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Bobby Berk Talks Debut Book, All About the Connection Between Home Design and Mental Health (Exclusive)

The 'Queer Eye' decor guru's ‘Right at Home’ will be published on Tuesday, Sept. 12

<p>Max Montgomery/Courtesy of Bobby Berk</p> Bobby Berk

Max Montgomery/Courtesy of Bobby Berk

Bobby Berk's debut book 'Right at Home' will be published on Sept. 12.

Bobby Berk is bringing his design expertise from the small screen to the page!

On Tuesday, Sept. 12, Queer Eye’s decor guru is publishing his first book, Right at Home: How Good Design is Good for the Mind, which gives readers tools and tips to find the connection between mental wellness and good home design.

“I didn't feel like putting out a coffee table book that’s filled with a bunch of pretty pictures that often have unattainable spaces,” Berk, 42, tells PEOPLE.

Instead, Berk decided that he “wanted to do a book about design that could help people and teach them that making your space work for you can really help your mental wellness.”

<p>Clarkson Potter</p> Right at Home: How Good Design Is Good for the Mind

Clarkson Potter

Right at Home: How Good Design Is Good for the Mind

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Though the interior designer notes his role on the show is to breathe life into sometimes downtrodden spaces, he says he’s seen a connection between mental health and design since he was a young child.

“I was sitting in my room and I realized that the all red my mother had decorated my room in – the red bedspread, the red curtains, the red pillows, the red rugs – really gave me anxiety. It did not make me feel good,” Berk says. “I saved up my birthday money, and I changed everything to all blue because I knew that blue just made me feel better.”

Right at Home provides readers with his advice over seven chapters, each with a room guide to help guide the process even further. He also uses techniques with roots in mental health, like the "54321 Method," a grounding exercise used to manage anxiety. 

<p>Sara Ligorria-Tramp</p> Bobby Berk in a kitchen featured in his book that he designed.

Sara Ligorria-Tramp

Bobby Berk in a kitchen featured in his book that he designed.

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Typically, the technique asks its practitioner to focus on five things the person can see, four the person can touch, three things they hear, two they smell, and one thing they can taste as a way to recenter themselves in a stressful situation.

Berk employs this method to think of a room in terms of the five senses and trying to ground readers in finding items to fill their space that are able to activate the senses.

"I wanted to break it down in a way that people could just understand and say, ‘Oh, design isn't that hard," he says. “I think that a lot of times people look at design as something that there's a science to. [They think] you have to have training and money and know all these things. But really, it's basic."

“I want people to realize that design can be democratized,” Berk adds. “I want people to realize that design is for everyone. Making your space work for you is for everyone.”

<p>ALANNA HALE/REAL SIMPLE</p> Bobby Berk designed the Real Simple Home's living room.

ALANNA HALE/REAL SIMPLE

Bobby Berk designed the Real Simple Home's living room.

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Berk took his design prowess to the Real Simple Home's living room, adding his own creative spin to the publication's home. The project included a slate of talented designers like Berk as well as Michelle Gage, Linda Hayslett, David Quarles IV, Megan Hopp and Kim and Scott Vargo of Yellow Brick Home.

The Queer Eye designers says transforming the Brooklyn penthouse, and other more freeform projects, "are the most fun because I can do whatever I want."

"When it's a space that there is no client involved, we can be quirky and just have fun," Berk adds.

Right at Home: How Good Design Is Good for the Mind will be published on Tuesday, Sept. 12.

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