Last holiday season 54kibo.com teamed up with art curator Jae Joseph to select the perfect gifts for holiday, all inspired by contemporary African design, all shoppable at 54kibo.com. Jae shared his 12 design and home decor tips for those wanting to add a professional touch to their next holiday gathering, and while the holidays may look different in 2020, don’t forego the details even if your party is much smaller this year. If you are having a few people over, they will really feel special knowing you took the time to make everything perfect even for an intimate gathering.

Here’s a message from Jae:

We are blessed to live in a time where we have direct access to so much wonderful art from around the globe. Being a curator myself, I love connecting with cultural art and artistry from around the world and learning about the story that lies within each and every design piece. That’s why I’m so excited to collaborate with 54kibo on their holiday collection.

I stand behind the mission of 54kibo: to make art of African descent available across the United States and to tell the stories of the continent’s rich history. My ancestry traces back to the West Indies, a product of the African Diaspora, and the distinct lineage that is a part of my heritage still impacts my design vision to this day. 54kibo.com highlights the Diaspora’s often forgotten craftsmanship, and that is reason enough to be excited about the brand and the beautiful artists it represents.



  1. Add a pop of color to your table. I use bold pieces like these Yael et Valerie placemats, turquoise ceramic bowls with gold rim or these handwoven sisal baskets from Swaziland to adorn my table and bring in more color.
  2. Choose items that tell rich stories. When I use pieces such as Yael et Valerie's placemats or these intricately woven Ethiopian cotton throw blankets in gold, I am able to share with my holiday guests the story that the designer is trying to tell. They’re a great conversation piece!
  3. Add special touches to the bathroom. When you host a party, the bathroom is sure to see a lot of traffic. Ensure your guests feel at home by adding soft touches such as an all-natural potpourri or some Eu’Genia Shea Skincare. The smells alone will leave them swooning.
  4. Accent the home festively. Grab a few glass vases (they do not have to cost much) and fill them with colorful ornaments, stacked one on top of the other. I like to include a few in my foyer for guests to see when they first enter - it's inexpensive, eye-catching, and screams holiday.


  1. Take a minimalist's approach to accessorizing. I am a design minimalist through and through. I like to keep solids the main focus and add in a variety of patterns that are eye-catching, such as these Yael et Valerie pillows, iconic graphic pillows from South Africa, or these handwoven Egyptian wool rugs. Accessories can quickly refresh a room. There's an interesting story in the design details of mother-daughter duo Yael and Valerie, if you have a few moments to read.
  2. Select centerpieces that add depth and drama. Centerpieces can be minimal yet impactful. Use minimalist lighting like these necklace pendant lighting in white, for a dramatic effect.
  3. Sustainability reigns supreme. Before bringing furniture, housewares, or art into my home, I look for the sustainability of the item. How will it live alongside the other pieces in my home; is it something that has authentic value to me personally? I loved learning about how this family owned business upcycles natural wood using Ghanaian woodworking tradition and how Kiliim is rejuvenating flat-weave rug making along the Nile region in Egypt.
  4. Embrace plants. Greenery can add great color and texture inside the home. Evergreen, think wreaths and Christmas trees, can ignite our most primitive sense, smell, and link it to memories of holidays past. I like to hang a wreath on my front door and also drape the windows with some fresh greens. To add intimacy, I also like to fill my home with colors of the forest through textiles or decor like in this framed print and green pillow.


  1. Let the lights shine. The winter season is a time to really experiment with light, whether hanging from a tree or lit by candles, integrating light into the space gives added depth and detail to your holiday home design. I purchase inexpensive white lights and pick a few distinct places to wrap them, such as my Christmas tree and window frames. I also like to use table lamps to create intimate spaces in different parts of my home..
  2. Leave a welcome note or a gift. Hand written cards with a small welcome gift show you have taken the time to think about your guests. I like to include a card written to each of my guests and set it at their place at my dinner table. When my guests read what’s inside, they are filled with emotion. It really makes me feel connected to each of them. I love that each Eu’Genia Shea Skincare set includes four 2oz tins that can be split into inexpensive yet luxurious welcome gifts for my guests.
  3. Never skip a beautiful display of desserts. Bake a dozen cookies or your favorite pie and serve it on a beautiful hand designed platter. This way even if my baking skills are not up to par, I know guests will enjoy feasting their eyes on the artwork the dessert is served on. I recommend Mutapo's Zimbabwean serving platters that are inspired by the designer's memories of her youth as well as these gold rimmed dining accessories by Jamaican designer Dana Baughaus.
  4. Invest in a handmade set in which to serve your coffee and tea. I always serve coffee and a variety of teas to my guests to round out the end of the meal. Something like a ginger or herbal tea is a great way to help ease the digestion of a big holiday meal. This year, I plan to use Fatyly's Senagalese Limoges tea set, an item I intend to use for a long time, which goes back to considering sustainability. The collection is silk printed on Limoges porcelain, and the pure gold gilding really catches the eye and draws you into the story the designer tells. The shape of the teacups feel amazing to hold as well.

Are you purchasing gifts this holiday season? Explore our curated holiday gift guide for the loved ones in your life. Also read about our designer's favorite product picks.

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