Skip Nav

Nate Berkus's Advice For Finding Color Inspiration

Nate Berkus's 3 Resources For Color Inspiration

On Monday, I attended an intimate event in New York City for Lowes and Valspar Signature Colors paint hosted by Nate Berkus. Nate presented about the power of paint and let us in on the secret of where he finds color inspiration. The biggest takeaway for me, I think, was that color really should be the inspiration for a room. You can add style influences like "rustic" or "shabby chic" later but choosing your paint and palette choices up front gives a room direction and keeps your design on track.

But how do you choose your colors? Here are the three places Nate Berkus finds color inspiration:

  1. Nature. Berkus says he looks at "combinations in the colors in nature" for inspiration. Ever the designer, he's always on the hunt for interiors inspiration. Berkus says when he was snorkeling in Thailand at the islands made famous by The Beach, he saw a "bright, bright turquoise and orange fish," and thought to himself, "I'm so going to turn that into someone's family room." According to Berkus, "You can't go wrong with colors from nature because you're just knocking off what God's done."
  2. Fashion. Berkus also looks to fashion for color inspiration. While, he said, the "tailored, structural, and architectural" pieces by Jil Sander may influence the shapes in his interiors, he was inspired by the colors of Derek Lam's collection this past fashion week — cloudy blues, brick red, and olive greens — for future decorating palettes. Whether it's pieces straight from the runway or from the pages of Vogue, the color inspiration in fashion is everywhere, he says. "Paint is the greatest equalizer," because everyone can afford it and do it themselves, and it "cuts out the middle man between fashion week and your living room." You don't need to own a Dior bag or Louis Vuitton suitcase to achieve that style: "You can re-create those combinations through color."
  3. Continue reading for one more place to find color inspiration!

  4. Travel. Nate also finds color inspiration during his travels in textiles, pottery, architecture, rugs, and more. "There's no way you won't be inspired walking through the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul." But you don't need to drag a heavy rug back the States to integrate that color. "The color of small objects in a room that is so serene around it," is just as powerful — so bring back those little souvenirs!

Latest Home & Garden