There are more than a few reasons we love following interior designer Nate Berkus on Instagram. He has a keen design aesthetic that we often try to emulate in our own home. He shares tons of tips about decorating and entertaining. Oh, and have you seen his adorable children, Poppy and Oscar? During a recent scroll through his ’Gram, we realized that despite his young kids, Berkus and his husband, fellow designer Jeremiah Brent, have—wait for it—a white couch.
When we sat down (sadly, not on the aforementioned couch) with Berkus to discuss his new partnership with Novartis’s My Home in Sight kit, which makes home design more accessible for people with declining vision, we needed to know how he manages to maintain a white sofa with two littles.
So, what’s his secret? Berkus says he owes his pristine couch to its outdoor performance fabric.
He explained: “We made concessions when we became parents. Not everything we do is just because it’s beautiful and we want it. Our sofa is upholstered in an outdoor velvet.” Outdoor fabrics inside? Clever.
But that cushy white couch isn’t just pretty to look at. The fabric really does stay clean. “The other day Jeremiah was like, ‘Who got stuff on the sofa?’ And I was like, ‘Watch this!’ and wiped it off with a sponge and the stain was gone,” Berkus shared.
In addition to using “performance fabric and things that are a little bit more durable,” Berkus says he and Brent have consciously taught their children how to tidy. “We’re teaching our kids [to use] baskets for toy storage. I’d rather look at the outside of a basket than 700 Peppa Pig figurines,” he explained. Same.
Berkus says he also draws on his own experience growing up with an interior designer mother as he parents. “I was taught as a child to respect our parents’ stuff. You didn’t sit on the sofa with your shoes on, and you didn’t go into the living room with food,” Berkus remembered. “We’re trying to raise our kids with the same respect for our possessions, because we’ve worked hard for them.”
The key to a pretty home with or without children? It seems outdoor fabrics and a little dose of respect go a long way.