4 Finishing Touches Nate Berkus Always Includes in a Living Room

These clever finishing touches will transform your living room into a total showstopper with minimal effort

A headshot of a man with dark hair smiling at the camera
(Image credit: Getty Images)

When it comes to putting together a timeless design that works for the various requirements of a room, interior design royalty Nate Berkus has a few tricks up his sleeve. With years of experience in the world of interiors and some seriously lust-worthy home designs under his belt, he certainly knows a thing or two about upgrading a room through a few simple tweaks.

The living room is one of the most used and loved rooms in any home. It's where we lounge around with a coffee and a good book, where we socialize with our family and friends, and, for some of us, it even doubles up as a home office. So, the design of a living room must be spot-on given how often we find ourselves in there. Transforming your living room into a knockout space doesn't have to mean a complete overhaul, though. As Nate knows, just a few finishing touches might be all that the heart of your home needs to elevate the room into something special.

We caught up with Nate to find out his favorite finishing touches for elevating any living room from good to great. Here's what he had to say.

1. Vintage Decor Finds 

A living room with an orange couch and an antique mirror above the mantel

(Image credit: Design by Studio Nato. Photo by Hanna Grankvist)

Using vintage items in your home is a great way to add some real personality. Whether they're items you've owned for a long time or things that you've picked up from a vintage store, antique items undeniably add character to your home and make it feel personal. That's why adding a few vintage items to your living room is one of the top ways to elevate the space.

'I always reach for vintage or antique things that have real patina,' says Nate. 'Vintage lighting, mirrors with faded gilding, or a reclaimed fireplace mantel are all updates that will add personality to your space and feel timeless.' Bold features like these ooze luxuriousness, giving a decadent yet cozy living room feel that will make the room really stand out. 

However, the living room is a super adaptable space, meaning it doesn't necessarily have to be the big features like mirrors, fireplaces, and lighting that incorporate the vintage trend. 'Take a weekend to shop your local antique mall or vintage stores for special and one-of-a-kind things, even if it’s a group of pottery in the same tones for your fireplace or bookshelf,' advises Nate.

2. Throw Pillows and Blankets

Throw blanket on sofa

(Image credit: mDesign)

Nate is a big fan of layering soft textures in a room to create a cozy and relaxed feel. It also adds to the sense that the room is a lived-in, convivial space that's been thoughtfully created by the people who live there. 'New throw pillows and a blanket for your sofa make the room feel more layered and add to the feeling that your space has been assembled over time,' says Nate.

Thinking about the living room color scheme is also important when layering different items within the room as you want them all to tie together. Opting for neutrals is a fail-safe way of ensuring there's harmony in the different textures of the layered pieces throughout your living area. Pillows and blankets add a nice depth to sofas and chairs, making the room feel indulgent and inviting. 'These small details make the space feel more personal,' says Nate.

3. Houseplants and Foliage 

A corner decorated with an olive tree

(Image credit: Shade Degges. Design: Lindye Galloway Studio + Shop)

We're big fans of how houseplants can transform a room and make it feel more alive, and so is Nate. 'Bringing in fresh branches or greenery from outside and putting them in a vase is one of the easiest ways to make your space feel more finished,' he says. 'They add height, scale, and life to the room.'

Using a variety of vases in different materials and colors also adds to the layered look within the room, helping to make a living room look more expensive. Houseplants don't only have the aesthetic benefit of brightening up the living area space and making it feel fresh, but the best houseplants can improve the overall air quality, making them a healthy choice for the area of the home we spend the majority of our time in. 

4. A Textured Rug

Leave breathing space when it comes to placing your rug in your living room

(Image credit: Havenly)

When designing a living room, the floor can often get overlooked. While you're torn on deciding on the best sofa and the best wall art to match your accent chair, the floor can easily be neglected, but this large surface area can have more of an impact on your space than you might think. 

When it comes to living room flooring ideas, the right rug will elevate the space and tie all of the other features together. 'A classic, neutral rug with texture is a great way to update a living room space and immediately change the look and feel of the room,' says Nate. Opting for a neutral rug as Nate suggests means that the texture can do the talking and allows you to go for bolder colors with the furniture. Contrasting the texture of the rug with the flooring material is a powerful way to lift the living room and turn it into one of the showstopper areas within your home. 

Imogen Williams
Trainee writer

Imogen is a freelance writer and student on the Magazine Journalism master's degree at City, University of London following her Modern Languages degree at The University of Exeter. She has written for lifestyle and popular culture magazines as well as wellness and sports magazines. She has a long-standing interest in interior design and London architecture and is a firm believer in the power of bold wallpaper.