Nate Berkus just shared his definitive list on where to splurge (and where to save) when designing a timeless kitchen

It's no surprise that the renowned interior designer suggests hitting the antique shops for most of your kitchen essentials

A side by side of Nate Berkus and his kitchen
(Image credit: Nate Home; Kelly Marshall / Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent)

It's no secret that a kitchen renovation is quite a daunting task. With so many design elements – both functional and stylish – to keep in mind, even the smallest decorating decisions can quickly set your head spinning. And even if you have a clear picture of your dream kitchen, budgetary worries often get in the way. 

While there's plenty available to shop no matter your budget, you might be questioning how much to spend on each element of your kitchen remodel. And if you're unsure about which design features warrant a bit more of a splurge, you're certainly not alone. 

Luckily, world-renowned interior designer Nate Berkus just took to Instagram to share the places he suggests spending a bit more in the kitchen – plus where to hold back. And perhaps unsurprisingly, the antique-loving designer says sourcing vintage goods can take you quite a long way. Here's what Nate recommends.

Nate says there are two main kitchen design elements that deserve a bit more of a splurge: appliances and durable countertop materials. Because these functional features will likely be used on a daily basis, it's best to invest in quality, long-lasting (and trend-defying) products. Nate adds that choosing the 'right' material for your countertops matters less than picking something you're sure to love in the long term.

'You can do it once if you do it right, and you'll always have it. Natural stone, solid surface, it doesn't matter what it is, but if it's something that you really want to live with for 25 years, then make the investment now,' he says in the video.

Although he admits he's not the biggest chef (mentioning that his husband, just-announced Queer Eye star Jeremiah Brent, spends more time cooking), Nate says appliances are another place to put down some cash. According to Nate, the Viking stove in their kitchen is the best Jeremiah's ever worked with, and its customizable color selection meant it found a perfect fit in the couple's sophisticated and sleek kitchen.

Headshot of Nate Berkus
Nate Berkus

Since Nate’s first appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2002, he has become one of the world’s most recognizable interior designers. He has authored two New York Times bestselling books and stars alongside his husband, Jeremiah Brent, in HGTV's Nate & Jeremiah Home Project.

A marble kitchen with large arched skylights

(Image credit: Kelly Marshall / Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent)

As for places to save in the kitchen? Nate says 'everywhere else.' The designer is an antique-sourcing pro, and loves a timeless, transitional design style over trends or fads any day. And though the kitchen probably isn't the first room that comes to mind when you think vintage goods, Nate says there's lots of room to fit previously used items in, even in a culinary space.

In his video, Nate points out small decorative horse figurines and a wooden bowl sitting on a shelf behind the stove, mentioning that they all cost less than $10 at antique stores. Many of the rest of the family's decorative and organizational items came from antiquing adventures – or were simply the results of some good deals.

'The containers that hold the olive oil, some are from Target. Even the container we use to hold our wooden spoons is a wood vase or vessel – I think we found this at an antique shop in Michigan. I want to say it was five bucks,' says Nate.

'Invest in the things that are built in, invest in the things that will really get a lot of use, that you won't be tired of 25 years from now, and everything else, go out, try to find vintage options. But if you can't, just get the best deals,' he continues.

You may not have had a trip to the antique store on your kitchen design to-do list, but with Nate's take, it might be best to head out and see what you can uncover. Not only will you save your money for the kitchen features that matter most, but you'll channel Nate's signature transitional style along the way.

Abby Wilson
News Writer

I am a News Writer at Homes & Gardens, with a focus on interior design. Most recently, I worked with Better Homes & Gardens, where I wrote and edited content about home decor, gardening tips, food news, and more. Before that, I studied Journalism and English Literature at New York University. I’ve moved around quite a bit in the last several years, most recently making the trip to London, and love transforming each new space into a comfortable retreat that feels like home. When it comes to decor, I’m most drawn to unique vintage finds and calming colors.