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The Things That Matter

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  810 ratings  ·  125 reviews
Does your home tell the story of who you are?
In The Things That Matter, Nate Berkus shares intimate stories from his life, introduces us to people who influenced him and helped him forge his sense of style, and opens up about the remarkable experiences that have left him forever changed, all of which find expression in how he lives today. From his most cherished flea m
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published October 16th 2012 by Spiegel & Grau (first published January 1st 2012)
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3.84  · 
Rating details
 ·  810 ratings  ·  125 reviews

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Jenn Ravey
Mar 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing


The rule in my home when it comes to decorating is this: If I don’t love it, I don’t buy it. That may mean that I live without the right piece of furniture for a while. It might even mean a wall remains black for four years (ahem). But I’m not a Kirkland’s fan. I’m not going to buy something just to buy. The result is a very “me” home. It’s certainly not to everyone’s taste, I’m sure, but I love it. The downside of all those meaningful objects? Well, all that meaning. Makes
Dec 19, 2012 rated it did not like it
I love Nate Berkus, but I was disappointed in his book. Ironically, I felt the book was poorly designed for such a great concept. There were too many lengthy blocks of text without enough pictures to complement the stories. Also, I wish he'd chosen a more eclectic group of people to feature and profile. Plus, where was Oprah?! Featuring her home would have made the book ten times more interesting. The most meaningful story in this book was not about design, but about Nate's heart-wrenching trage ...more
Oct 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Oh Nate Berkus you confound me. I would love to sit next to you on a long flight across the country and pick your brain. If you came to my house, you would be astonished at the sheer number of toys that litter the floors, counters, closets and shelves of my home. In another life (read: before marriage and kids), I was a neat-as-a-pin, a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place, freak-about-making-the-bed-just-right kind of girl, and you and I might have been friends. (Growing up, my sist ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: design, style
I have never seen Nate Berkus on television, didn't know a thing about him except that he maybe had been on Oprah once or twice. I don't watch Oprah so didn't know for sure.

I LOVED this book. What a great introduction to Nate's philosophy. I learned a lot about trusting my own taste and not apologizing for my style. Why not surround myself with things that remind me of my life's best moments. Nate and his client's homes actually resemble mine - an experience I rarely have with decor books. I th
Oct 02, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One of my favorite things is turning the pages of a decorating/design book and enjoying the photos of wonderfully created and recreated rooms.

Nate Berkus's "The Things That Matter" had lovely photos...but all in black and white in this Advanced Reader Copy, which made it challenging to imagine the rooms in color, as they will be in the final version.

However, after the initial disappointment about the photos, I was immediately captivated by the text and the author's story. For his mission in desi
Dec 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I didn't really know anything but the basics about Nate Berkus when I came across this book: he went from a regular on Oprah to having his own show and he lost his partner in the tsunami several years ago. I was just expecting a book of pretty pictures that might give me a thing or 2 to borrow for my own home someday. I wasn't even sure I would finish it.
I was maybe a third of the way through before I started moving my furniture around, and now I finally understand how people actually find usefu
Sep 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: first-reads
I was lucky enough to win an advance uncorrected proof thru Goodreads’ First Reads.
Here’s what I found.
If you’re looking for a book that tells you step-by-step instructions on how to decorate your living room, this is not the book for you.
If you’re looking to be inspired by a heart-warming story and interesting people, then you can’t miss this book.
I’ve been a fan of Nate Berkus ever since he first started appearing on Oprah, and I always thought he seemed a nice and charming guy. What this b
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Let me just plunge in here: I LOVE this book. Every dripping word. I could hear Nate's voice carry through in each description and every little joke. His enormous passion for creating a space you love is contagious. And his adoration for every friend featured in the book was inspiring. If we are a reflection of those we attract, Nate has collected a gorgeous and mercurial tribe. His love for story is marvelous as he unquestionably values the resonance a memory carries. Nate infuses every space w ...more
I never thought a design book could make me feel so much.
Virginia Campbell
Dec 25, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"The Things That Matter" are important because they are pieces of our life, physical reminders of hopes, dreams, and memories. Author and design expert Nate Berkus offers a baker's dozen of very different lives and lifestyles, but the most fascinating story remains his own. Influenced at a young age by his interior designer mother and image-conscious entrepreneur father, Nate marched through his childhood to the beat of his own unique drum, and he continues to follow his own inner compass to thi ...more
Mar 22, 2017 rated it did not like it
I thought I liked Nate Burkus' style until I read this book. This felt like a gigantic montage to himself rather than a design book. Long blocks of boring text with pics of over decorated spaces. He spends far too much time talking about himself and his things. Or other people's things that he found for them. I wasn't inspired at all.
Dec 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
I love Nate Berkus so I picked this up thinking it would be a typical coffee table decorating book. The book turned out to be not at all what I expected - it was so much better!! In actuality, this book is a condensed biography of Nate Berkus's life, and chapters containing not just beautiful homes, but how people's personal "things" that have meaning to them, make a home. The message of the book is that a home can be beautifully decorated, but if you don't walk in and feel a sense of who that p ...more
Dec 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2012
Nate Berkus is so much more than a designer, someone I know from years of watching Oprah and oh, so handsome. He has depth, he has an understanding of who is he and how he got here. This book is that and so much more. It was pure enjoyment.
Nov 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
Loved this book & Berkus's philosophy behind it. He is such an interesting person, I've always been a big fan of his style, wit & generous sharing with us of his life & experiences. This is the book if you like him.
Jose Santos
Dec 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Um livro delicioso e aconchegante sobre as coisas que realmente têm importância na vida.
Apr 13, 2013 marked it as to-read
I absolutely love how Nate talks about Dr. Ruth being like rain in the dessert in the absence of any other media saying that it was okay to be gay when he was growing up. Her home is beautiful, too!
Kayla Hollatz
Dec 01, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is less of an interior design book and more of a (quite stunning) documentation of how the things around us affect our everyday lives. I didn't expect to love the book as much as I did. It inspired me to start writing the stories behind each item I hold dear, something I've been enjoying immensely. Each story is incredibly powerful and I love how there's a mix of his friends and clients. I can't say enough about this book! (Also, seeing him thank his ghostwriter in the back of the book made ...more
Dec 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
A nice book to escape into and look at. I picked it up from the library after hearing him again on Oprah’s podcasts. Some of his ideas are a little out there for the everyday person, but you can take what you need from the elements and go from there. Enjoyed how many of the homes bring so many natural elements in. This book was written before Marie Kondo took over the world of decluttering and getting rid of everything in one’s house and I kind of liked that too!
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book and am going online right now to buy it (I read a library copy). This book is where Nate tells his story of surviving the tsunami and losing his partner, Fernando, what happened, how he grieved, and how he moved on. It is also a huge design book filled with pictures of homes he designed, or friends’ homes that he thinks you should see. It’s a really great book.
Susan White-Riggs
Mar 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
I loved the pictures, and enjoyed the thought of my things meaning something
Angela Coleman
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. More for the stories than the design “advice”. As an avid sentimental collector each one of the stories in this book was fascinating to me!
Dec 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Nate Shares his decorating philosophy.
Claudia Haag
Feb 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful book!. I think Fernando would be proud.
Mar 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Vapid and shallow

