Anatomy of a Design -- Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent

Welcome to the very first post in my series, Anatomy of a Design! This is probably my favorite series to write because it gives me the opportunity to slow down and examine every detail of a design. Social media can be great for helping us find new ideas, but mindless scrolling has caused our attention spans to shorten (looking at you, Instagram) . In this series, I take a full stop in order to break down what makes a design great.


First up in this series is a living space by Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent that stopped me in my tracks when I first saw it. This design has made an impression on me in a permanent way. There is so much to be learned from the spacial decisions and original details in the space. Designers can sometimes get stuck in ruts where they feel like they are churning out the same work over and over. And, although we know it's not true, sometimes it can feel like everything new has already been done. With this design, Nate and Jeremiah remind us that originality presents itself in the details. Let's break down what makes this space so amazing.

  1. Lack of symmetry - Although there is almost a complete lack of symmetry in this space (the exception being the fireplace mantle), it still feels incredibly harmonious. The even number of windows along the back wall create a balanced canvas, and the designers use repetition in the 1950s sconces to create rhythm on either side of the room.

  2. Harmony through a neutral color palette - With symmetry out the window, there has to be another element that ties the space together. Although there isn't a single chair with a twin in this space, the neutral shades keep everything feeling harmonious.

  3. Balance between heavy and graceful elements - Even though the sofa is front and center in this photo, it's amazing how the eye isn't immediately drawn to it. The dainty silhouettes of the end tables and antiques that adorn the space create immediate balance and flow.

  4. Anchored with black accents - When designing a neutral, you can make the space seem more bold by carefully layering in some black accents. They truly do anchor the space and provide a necessary grounding and warmth.

  5. Mix of modern and traditional elements - Nate and Jeremiah literally use antique pieces from a vast array of different eras in this room. You would think that they would clash, but because of the unity created by the color palette, they work perfectly together.

  6. Atypical artwork above the fireplace - This is the smallest detail I'm pointing out for a reason. We oftentimes get too stuck abiding by design "rules." With this simple gesture, Nate and Jeremiah remind us that there is no such thing.

What do you notice about this design that makes it amazing? Tell me in the comments! Although the designers used mostly vintage and antique items in this space, I've rounded up a few products from around the web to help you achieve this look!

*Affiliate Link Disclaimer*

Here's the deal: when I post links to products, they are usually affiliate links. This means I get a small commission, at no additional cost to you, if you purchase something through one of my links. Every product I share is something I love and, in many cases, something I've bought for either myself or for clients. It's one the ways we keep HHS running, and why I'm so grateful you choose to read my blog! From the bottom of my heart, thank you for shopping with me and leave me a comment below to let me know if you're enjoying your purchases!


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