First Look: Nate Berkus on His Bohemian-Inspired Target Collection
When Nate Berkus extends an exclusive invitation to join him for lunch, you take it without hesitation. That's exactly what we did when the celebrity interior designer hosted an intimate gathering at L.A. hotspot Ysabel to launch his new spring/summer collection for Target. The city of angels really turned on the magical weather that day, which only made the seasonal pieces shine in their bohemian-inspired setting. While we have loved all of his Target designs so far, this collection is definitely one of our favorites. Travelers will rejoice in the global vibe, which features a variety of interesting textiles from seagrass to water hyacinth, woven rope, etched wood, ceramics and more.
We had the privilege of sitting next to Berkus and his equally talented husband, Jeremiah Brent, where we discussed the "nomadic" inspiration behind the collection, his top tips to refresh your home for the new season, three design qualities every room should have, and much more.
Travel was the key inspiration for Berkus when designing this collection. "Prior to being a dad, my husband and I were pretty nomadic, constantly traveling," he told MyDomaine. "I actually cried when I had to turn in my old passport because all the stamps had meaning for me. This collection is an amalgamation of all the things that I've seen especially Mexico, Peru, a bit of South East Asia but a focus on very well-traveled things.
"I want people to have that feeling when they walk through the aisles of Target that, Wow this kind of reminds me of something my friend got at a market in another country [feeling]. You can see there are lots of layers and a heavy focus on texture."
Refreshing your home for the new season can be costly, which is one of the key reasons Berkus collaborated with Target. He believes everyone should have the opportunity to update their homes all year round without hurting their wallet. For those of you who are looking to update your space for summer, Berkus says to bring the outside in.
"Small occasional tables and light rough wood can be grouped together as a coffee table or new nightstands," he said. "I love the idea of texture. You'll see pillows in the collection that sort of feel like a hammock swinging around. Incorporate lots of macramé, heavy texture, different sorts of light and bright, but all with that hand-done feeling. Just think about the most amazing beach shack in Mexico that you've ever seen in your entire life and what that would feel like if you married it with the resources of high design."
As for color trends, Berkus doesn’t like to play favorites and it really depends on the room you’re decorating. "I've never really believed it when you hear this is the color of the season because if you don’t like it in your home, then it has no place in your home. For me, I tend to keep bedding very neutral, which you will see in the collection. I like layering different pieces and pillows that you can change out, but the big investment is always neutral, which you can work in with anything."
But if he did have to choose a color, it would be a browny, earthy hue, which he has affectionately labeled "African mud." It also happens to be the star of the summer collection and the color of his shirt at the lunch.
We've covered many of Berkus's projects, and he never seems to put a design foot wrong, but we had to know, does he ever break the rules? "You know it’s funny, I've been in the design business for 20 years, so in terms of rules I like to break, it’s always a bit hard for me, because I have so much training and I’ve been doing this for so long," he said. "It's interesting because I think once you set a room the way you want it to, and that can be me, or you, or anybody, there's always a way to improve it a little. So I like to keep moving things around and use things in unexpected places."
He does have a few tips though for the creative types who don't typically enjoy following guidelines. "Maybe the nightstands upstairs become side tables in the family room or maybe the sideboard in the dining room becomes the beautiful console that goes underneath your TV in the bedroom," he said. "I don't think it's about spending tons of money and reinvesting constantly, I think it's about allowing yourself the freedom and the space to try to use what you have in new and inventive ways."
If you're in the planning stages of decorating your home, or in the middle of it, you might want to press pause and consider Berkus's top three design qualities every room should have.
1. "Your home should have meaning, and the things that you have in your home should have meaning. So you need to be a ruthless editor. Don’t just buy something because you’re out there on the weekend shopping and that table works, you have to love it, you have to find it beautiful, it should remind you of something, somewhere you’ve been, someone you love, or a goal that you’ve set for yourself."
2. "Try to be a bit more inventive. Don't do what your neighbor has done or what you've seen on page 10 of the catalogue; figure out what really is your personal style. How do you dress, how do you move through the world, how are you going to use the space, how are you going to move through that specific room, and figure out what really makes you happy. Is it stuff from Etsy that's handmade? Is it things from this (Nate Berkus for Target) collection mixed in with your grandmother’s needlepoint? The best interiors over time are the interiors where people really did break the rules and take a risk. So be a risk-taker."
3. "Please don't pay attention to the trends. The bottom line is that your home needs to reflect who you are and the way that you do that is through your things. So just like in fashion when everyone says "Hey, green is the color," if you look terrible in green, you’re never buying a green dress. If you don’t want a pillow that looks like macramé, then it's not for you; but if you're really into it, you should have it in your home."
What's your favorite piece from the collection?