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Nate Berkus on Easy Decorating, How to be Happy--And What He Learned from Oprah!

Francesco Clark, the super-inspiring founder of Clark's Botanicals and author of Walking Papers, started his his truly amazing skincare line (ok, skincare plus some pretty incredible lip glosses) out of necessity. In search of a treatment for his chronically irritated skin (a side effect of losing the ability to both walk and sweat after a tragic diving accident), Clark began developing all-natural, botanically derived solutions of his own. Not only will Francesco be guest-blogging for us all week (he's interviewing everyone from Rosie to Peter Som), but this month only, Clarksbotanicals.com is offering an exclusive 35 percent off to Lucky readers with the code "LUCKYBREAKS2".

So I'm looking around my room right now, as I type this, and I realize every decorating tip Nate Berkus just gave me is not here. Oof. It's very much about what I need to do this week, for work, with new color swatches for new Clark's Botanicals products scattered everywhere. I imagine he might walk into my bedroom with a lit match, and say, "This is much better now, no?"

Jokes aside, when Nate and I first became friends, it felt like he was the decorator and I was the skincare guy, but then we came to realize beauty is not only about how you look, but how you feel, and that can extend to spirituality, family, relationships, and for me, very much so, the environment we live in.

Francesco: Many view beauty as a state of being, and what you surround yourself with. As a designer, when you look at a space, what are the things you pay most attention to?

Nate: Your home is made up of a series of small decisions to make yourself feel good about yourself. I just gave a speech about what you put your toothbrush in: Whether it be a plastic container from the local store or a cut crystal tumbler you find at a flea market--it's the first thing we reach for when getting ready, and it sets the tone for the day. Fresh-cut flowers are my sister's favorite thing to do to make her space more glamorous.

Francesco: On The Nate Berkus Show , you are very involved with whoever's space you are designing: their past, their outlook on life, romance and happiness. How do you take someone else's very personal life journey and translate that into a welcoming atmosphere?

Nate: Nothing is completely one person's, we are constantly inspired by others. Taking a chic silk scarf you never wear out of a drawer and framing it over your couch makes the space glamorous and personal very quickly. Throw pillows are like lipstick: They change the feel of the room so easily and quickly, and they're affordable and don't require a big commitment.

Francesco: In redoing a space, how do you take something that may have been a client's low point and pay tribute to it, turning it into a more optimistic memory?

Nate: We've all had something happen to us, regardless of who we are, and we carry it around with us. One of the greatest things I learned from Oprah is that all pain is the same. After the tsunami, I'd be in line at the grocery store thinking, "I wonder what life-changing event happened to the person behind me." Everyone has a story. There are memories of what you've lost or survived in your interior. A bookshelf--focusing on beauty, photography or your favorite books--makes up the feel of a home that is the story of who we are, the real story, not the overly "perfect" version you'd want your neighbors to see. It's cathartic and painful to deal with that loss. The things are not the memories--the memories are the memories. Make your environment a tribute to your life experiences.

Francesco: What is one easy quick bedroom or bathroom makeover trick you think people overlook? What makes a room glamorous?


1. For the bedroom--focus on the linens and bedding. An upholstered headboard, like the one I designed for HSN, updates a room for $300, and the design can be interchangeable with the frame. Spending on sheets is very glamorous--I love Pratesi.

2. The bathroom is all about containers--turquoise or bronze boxes make it chic. As a decorator, I edit all the time. If the shelf in my shower is too cluttered, it'll drive me bananas. That's why I actually like Clark's Botanicals, because the packaging is right on, and they work well with my skin.

3. In terms of paint, a Dior gray color (yes, that Dior) is the sexiest for either room--gray and white with lemon yellow or black always looks elegant. I like it with metallic accents and a gold lamp.

More from interviews by Francesco Clark:

Peter Som
Maggie Rizer
Rosie O'Donnell
Jeanine Lobell

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