
Moving Off-Campus
Many young people have a "college dorm" style: a hand-me-down couch from a parents' basement and broken-down tables from who-knows-where. For budding decorators looking to get a fresh start, Nate has several tips:
  • If you can't afford to decorate your whole house all at once, start with the room that you use the most.
  • "Buy what you love, always," Nate says. "I don't know where things are going to go when I buy them, typically. But if you do buy what you love, eventually it will work its way in."
  • Keep the big items simple. "When you buy things that are expensive, like a sofa or something that really feels like an investment, you need to keep it as plain as possible, as simple as possible. Make sure that it's a clean design that will work with whatever style you want it to."
  • With big items, take your time to make careful decisions. "Don't buy stuff just to fill the space. There's so many great things, with catalogs and the Internet, you can sit and compare styles and prices and all of that."
  • However, don't be afraid of that diamond in the rough. "A fun chair? Great. If you see something at a flea market, just buy it and throw it in the car."
  • Above all, don't be afraid to experiment. "I move stuff around all the time. I'm grabbing things and I decide that I want a different feeling in a tiny corner of a room. I have stuff that I'll change."

You've Got Questions, Nate's Got Answers continues…
Have You Ever…Faked It?
Just about everyone agrees that fresh-cut flowers can brighten the corners of any room. But there is a downside: They are expensive and they die. So, is using artificial plants and flowers considered tacky?

Nate answers that in just a word: "Yes."

But you can still find ways to incorporate nature into your home without funding your florist's kids' college education, using:
  • branches and sticks
  • rocks
  • beach glass
  • cora
  • a bowl of fruit
"Go outside! I mean, even leaves from a park are beautiful in a clear glass vase," Nate says. "I'd rather see that than fake anything any day."

You've Got Questions, Nate's Got Answers continues…
Get in the Mix
How about combining antique furniture with contemporary items? "My favorite thing about decorating is mixing different periods and styles," Nate says. "If you have something that's old, and you really do want to mix those styles, then you have to add something that's obviously modern with it. You can't put a kind of a mediocre thing in the middle."

Nate suggests pairing a beautiful antique chest of drawers with a modern photograph or a beautiful modern painting above it.

This next bit of advice is especially important in the dining room, the area that poses one of the biggest decorating challenges. "I hate sets. I've always hated sets," Nate says. "I think that if you have a dining room set, break it up!"
  • Put the buffet along the wall in the living room.
  • Add a really simple modern upholstery on the old chairs' seats.
  • Or use new chairs and keep the beautiful, old wood table.


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