Nate Berkus Responds to Your Design Dilemmas

by CalicoCorners 13 Feb

You asked, he answered.  After compiling all of the great questions you submitted via social media, Nate Berkus  selected five questions to answer!  Find out  how Nate suggests handling your design dilemmas below!

Calico Nate Berkus

Design Dilemma #1

Dilemma: Recushion and slipcover (I’m not an upholsterer) a well-worn, good quality leather sofa, or donate and buy a new one? Slipcovers on leather? Good idea or travesty?

- Carolyn McGlinchey

Nate Berkus: I don’t mind furniture that looks a bit weathered…it gives it a sense of history. To decide whether your couch stays or goes, look past the condition of the leather and focus on the style of the sofa. Worn leather looks elegant, but if the style of the sofa is off then it has a tendency to age the entire room. If the shape is good, then update with new pillows and maybe consider updating the other pieces around the sofa to make what was old feel new again. I always like the idea of adding two slipper chairs opposite the sofa to make the room feel more intimate. As for the slipcover, I’d say steer clear of that here as they’d just slide around on the leather.

Design Dilemma #2

I’m trying to redo my bedroom without spending a fortune. Had it repainted, got new carpet. Have been divorced since 1998, but still married to the 1975 furniture! Any suggestions?

-Cindy Decker Gill

Nate Berkus: Bedrooms are my favorite room in the home to do on a budget. Swapping out the headboard, alone, changes the entire feel of the room. Start first by breaking up your bedroom set. Consider something timeless like my District woven fabric in Winter White as the headboard. It will match whatever top of bed pattern you go with. I also love the idea of fabric draped side tables so you can store things under the draping. My Desi fabric in Obsidian would look really elegant. If you want to keep one of your bedroom items, like your dresser, give it a facelift by lacquering it in high gloss black. 


Calico Nate Berkus District Winter White
District // Winter White  Desi // Obsidian

Design Dilemma #3

I love the way you repaint and repurpose furniture pieces, but I am reluctant to do it when I don’t know the origin or value of the piece. How do I know if I am repurposing or just ruining?! 

-Kristen Lynch

Nate Berkus: There’s a wealth of information out there.  I rely so much on the internet for information about the origin of pieces, provenance. That kind of thing. eBay can be a great resource. Unless it’s an expensive antique, I say get repurposing. Just make sure to use the right materials and collect inspiration…Pinterest, Lonny, design blogs. They are all great resources.

Design Dilemma #4

Nate my new house has a huge 9′x9′ alcove that I’ve put my entertainment center in. But it’s dwarfed by the space. Any ideas for filling the space?

-Denise Druckenmiller-Rogers

Nate Berkus: Add some shelving if you don’t already have and use decorative accessories to help the space feel more layered and collected. Book shelves work great for displaying the things that you love and things that have meaning. Maybe it’s photo frames or objects from your travels. Stacks of books and tall vases and candles will add height. Hide all the items that make it feel like an entertainment center. Put the DVDs and video games in baskets. Put cords in a decorative box.

Design Dilemma #5

Hi Nate! I came to your book signing in Minneapolis, but was too nervous to ask you any questions in person. So here goes. How do you feel about painting wood trim? I live in a tiny mid century home with medium colored wood trim. It’s not in beautiful shape, but not terrible. The same could be said for the wood floors. I am debating between leaving it or painting the trim white. Curious what you think. Thanks!

-Wendy Larson

Nate Berkus: Thanks for stopping by the signing, hope you are enjoying the book! As for painting wood, trim, I say go for it! I actually love white trim especially against the wood floors. One of my favorite looks for a room is gray walls, a black door and white trim!


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