Nate Berkus Learned These Easy Design Tricks From—Who Else?—Jeremiah Brent

And they don’t involve buying new furniture.
nate berkus on a pink background

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While some people turn to larger-scale creative projects to switch up their routine—think: creating floral murals or revamping a garden—the DIY route isn’t for everyone. For Nate Berkus, finding joy at home takes a much simpler form. He focuses on putting together a multisensory environment. 

It’s something he picked up from his husband, Jeremiah Brent. “He sets the house at different times of the day with lighting: He’ll turn off certain lamps and light candles,” Berkus explained in a Headspace Instagram Live. “There’s always music playing in our home.” He also references playing with scent—for example, burning incense or palo santo for a really holistic approach to design. This way, he’s setting a mood that’s about more than what you see in a room. A cozy space doesn’t just concern furniture, after all.

We’re following the Berkus-Brent school of thought and making these easy tweaks right away. Set the scene with softer lighting and the right playlist—then rotate in your favorite candles or fragrances so each day feels a little more special (even if all you’re doing is taking Zoom meetings). Choose according to your mood: something citrusy to boost spirits or vetiver when you need to chill out. 

“I used to pad around these spaces without music, without scent,” said the designer. “I had candles, but they went on the table when I entertained—not at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning. There’s something really beautiful about the ceremony of that, and I’m grateful to Jeremiah for bringing it into my world.”

Flamingo Estate Candle in Climbing Tuscan Rosemary


Brass Candle Wick Trimmer


Audio-Technica LP60X-BT Bluetooth Record Player

Urban Outfitters

Era 300


Tom Dixon Fog Incense Gift Set

Saks Fifth Avenue

Saint Rita Parlor Incense

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Elly Leavitt

Writer and Editor

Elly enjoys covering anything from travel to funky design (tubular furniture, anyone?) to the latest cultural trend. Her dream apartment would exist on the Upper West Side and include a plethora of mismatched antique chairs, ceramic vessels, and floor-to-ceiling bookcases—essential to her goal of becoming a poor man’s Nora Ephron. You can probably find her in line at Trader Joe’s. You will never find her at SoulCycle.