How Amber Guyton Centers Interior Design On Black Joy

Featured image: Brittany Bah Photography
“There’s just a level of comfort in seeing yourself in your space.”

For many Black families, home is more than four walls. It’s a place for gathering and community, and where you should feel safest. And what’s found in our spaces is often reflective of the way we see ourselves and our culture: The strokes of painted walls, the details of handpicked fixtures, the eyes and expressions of the melanated figures in the art hanging in each room. 

That’s why South Carolina native and interior designer Amber Guyton has dedicated her career to helping people use home decor as a channel for self-expression. 

“Being comfortable in your own house, especially with everything going on in the world, just always felt like a good thing,” Guyton tells Sweet July.

From the time she was a young girl, Guyton’s had a natural affinity for decor and freedom of artistic expression. Amongst her peers, she was the kid known for creating and selling custom painted jeans, and spontaneously painting her room or rearranging furniture.  

Now a successful entrepreneur and founder of the full-service interior design brand, Blessed Little Bungalow, Guyton works to spark that same joy in her clients. You can find Guyton’s projects all over the internet; her love for colorful, bold patterns and eye-catching Black art has landed her on the cover of HGTV Magazine as well as the opportunity to curate and launch her own wallpaper line (with another Black woman-owned brand) and a home decor line with TJ Maxx and Homegoods. Some of her favorite Black artists to feature in projects include, but certainly aren’t limited to, folks like Rachel Stewart, Michel Smith Boyd, Adekunle Adeleke, B. Moore, Melissa Koby, Pink LoMein, Kabriah Asha, Reyna Noriega, and Ronald Jackson.

This space (from one of Amber's clients) features pieces from B. Moore and Roger J. Carter in Project Black MoMA. Photo: LaJoy Photography

“There’s just a level of comfort in seeing yourself in your space,” says Guyton. “It brings out a certain pride and confidence that can’t be described.” 

When it comes to the art that lives in Guyton’s own home, one particular piece stands out: “I currently have a piece in the center of my stairwell by b. Moore of a little Black girl wearing what looks like a flower crown, but it is actually made of cotton,” she says. “For me, it is a reminder that I am in control of the path I choose for my life. It shows me that the things I faced or even that my ancestors faced growing up in the South, I can now use for my good. Essentially, it encourages me to turn the negative into a positive.”

Growing up, Black art and culture were ever-present in her family’s home, as well as her grandparent’s neighboring household. In their homes, there was the museum-like formal living room that no one dared actually use or sit in. Her grandparents, aunts and uncles always kept classic yet culturally relevant art pieces hanging, there was floral furniture, glass coffee tables and an ornate gold mirror above her grandparents’ sofa—which she says she pays homage to with a modern version from Anthropologie that hangs in her current home. 

In her grandparent’s home, she vividly remembers one piece that features two little Black girls dawning sun hats, with their eyes straight to the camera as they hold hands. “I always saw that and thought about myself and my older sister,” says Guyton. “Seeing two little Black girls that looked like us on the wall always made me happy. Some people see things as trendy, but I connect a lot of the Black art that I have in my home now to those pieces that I saw in my own home and my grandparent’s home growing up.”

Amber in a client's space that she designed with moody accent molding and colorful gallery wall. Photo: Brittany Bah Photography

Buying that home—a 1500 sq. ft. 1948 bungalow located in Texas—was a natural full-circle moment for Guyton, colliding her personal and professional worlds seamlessly. Just one week after closing on the starter home, she already had it perfectly curated to her liking. While she already had most of the furniture from her previous apartment, she decided to “go wild” in her master bedroom. 

“I bought a brand-new queen-sized satin, teal bed for my room,” says Guyton. “The rest of the house was very neutral with blues, grays, yellow and white. But, I knew that I wanted my personality to shine through in the master. I had teal bedding, and a magenta, teal and marigold rug, marigold throw pillows and a bright pink chair in the corner. That was the start of me being bolder in my interior design choices, which in turn rubbed off in my client projects as well.”

Even with a laundry list of notable accolades and professional accomplishments on her resume, the Atlanta-based designer prides herself most on being able  to make home interior projects accessible without skimping on quality or joy.

“My mom was a social worker, and we were a single parent household,” she says. “We made a lot out of a little. So my mindset has always been you don’t have to break the bank in order to find joy in your life, and I look at interior design through those same eyes.”

This town home features custom wainscotting on the walls, coveted prints and African masks from her client's collection in a gallery wall arrangement. Photo: Brittany Bah Photography

If you’re starting a new interior design project, Guyton offers some advice: Don’t be afraid to mix higher priced items with budget-friendly things. Yes, you may love that designer couch seen in your favorite celeb’s home or in a luxury showroom, and it may perfectly fit the aesthetic you’re aiming for. But, there’s also nothing wrong with opting for a more budget-friendly dupe. When it comes to art, she recommends sourcing prints versus originals, reproduced canvases, and pieces from local artists that may be lesser known. She nods to online resources that support artists directly, including Etsy, Saatchi Art, Artmajeur, iCanvas, Minted,, Fy!, All Posters, and Society 6. 

Guyton also emphasizes that  great home designs take time, so don’t feel as if everything has to be pulled together quickly.

“I don’t want people to feel like they have to have buyer’s remorse and that they need to run out and put a bunch of stuff on a credit card immediately,” says Guyton. “You can take your time. At the end of it all, I just want people to feel good in their homes.”

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