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Motor City Makeover: Holiday Design Advice from Corey Damen Jenkins

December 7, 2020

Home for the holidays this year? Designer Corey Damen Jenkins gives tips on sprucing up your space

By Corey Damen Jenkins 

Our family has decided to play it safe and celebrate the holidays separately this year. Since we’ll be stuck at home, we’re going to put extra effort into decorating the house. Any suggestions? 

When it comes to holiday spirit, there are lots of decorative things you can do, from the more traditional mainstays — exterior roofline lights, front door wreaths, elaborately furnished trees — to fun and fresh ideas. 

For example, replace the throw pillows on your sofas with colorful alternatives, or, for a more dramatic statement, switch out area rugs and runners for versions with holiday-themed motifs. These things are worthy investments since they’re easy to store away when the holidays are over. 

Designer Corey Damen JenkinsPhotography by Stewart Scott

Trade your usual throw pillows for more festive versions.

One more tip: Since we’re all Zoom-ing and FaceTime-ing these days, don’t forget to create a visual “ground zero” somewhere in the house: a space that provides a festive backdrop as you offer season’s greetings to your friends and family. Many of us are making the same tough choice this year, and I applaud your willingness to be mindful of the health and safety of those you love.

Friends and family are joining our holiday dinner virtually — and my table must be dressed to impress. How do I make it look amazing?  

Our cellphones, iPads and social media platforms can play a role in broadcasting our gratitude and joy. All we have to do is think outside the box! 

Designer Corey Damen Jenkins

Here are a few tips: Turn table settings into works of art with over-the-top floral arrangements and cleverly themed favors. Use heirloom and costume jewelry — necklaces, bracelets, broaches, etc. — as garlands to wrap around boldly colored dishware. Gift-wrap boxes with elaborately patterned paper, ribbons and bows and stack them high as table centerpieces. And why not get the kids together to make cool origami sculptures to add to the table décor? Have fun and do it up!

Designer Corey Damen Jenkins

Next, coordinate your dinnertime with your loved ones so that you’re all sitting down to eat “together.” But before everyone digs in, use your cellphones and iPads to pan around your tables and fawn over each other’s creations — and menus! During this pandemic, we may need to make new memories with our changed circumstances. Getting creative with virtual dining is a great way to celebrate our blessings.

Corey Damen Jenkins is an interior designer based in Birmingham. Have your own burning design questions? Submit them to askcorey@seenthemagazine.com

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