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July 17, 2018 11:26 AM

Bobby Berk has redesigned more than a dozen homes on the first two seasons of Netflix’s Queer Eye, frequently using color to punch up a sad space. But when it came to decorating his own downtown L.A. loft, the designer took a different approach.

“I like it to be very muted, more on the dark side with masculine tones,” he tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue.

After 15 years of living in New York City, Berk, 36, says that he and his husband, Dewey Do, a maxillofacial surgeon, “are ready for that L.A. life!” The open space—in a 114-year-old former train station—”is huge to us,” he adds.

Growing up in tiny Mount Vernon, Mo., Berk says, he was always interested in design.

“I do remember when I was little, I had to have been no more than 6, I redid my room. I talked my mom into taking me to a store, and I got, like, all coordinating blue, green and yellow colors, and the theme was dinosaurs,” he says.

Justin Coit

At 15, he left home; “I couldn’t come out in the town that I lived in,” he says.

He moved first to Springfield, Mo., and then to Denver. At 21, he arrived in New York “with three months’ rent and $100 to spare.” His first job was managing a Restoration Hardware store. By 2006 he was running Bobby Berk Home, his own home furnishings company.

Berk, who landed the role as the resident design expert on the Emmy-nominated series last year, has a formula for designing a space that makes people feel welcome.

Justin Coit

“I use different textures to create layers,” he says. “They’re all coordinated to create a very homey and lush feeling.”

Berk also revealed what item he feels people should invest the most money in.

“To me, the one thing you should splurge on, if you only have a certain amount of money to spend, is your bed because you spend about 30 percent of your life in bed, and you should be comfortable, and you should wake up every day just feeling good,” says Berk, who sleeps on a $3,500 king-size Magniflex MagniStretch mattress.

Justin Coit

He also shared his best tip for creating a work station at home.

“I’m constantly taking calls and responding to e-mails at home, and I find it best to have that little work space,” Berk says. “And then when you’re not at that little space, it’s not work anymore.”

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