Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent’s Top 5 Design Tips for Pet Parents

Most people—design-world superstars Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent included—consider their pet to be part of the family. But when making design decisions, there’s a bit of a language barrier between us and the four-legged members of our household. Pets require comfort and utility, while their humans want to show off a uniquely stylish home. With the expansion of the Nate + Jeremiah for PetSmart collection into furniture for cats and dogs, Berkus and Brent aim to satisfy the demands of design lovers and their furry companions.

So how do the pair imagine their cat, Olive, would design her space if she could communicate? A lot like Karen Walker (Megan Mullally) from Will and Grace, the iconic character who takes a job as personal assistant to interior designer Grace Adler (Debra Messing) as a way to entertain herself. “She would be designing with a martini in her hand,” Brent says. “Just, like, firing her clients constantly.” Read on to find out how design fanatics can make their beloved pets’ spaces be en vogue.

Find balance between function and beauty

When incorporating pet products into your home, it’s important to look for pieces that are both aesthetically pleasing and functional. The Nate and Jeremiah Home Project stars think it’s essential for pet parents to bring items into their homes that blend in, elevate the space, and can withstand wear and tear. Berkus and Brent’s new collection includes a white chestnut pet den, which Berkus says “could be at the sides of a sofa or even used as a nightstand.” A piece like this offers not only beautiful design, but functionality for both pet and paw-rent.

Chestnut Wood Finish Side Table

Opt for timeless materials and finishes…

Using neutral, subtly designed pet bowls and beds will ensure that your human furniture remains the focal point of the room. The AD 100 honorees’ new collection for cats and dogs is inspired by French midcentury and pulls upon timeless fabrics and patterns like ticking stripes, bouclé, and vegan leather, all of which have a classic quality that can be incorporated effortlessly into a variety of design aesthetics. “The whole idea behind the collection is that it blends in seamlessly to your life,” Brent says. Consider buying easy-to-work-with colors (think cream, gray, and black) and mid-toned wood finishes when shopping for pet products so your other carefully curated home items can shine.

…but don’t sacrifice your personal style

Another way to ensure your furry friend’s style doesn’t detract from your own is to opt for pet pieces that match your design style quite literally. When expanding their collection, Brent and Berkus blew up the scale of their previously designed cognac vegan-leather reptile sofa to adapt it for cats and dogs. It is a sofa design which Berkus says is not too dissimilar from the vintage leather sofa in the duo’s Montauk home. If you happen to obsess over Scandi designs, like the Eero Aarnio ball chair, Tuft and Paw makes a spherical cat bed that offers a similar vibe. Likewise, midcentury-modern loving dog parents might prefer a wavy tinted glass dog bowl from the Sophie Lou Jacobsen collaboration with Love Thy Beast.

Lean in to multifaceted pieces

Who doesn’t love a dynamic duo? Berkus and Brent emphasize duality as an essential feature to their design approach for both humans and animals alike. The pair’s first collection with PetSmart focused on reptiles and small pets, and the two were amazed to see how their designs came to serve multiple purposes for folks sharing on social media. “There’s a ceramic pet hideout that we made [for small critters], and somebody made it into sconces,” Brent says. Even their daughter, Poppy, is benefitting from the multifunctional nature of their designs: “All of the small pet stuff went immediately into her Barbie house,” Berkus says. Infusing a space with multiuse decor expands your design arsenal and allows for one to decorate in a fashion that will please both you and your pet.

Hone in on vintage items and lived-in finishes

As pet parents know, even the most obedient dog or tolerant cat could have an accident on a Persian rug or scratch the seat of a Bellini sofa. In order to combat this, Berkus and Brent frequently utilize vintage and patinaed pieces in their work, creating chic spaces that are simultaneously pet friendly. “We don’t design, even for people, to have them feel beholden to their stuff,” the Nate Home designer says. “A cat walking across an antique coffee table or an old stone side table is not going to do anything to it.” Using hearty and vintage pieces allow animal-loving home designers to retain a unique feel.