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Introducing Motor City Makeover, a New Column Featuring Interior Designer Corey Damen Jenkins

October 5, 2020

Need some decorating help? In his debut column for SEEN, Corey Damen Jenkins weighs in on your most pressing design dilemmas

Featured photography by Scott Stewart Photography

In the first installment of Motor City Makeover, Corey shares tips on making kids’ spaces more fun, how to pick paint colors and adding flair to bare bookshelves.

Corey Damen Jenkins scott stewart photography

Our schools are closed and I have to teach my children at home. How can I make their bedrooms and workspaces more appealing?

Don’t overthink it. Keeping decorating and furnishings to a minimum allows room for kids to romp, and for the space to be updated as their needs change. Speaking of space, when it’s limited, maximize the available square footage: A nook under the stairwell can be transformed into a fun photo booth, for example, and the space under a loft bed can double as a “kids’ office.” And don’t forget decorative bins for extra storage (and all those toys).

Keep in mind that kids respond well to vibrant color, textures and pattern-play — so let your inner child out when picking fun artwork, colorful rugs and splashy wallpaper. Fun features like chalkboard walls, bunk-bed slides, ceiling-mounted swings and glow-in-the-dark objects can make any kids’ space pure magic. Parenting is hard enough, so my hat goes off to those of you assuming this additional responsibility. Hang in there — this too shall pass!

Corey Damen Jenkins Photography by Marco Ricca

We just bought a new home with built-in shelves in the library. We don’t have nearly enough books to fill it up and it looks so pathetic and empty. How can we fix this?

Congratulations on your new beginnings! There are many ways to dress those bookshelves up. Did you know that Detroit’s own John K. King Books sells books by the foot at an affordable rate, and that their team will curate a collection for you?

Once you’ve built a mini library, consider wallpapering the backs and sides of the bookcases’ interiors to highlight your new collection. Next, try mixing in décor like boxes, vases and collectibles. And don’t forget to harness the power of artwork: hanging frame art on the edge of certain shelves adds extra pizazz. This simple step does not affect the functionality of the shelves and it creates a visually striking focal point, like a beautiful family portrait. It’s all about experimenting and expressing yourself with the layers. Have fun!

——Corey Damen Jenkins Courtesy of Corey Damen Jenkins

I’m struggling with picking the right paint color for our bedroom. There are so many choices out there. Help!

One common mistake I see people make is trying to pick their paint colors first, only to be frustrated when everything is put back in place and they discover their furniture and window treatments look “off.” Here’s a little tip: Wait to paint. Why? While there are thousands of paint colors out there, your furnishings are set in stone. The anchors in your space (think rugs, furniture, throw-pillow fabrics, etc.) should inform your wall colors, not the other way around. This approach will automatically narrow down your wall color selections — and reduce stress.

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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1 Comment

  • Karyn Ruth
    October 14, 2020 at 3:42 PM

    Very excited for this new feature, Corey Damen Jenkins is a design genius.

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