Interior designer Nate Berkus shares 5 easy ways to upgrade your work-from-home space

  • Interior designer Nate Berkus is the co-host of HGTV's "Nate & Jeremiah Save My House."
  • He says the first step to upgrading your home office is to clean it, then you can fill it with things you love.
  • He recommends designating a clean, simple area as a background for virtual calls.
  • Candles and fresh flowers can also liven up a workspace.
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

People are spending more time in their homes during the coronavirus pandemic, from working remotely to attending school online and streaming virtual events. 

Interior designer Nate Berkus, who co-hosts "Nate & Jeremiah Save My House" and will appear on the upcoming season of "Rock the Block" on HGTV, still wants people to find joy in their living spaces, even if the same four walls are becoming tiresome after months of social distancing.

While promoting a partnership with Starbucks to help families take virtual holiday portraits, Berkus spoke with Insider over Zoom to share his recommendations for upgrading work-from-home spaces.

First, clean your living space

"The first thing everyone needs to do is clean your house," Berkus told Insider. "You've got the time, you don't have to be showered and dressed to do it, no one's watching you. You've gotta go through the drawers, the closets, the rooms, the spaces, not only the things you have hidden but the things that are actually out, and make a decision about whether those things can be donated, whether they serve you, whether they make you happy."

Berkus says that cleanliness is often an indicator of one's overall well-being. Working in a clean house can help life feel a little more under control.

"The first thing that starts to go when we get overwhelmed and stressed and have a million things happening is the state of the house starts to fall apart," he said. "It's kind of a very true barometer of how we're doing."

Maximize the space you have by designing rooms with multipurpose functions

Even if your living space doesn't have a separate home office, you can repurpose other spaces with your work needs in mind.

"Reassigning each space a multipurpose or new purpose I think is realistic right now for everybody," he said. "We really need to be capitalizing on the square footage that we've got … That bathroom might have to have a console table under the window with a lamp on it and our laptop because it's the quietest place with the kids in the house running around."

Bathrooms may need to become temporary conference rooms.
Michieru/Getty Images

Fill your office or workspace with things you love

Berkus believes in filling your rooms with things that you love to make them places you enjoy being.

"The fun part is going online and buying things that you love," Berkus said. "Like, buy that pair of vintage lamps that you've always wanted. Buy the pillows made out of the African textile or South American textile that you really want to live with. We're in these environments almost 24 hours a day, and winter is coming, so make it nice."

Designate a certain area as a background for video calls

Berkus recommends setting aside a neat, simple area to serve as the background of virtual calls.

"You don't want to have the background distract from what you're saying and what you're doing," he said. "If you can angle where you're sitting so that you just see a wall with bookshelves behind you or there's uniformity or symmetry, it's usually a lot better … No one wants to see your shampoo bottles, no one wants to see your hairbrush. That stuff needs to be swept away."

Kate Middleton and Prince William's elegant background for virtual events.
Kensington Palace

Prince William and Kate Middleton have the right idea — a simple framed photograph and clean background made for a great backdrop at one of their recent virtual events.

Add vibrant, homey touches

"Fresh flowers, even from the grocery store, and a candle burning never hurt anybody," Berkus said.

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