This holiday season 54kibo.com teams 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 shares his 12 design and home decor tips for those wanting to add a professional touch to their next holiday 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 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.


Before bringing furniture, housewares, or art into my home, I look for sustainability--a hallmark of 54kibo. How will it live alongside the other pieces, and is it something that has authentic value to me personally? I enjoy textiles and a variety of patterns, so I incorporate this within my minimalist approach to the use of space. Pursuing a minimalist design places extra importance on the utility of everything I own. I’m excited about collaborating with 54kibo.com. It’s heartwarming to know that those purchasing pieces during the holidays will be sharing African and Diaspora history with loved ones. Two of their items I am sharing with people close to me are the Senegalese porcelain tea set--it’s such a functional piece of art, I could definitely live with it--and the Nyanga dessert bowls are also incredible and highly decorative.

Here are a few tips from me, for you, this holiday season. And don’t forget, shop 54kibo and use my code JAE20 for a 20% discount from now until Christmas Eve! HAPPY HOLIDAYS, and may peace be with you and your loved ones. - Jae Joseph


  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 so when guests enter my home, their eyes focus on the bright colors.
  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. These pieces, therefore, are excellent conversation starters and a great example of what to look for while shopping for holiday home decor.
  3. Add special touches to the bathroom. When you are a party host, guests are constantly in and out of the different rooms of your home. Do not overlook the bathroom. 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. Add interesting accessories throughout the home. 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. 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. This seems to always bring an added layer of holiday spirit to the evening. I like to hang a wreath on my front door and also drape the windows with some fresh greens. I also like to fill my home with colors of the forest through textiles or decor like in this framed print and green pillow .It makes the entire room feel more intimate.


  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 are always a good idea. They 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 open and read what it inside, they are filled with emotion. It is a priceless moment and a way I can truly connect with my guests. 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 to your holiday host 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. This is an item I intend to use for a long time. I truly see myself living with this. The collection is silk printed on Limoges porcelain, and the pure gold gilding really catches the eye and draws you in to the story the designer tells. The shape of the tea cups feel amazing to hold as well.

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.

— Jae Joseph

Shop Jae's holiday curation now on 54kibo.

Use the code JAE20 at checkout and receive 20% off orders over $50. Order by 12/16 to ensure delivery by Christmas.

Follow Jae Joseph and 54kibo this holiday season and discover more ways to dress up your home this holiday season.

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