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What Inspires Me: Nate Berkus

The interior designer we can’t help crushing on just welcomed a baby girl! We chatted with the new dad about what's keeping him inspired.

He’s the founder of Chicago design firm Nate Berkus Associates; the creator of multiple home lines for Target; the artistic adviser for LG Studio; and, we must mention, a pal to Oprah. But Nate just announced he's added the biggest job title ever to his resume: Dad! We spoke to the design-world darling in June about what's keeping him inspired. (And we'll take the initiative to add baby Poppy onto this list as number 11!)  

Nate Berkus can turn anything—from a hemp-weave tray to a kitchen appliance—into a lustworthy objet. Ask the best-selling author and television personality for the secret to his success, and he’ll tell you a change of scene is a crucial part of the formula. “Whether it’s for a client’s home or for one of my collections, I love getting off the beaten track,” he says. We asked Berkus, who recently married his partner of two years, fellow designer Jeremiah Brent, to let us in on what he’s loving these days—aside from his new husband, of course. —Melissa Goldstein

1. New York City “My design firm is based in Chicago and we also have a place in L.A., but New York City will always be home. Just taking my dog, Tucker, for a walk, or going to pick up a cup of coffee, I find something that inspires me. The architecture, the energy, the people—everything about New York feels dynamic and interesting. It really is a city of endless possibilities.” Pictured here, the West Village cafe Ciao For Now, Berkus's go-to coffee spot.

2. Ray-Ban Outdoorsman II Aviators “I never leave home without my sunglasses. I drop them a hundred times and constantly run the risk of losing them, but I’ll wear a pair until they’re falling apart.”

3. Dairy Queen “I know, don’t judge me. It’s my guilty pleasure. Whenever I’m back in Minnesota it’s the first place I visit. What can I say—some habits die hard!”

4. Nate Berkus “Birnbeck” Fabric in Coral “This pattern from my Calico Corners collection is a favorite. As a tablecloth partnered with white dinnerware, crystal wineglasses, and flowers, it creates a moment that feels so chic.”

Nate Berkus

5. Moonlight Jade and Moondust Towels from Target “I’m so happy with mint or citron mixed with white for summer. That palette feels so fresh, especially for the master bath. The hands-down easiest way to renew your bathroom is to reach for new towels.”

6. Casa Dragones “If I order a drink, it’s typically tequila and soda with lemon, and I’m a huge fan of this brand.”

7. Tulum, Mexico “Travel has to be my biggest passion, and Mexico is one of my favorite places to visit. Between shopping the flea markets and visiting artisans, I always end up shipping something back. When I’m there I stay at Coqui Coqui. Hotel might not be the right word for the property—it feels more personal than that. Small and intimate, it’s the perfect place to recharge.”

8. Estate Jewelry “If I weren’t an interior designer, I’d be an estate jeweler. It’s interesting how a piece of jewelry can say so much about who someone is. I’m always shopping sites like eBay, Etsy, TheRealReal, and Vaunte for statement pieces.”

9. Belgian Shoes “I love things that are well made and have patina, and I love a good loafer. It feels classic and edgy at the same time. I wore a pair to my wedding, and they absolutely hit the right note.”

10. Minted.com “Art is an important part of every interior I design, including my own. Websites such as this one make it accessible.”