Decorating tips from famous designer Bobby Berk for the holidays and beyond

Leaving home at age fifteen to settle in big city Denver, Bobby Berk has come a long way from his humble roots growing up in a conservative small town in Missouri. He is perhaps best known for quickly turning homes from shabby to chic on Netflix. strange eye, but Berk has built a career in design over the past two decades, moving from executive roles at Restoration Hardware and Portico to launching his own line of furniture, BobbyBerk.com.

Today you’ll find him judging professional glassblowers on the new holiday edition of the Netflix series. Soufflé, and in partnership with the photography company Shutterfly.

Forbes caught up with the famous designer just in time for the holidays to get his creative gifts and entertaining tips, as well as his home design predictions for the New Year.


How did you get into design?

It sounds cliché, but I was drawn to design from a young age. I was constantly moving things around in my room and trying out different arrangements. I remember when I was younger I walked into Target with my mom and saw the kettle that Michael Graves had designed. It was then that I realized the purpose of a designer and that everyday objects could be both functional and beautiful. It really inspired me to explore and think about design in a different way. It was probably the catalyst that drove me to do what I’m doing today.

How did you get involved with Soufflé?

Like so many people, I became obsessed with the show after the first season. So when I had the opportunity to host the Christmas special, it was an immediate “yes”! In an age where much of what we use is factory or machine made, it’s amazing to see artists working with their hands and bringing things to life. I’m still blown away (no pun intended) by how it all turns out.

Tell me about your collaboration with Shutterfly.

I am so excited to partner with Shutterfly for the holidays. More than two-thirds of consumers are planning in-person gatherings, holiday parties and larger celebrations this year. Shutterfly makes it easy to unleash our creativity after a year of separation.

I love to turn hidden gems, whether it’s a photo from your camera roll or a funny saying that only you understand, into meaningful adornments and holiday decorations. I recently hosted my friends over Thanksgiving and rather than using place cards, I personalized wine glasses for each guest. Not only is it a fun takeout, but no one mixes their drink up at the party once they put it down.

What are your three best decorating tips for the holidays?

I suggest choosing a color palette of two to three colors and using them throughout the house. While I love classic holiday decors, I try to avoid the usual Kelley green and bright reds and focus on styling my home with gold accents.

Lighting is so important. I like to keep it simple by using white lights – they’re perfect for any space. Candles also add a nice personal touch.

Photos are also a great way to decorate for the holidays. Whether it’s adding temporary photo tiles with your favorite vacation memories, decorating your tree with personalized ornaments, or finding the best photos of your guests and using them as badges or place cards.

How can people enhance the decor of their holiday table?

Keep it simple with little personal touches in the space and on the table, like adding a fun photo or familiar saying to serving plates and glasses.

I also love classic holiday decorations like stockings and ornaments. If I’m throwing a party, I’ll add a personalized ornament to the table decor or personalized wine glasses for my place cards. Both can serve a dual purpose as a party favor.

Adding greenery to your table is another great inexpensive and eco-friendly way to bring your table to life for your event.

What are your favorite gifts to give to hosts?

My go-to is usually a candle. There are so many ways to add a personal touch, whether it’s a special scent, a saying or a funny photo. You also can’t go wrong bringing them a bottle of their favorite wine or spirits.

If you are hosting yourself, what are your preparation tips to make the holidays less stressful?

If I’m having a party, I use personalized ornaments or personalized wine glasses as place cards. Best of all, they can also be given to guests as a favor at the end of the night – that’s one less gift to stress!

Personalization is another great way to spark conversation and make everyone feel special. Finding the best photos of your guests and using them as badges or place cards is always a winner in my book. I also always have a signature holiday cocktail to serve – my favorite is a gin and tonic.

Do you have any creative tips to make vacation get-togethers on Zoom more exciting?

If you have the time, sending a gift that each family member can open through Zoom will help make your virtual vacation reunion more “in person”.

Be creative with ornaments! My favorite is the Christmas cube ornament from Shutterfly. This year I changed some family photos to black and white and added them to the ornament. Since my aesthetic leans more modern, I like the simplicity of this ornament.

However, you can never go wrong with any style of ornament. It’s something you can make very meaningful and always associate a memory with, whether it’s a photo from your camera roll or a funny saying that only you and your recipient would understand.

With people spending more time at home over the past year and a half, we have all become more sensitive to our surroundings. What advice do you have to make our homes both more functional and more peaceful to work and live?

Ultimately, your home is your refuge, that’s where you’re going to unplug yourself, so take the time to make it a place that makes you happy. I always tell everyone to get rid of anything you don’t use or need first. There is a lot of clutter that we carry around our homes – a cluttered house contributes to a cluttered mind. Once you’ve taken the clutter away, you can actually enjoy the rooms in your home that make you happy and make you space.

What home design trends do you anticipate for 2022?

After spending so much time indoors, people are really starting to understand how our spaces duplicate us and the importance of investing in their space. I expect layers of texture, plenty of comfortable, padded pieces, and a softer color palette, whether neutral or colorful. I think people will start to create relaxed and inviting spaces throughout the house, rather than keeping things too picky and formal.


Some interview responses have been edited for length and clarity.


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