How Gugu Mbatha-Raw uses art to change the tone of her home every season

The actress and aspiring artist shares how to curate a versatile palette – that looks good across the calender

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Soho House
(Image credit: Soho House)

You may recognize Gugu Mbatha-Raw from Disney+’s Loki or The Morning Show – but she's about to become a force in the design industry, too. Despite her place at the peak of Hollywood, Gugu has ventured into a new, somewhat more personal role as an artist – focusing particularly on painting. 

During lockdown, her portraits of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were labeled as a 'viral sensation' – and she has since shared further works of Chadwick Boseman, Desmond Tutu, and Kevin Hart (a co-star in her newest movie, Lift).  

Her rise in the design industry means she's quickly becoming a master of decorating with art – and it would seem that Soho House agrees. In celebration of their new Westbourne Grove Studio in London, Gugu shared advice with Soho House Magazine (opens in new tab) around decorating with art in the home, and naturally, we took note. And the top of the agenda? Using art to change the tone of your home throughout the year. 

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Soho House

(Image credit: Soho House)

When visiting Soho Home (opens in new tab), Gugu was unsurprisingly attracted to the rotating artwork in store (created in collaboration with M.A.H Gallery (opens in new tab)). However, it is the neutral base behind the artwork that matters in terms of bringing artwork into the home. 

'I’m really attracted to the idea of having a relatively neutral canvas and – depending on your mood or the season – changing the tone of the space through art,' Gugu says. 'Home is somewhere I want to relax, and I find color very energizing – which is good sometimes, but not when you’re resting.’

Gugu's room color ideas work in every room, whether you're bringing art into your bedroom, living room, or making a statement in your entryway. As long as the base is neutral and versatile – you can ensure any painting looks good in your home – even as your change your pieces to adapt to your mood (and the seasons). 

Gugu Mbatha-Raw in Soho House

(Image credit: Soho House)

Gugu's rule for using neutrals is tried and tested in her own home – but her interior design tips don't end there. Alongside exhibiting art, she also shares how to create a spa-like ambiance in your home – most primarily in the bathroom. 

'I like quite a clean, calming space,' she says.  ‘I love the sanctuary of a big bathtub and a bit of downtime, especially when you’re jet-lagged after traveling or decompressing from a busy day on set.' 

So, subtle paint ideas, bold artwork, and big bathtubs all have a seal of approval from Gugu. We're ready to take on her advice at the next opportunity, via Soho Home, naturally. 

Megan Slack
Megan Slack

Megan is the News and Trends Editor at Homes & Gardens. She first joined Future Plc as a News Writer across their interiors titles, including Livingetc and Real Homes. As the News Editor, she often focuses on emerging microtrends, sleep and wellbeing stories, and celebrity-focused pieces. Before joining Future, Megan worked as a News Explainer at The Telegraph, following her MA in International Journalism at the University of Leeds. During her BA in English Literature and Creative Writing, she gained writing experience in the US while studying in New York. Megan also focused on travel writing during her time living in Paris, where she produced content for a French travel site. She currently lives in London with her antique typewriter and an expansive collection of houseplants.