Nate Berkus Says This Room Deserves Extra Attention When Renovating On A Budget

Nate Berkus is well-known for his room makeovers and house renovations. Back in his early days as a guest on "The Oprah Winfrey Show," the future "The Nate & Jeremiah By Design" star wowed fans with his magic as he renovated more than 100 spaces over eight years— sometimes on a Wal-Mart budget. Years later, Berkus still has strong feelings about what makes a successful home renovation. Noting that most people must stick to a budget when decorating and renovating, he offered his top pick for the room that deserves the most attention from said budget. "I'd say the kitchen, as it's one of the hardest-working spaces in the home," Berkus told My Domaine in an interview.

According to data posted by Houzz, kitchens are one of the most popular areas for renovations, falling just behind bathrooms. A kitchen remodel comes with an average price tag of somewhere between $14,620 and $41,000, the outlet noted. But it's worth the splurge, per Berkus. "An upgraded kitchen adds value to your home," he told Fox Business.

So, what's the best way to spend your renovation budget? Berkus has tips on that, too.

Nate Berkus revealed what to spend money on—and what not to

In an interview with Driven by Decor, Berkus noted that one of the least expensive kitchen renovations is painting the cabinets yourself and upgrading the hardware. "If you use the right primer and you sand first, you can do that yourself in a weekend," he said. Berkus also recommended that homeowners avoid shelling out money for patterned backsplash tiles or patterned flooring. The designer clarified that he doesn't dislike patterned floors or backsplashes but just feels it's safer to keep the kitchen neutral.

As for what to spend the budget on, Berkus did not hesitate to advise putting the money into high-quality appliances. "I would say that you need to invest in the best appliances that you can afford," he suggested. "It doesn't matter how much time people like you or I can spend researching the perfect backsplash tile or the perfect brass knob, if you have a hungry family and your refrigerator doesn't work, it's over." He shared a similar tip with Fox Business. "Buy appliances that are timeless and classic and will stand the test of time, and building materials that are classic and forever," he said. "[If you] put something in the oven and it doesn't work, who cares how pretty your tile is. Ultimately you want to invest in the best suite of appliances you can afford."

Nate Berkus said to keep things classic and avoid trends

Berkus also has a major rule of thumb that he follows. "If it looks like it could have been there in 1920, it's a safe bet for a kitchen that will stand the test of time that you won't grow tired of," he told Style Blueprint, adding, "And I hate trends; I really do." Case in point: Berkus kept 100-year-old cabinets in his own kitchen and simply updated them with paint and new hardware. "If you can keep a portion of the kitchen — not everything has to match — you will end up saving a ton of money," he said. The HGTV star explained that many people are so concerned with following trends that their own personal style gets lost in the shuffle.

Berkus also believes a kitchen doesn't necessarily have to look like a kitchen and should instead include elements, such as artwork and lamps, that aren't usually associated with a cooking space. Speaking with Domino, he explained, "Personally, I find it to be a mistake to make a kitchen so decidedly utilitarian. We spend so much time in that room that I don't want to look at a blender."