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How Nate Berkus has kept his creativity flowing for 25 years

The celebrated interior designer unpacks his career, from how having his own show was his worst job ever to flexing new creative muscles in Hollywood.

How Nate Berkus has kept his creativity flowing for 25 years
[Photo: Daisy Korpics for Fast Company]

Listen to the latest episode of Fast Company’s podcast Creative Conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, Google Play, or Stitcher.

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Since he was a boy, interior designer Nate Berkus’s relationship to space has been one of “decorative turmoil.”

“My mother was an interior designer, and and our home was constantly evolving as a kid,” Berkus says on the the latest episode of Fast Company‘s podcast Creative Conversation. “I would come back [from school], and I would be carrying my little bag down to my room, and she’d be like, ‘That actually now is a study room. Your room is upstairs between your sister and the dog.’ And I’d be like, ‘Great.'”

But Berkus wasn’t annoyed. He was inspired.

[Photo: Daisy Korpics for Fast Company]
“The permission to let your home be an experimental space really resonated for me,” he says. “I remember thinking, you don’t have to always live the same way.”

Berkus has parlayed that sense of experimentation and creativity into his celebrated interior design firm Nate Berkus Associates, which turns 25 this month.

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In this episode of Creative Conversation, Berkus travels through his storied career, going from being “a terrible assistant” to his big break on The Oprah Winfrey Show to his own failed show (“worst job of my life”) to how he’s expanding his brand in design and in Hollywood.

“For me, creativity is rooted in the joy of experience. It’s having your eyes open all the time,” Berkus says. “The creativity comes from never closing down, really, that part of my brain. I’d like to think it’s something that I’ve honed and something that I’ve become better at. But I’ve been doing this since I was a boy. I just remember always being really taken with the way somebody wore their clothes or the way a painting was hung in a museum. I’m always, always taking in the detail.”

Listen to the latest episode of Fast Company’s podcast Creative Conversation on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, RadioPublic, Google Play, or Stitcher.

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About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

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