I was expecting a memoir, and the first few chapters were that. The chapter about the events of December 26th 2994 were heart wrenching, but it was all downhill after that. At the heart of it, I realize it comes to my profound disagreement with the lifestyle. No, like that. I’m talking about the glorification of stuff, and the delusion that things can bring you happiness. The book is basically a description of random junk that various acquaintances of Nate have acquired over the
Feb 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This book made me pull out the silhouettes that my mom had done of each of us four children over forty years ago and find a place for them on my wall, it made me root out the iron bulldog bank my grandmother gave me and place it on a tray with two brass candle sticks(wedding gift of 33 years ago)- also ferreted out of a closet to sit with the dog on the tray.

"As I've said over and over again, our homes should tell the stories of who we are. Not who our decorator is. Not who our friends sometimes
Mar 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Fans of Home Interiors
I think Nate Berkus is great. He's passionate about what he does, strives to make the interiors of homes beautiful and full of a person's character and heart, and he is someone with an interesting story who found his calling in life. All of those things make him a fascinating person to read about. It also doesn't hurt that he is Jewish, gay, and good-looking. But a whole book about the special items found in the homes of many of his friends is not as interesting as it sounds. In fact, it gets ve ...more
Jul 19, 2013 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fans of nate berkus and the modernized classic aesthetic
3 stars

i love nate berkus and his homes, and his personal and design story is very compellingly told here. i love a lot less the design acumen of his friends profiled along with him.

i read the e-book, which is always a poor substitute for the large, hard-copy coffee table book design resources are supposed to be. as it was, my e-book spaced the pictures oddly; made it, as always, very difficult to scroll back to rooms discussed on page 35 but pictured on page 27; and captured the pictures poorl
Angela Risner
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
I've long admired Nate Berkus' sense of style. And he's easy on the eyes. Wish he played for my team. But I digress.

I knew little about his personal life beyond what I caught in snippets, as I didn't watch Oprah. I did know that he was in Sri Lanka when the tsunami hit in 2004 and that he lost his partner, Fernando Bengoechea, in that tragedy.

The first chapter in this book details out Berkus' early years and the effect his parents (and their divorce) had on him and his style. He was always into
"The Things That Matter convincingly lays out Nate Berkus’s philosophy that things do matter. Our homes tell our stories, they reflect the places we’ve been and the people we’ve loved along the way—and there can be no more beautiful design for living than that."

I forget how this ended up on my radar, but I started glancing through the intro (the book is far more text than photos), and whoa, I had no idea Nate Berkus survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and lost his partner there. That part was
Mar 13, 2013 rated it it was ok
I was really excited about this book because I thought it would be different from the decorating magazines which I look through and think 'My house will never look like that'. But it made me feel the same way.

I like the idea of taking your time to decorate and accumulating things over time. I like the idea of mixing old and new but everytime I buy something at a flea market I don't know what to do with it and it ends up in my basement. I would have appreciated more tips about how to display thi
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“Your Home should tell the story of who you are, and be a Collection of what you Love.” 0 likes
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