Prep Your Home for the Holidays with Design Tips from Jeremiah Brent
While checking off gift lists is often a #1 holiday to do, decorating your space to make it feel cozy and holiday-ready is also right up there. With a successful interior design firm and an upcoming TV show — Married To Design: Nate & Jeremiah in which he and husband Nate Berkus will make over homes including their own — who better to dole out decor advice than Jeremiah Brent? Read on for his tips on everything from making your space feel cozy to avoiding the biggest interior design mistakes to the home pieces worth splurging on, then shop his curated sale full of holiday entertaining essentials.
What are your tips for making your home feel cozy for the holidays?
This time of year I love playing with more moody color palettes and texture, texture, texture! There’s nothing to make you feel more like cuddling up and hunkering down by the fire than a deep, richly colored space and a chunky throw blanket. It doesn’t have to be as drastic as painting a room a deep navy, or even black (although, paint isn’t permanent!), so consider opting for more temporary solutions: an overdyed area rug in a jewel tone or dark color, updated throw pillows, or switching out spring/summer themed art for some of that moody art that you’ve had sitting around under your guest bed.
What’s your favorite room in your house and why?
I could spend every hour of every day in Poppy’s room. It’s gotten to the point where I just climb into the crib with her to hang out. That room is so special; it’s really evolved into a place where she can imagine, and create, and grow, and learn. There’s something about the space that makes me feel instantly balanced and centered. THAT’S what successful design should do — it should evoke as much emotionally as it does aesthetically. Truly beautiful design should move you.
You and your husband Nate Berkus are both designers and worked together on the interior of your New York home. What are your tips for combining styles and working with a partner to create a space you both love?
I think that the biggest thing is to be completely aware of the fact that you are not always right. This goes for almost every aspect of marriage, and ESPECIALLY for the creative parts. There is no “right” and “wrong” in design. I find myself challenged and inspired by Nate’s viewpoint on a daily basis in every aspect of our lives, and doubly when we’re designing together. We collaborate frequently because we bring out different parts of each other in design — I’m more edgy and modern, Nate is more classic but more playful with colors. Just because our styles are different doesn’t mean that they can’t find common ground, and ultimately complement each other. After all, marriage — and by extension, design — is all about compromise.
What’s a design mistake you have made or that people often make?
I think that as a fledgling designer, I made two major mistakes that I notice others make all the time. The first is paying too much mind to trends. We experience this in every aspect of our lives, and especially in fashion and interior design. Sure, those neon-colored leg warmers SEEMED like a great idea in the ’80s, but they sure didn’t last. We all get sick of trends — some more quickly than others. If you want to try out a trend, opt for a small accent items (pillows, throw blankets, decor), rather than a new sofa.
And that brings me to the second mistake that I used to make — spending money on the wrong things. Prioritizing is important. You don’t have to blow your savings on your whole home. Splurge on the big pieces or special pieces — a new, comfortable, amazing sofa… or a vintage bar cart — don’t spend too much on the things that you know will get worn out quickly or switched out in a few years. Balancing the high and low of design is always a challenge, but completely doable.
If you can only splurge on one piece for your home, what should it be?
I love amazing vintage finds. I’ll scour websites and antique fairs to find special, unique pieces that may have been overlooked. If you’re going to splurge on something, make sure that it’s either completely functional or a total show-stopper. Think about that dream armchair that you’ve been salivating over. Or a gorgeous vintage marble table in your entry. Or even a lighting fixture that changes the dynamic of your whole room. Whatever you splurge on, it should speak to you.
What influences your home design? Where do you find aesthetic inspiration?
I take so much inspiration from traveling. Nate and I have been incredibly fortunate to be able to explore the world, and I find myself paying homage to the various cultures that we’ve encountered through many aspects of my design. From white-washed wood carved screens from Thailand to textiles from Croatia to potpourri from Peru, our journeys throughout the world have seeped into my interior decorating.
Who are your favorite furniture designers?
Of course the design greats are in my list — Milo Baughman, Jean Prouvé, Angelo Mangiarotti — but there are also some incredible contemporary furniture designers doing really unique things. Axel Vervoordt has an amazing collection, and Lukas Machnik creates interesting fashion-forward furniture pieces as well. I’ve also been discovering a ton of up and coming small artists and furniture makers that I love to introduce clients to. There are so many talented people out there expressing new viewpoints.
Who are your favorite artists?
My all-time favorite artist is Francis Bacon — his pieces are just so raw, so challenging, and so outspoken — but honestly, who can afford famous art these days? I love seeking out unknown, emerging artists. My current obsessions are Matt Connors (who does incredible abstract geometric paintings) and Mary Little (a really unique fabric artist who creates unbelievable shapes and sculptures).
How often do you switch up your decor? What is your advice for editing?
Nate and I love to redecorate — it’s something of an occupational hazard. We joke about moving affording us a new reason to completely redecorate our home, but in all seriousness, we both love to switch things up. Even a small change — moving a chair to a different room, draping beautifully tasseled textiles over our dining chairs, or switching out art pieces — can make our home feel totally fresh. I encourage people to look at the pieces around them; if you haven’t used it recently, or enjoyed it recently, it might be time to edit it down.
Ready to redesign your space with Jeremiah’s tips? Shop his curated edit here.