45 Gorgeous Homes from 45 Different Countries
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Dreaming of traveling the world? Crashing in a tiny Tokyo apartment after a night out, testing out a new recipe in a rustic Italian kitchen, or taking up temporary residence in a rental in Rio? This month on Apartment Therapy, we’ve toured homes around the world, from tiny studios among the hustle and bustle of big cities to homes placed on sprawling green land.
Home looks different for everyone, and hopefully by revisiting some of our favorite home tours from more than 45 countries, you’ll find that the world’s interior design language is somewhat universal (after all, you can’t go too wrong with white walls and plants no matter the view out your window!), but that no two homes are exactly alike — even if they’re in the same city, same country, or on the same block. One-of-a-kind artwork, locally made goods, vintage finds, and furniture — and how they all come together — are what make homes specific and personal to the residents who live in them.
Consider this an opportunity to globetrot virtually. Peek inside homes in countries you’ve never visited, and get to know some locals — all from your laptop or phone. Bon voyage!
Although Lígia Baleeiro and Ramiro Pena’s Buenos Aires apartment has French-inspired architecture, they drew inspiration from the Argentinian landscape when it came to the decor. “I love that mystery of the jungle with a little nostalgic atmosphere,” Lígia says of her entryway mural by artist Sofía Willemös.
Australia-based homeowners Kate Forsyth and Dave Bunting own a business called Good Day Club, an event and interior design company specializing in all things colorful and festive, so it’s no surprise their Footscray home is just that. Dave also has a business called Very Good Products, where he sells fun and vibrant wood creations like the rainbow headboard above.
This airy 1,300-square-foot apartment in Vienna feels a bit like Paris, its tenant, Svenja Bruecker, says. “My favorite room is the living room because it is almost round, and there is a balcony all around the room,” she says. “I also especially love the pretty buildings you can see from every window … and that our home is always filled with light.”
In 2016, Hope and Pete Colling traded the hustle and bustle of San Francisco for this boho Bahamas home. It’s a traditional Bahamian clapboard cottage the duo have dubbed “Abaco moon,” and it’s situated at the top of a dirt road flanked by lush tropical vegetation on both sides. “We love the location because we’re a stone’s throw from the beach and just a five-minute bike ride into town,” Hope says.
Simone Raitzik, Ruben Zonenschein, and their sons, Paulo and Tom, live in this Rio de Janeiro home among the lush Brazilian greenery. Their house is full of finds from their world travels as well as locally made goods, like their sofa, made by Brazilian craftmakers, and their coffee table, made by Simone herself.
When they first moved into their apartment, Tegan and Dan’s 800-square-foot place looked like many Vancouver apartments: It was a white box. But Tegan, a lifestyle and travel blogger, and Dan, an engineer, found many ways to make the small space suit their style — from space-saving IKEA finds to clever DIYs.
Many of Céline Lamée and Heather Mowbray’s odds and ends in their colorful, eclectic Beijing home are from Taobao, their favorite (sadly now-closed) secondhand shop in Beixinqiao. Their home is a mix of Heather’s affinity for collecting things and Céline’s affinity for streamlined spaces.
This 350-square-foot apartment in Bogotá is a collector’s dream: VHS tapes, betas, cassettes, CDs, vinyls, books, techie gadgets, fountain pens, vintage watches, seashells, you name it. “I think our homes must be a collection of the things we love,” renter (and collector extraordinaire) Raúl Zea says.
Kay Whitchurch and Norberto Guerra’s 1920s Victorian home in Havana has four types of Spanish tile. Kay’s favorite room is the living room, with its pink, gold, and green tile floors; quirky green couches with a regal air to them; plus art, travel, and history books; and a growing collection of art (Kay’s original pieces plus Cuban artists). “The record player sits in the corner and is frequently playing old Cuban jazz records,” Kay says of the charming space.
This cozy Czech cabin is a multi-generational DIY project. The cabin was built in 1875, and Barbora Ferencová’s father bought it in 1968, adding much-needed repairs and features like the wooden staircase. “Czechs are famous for their DIY culture as the resources you could get during the communist era (1939-1989) were scarce, so everybody had to figure out solutions for themselves,” Barbora says. “Therefore Czechs tend to be super handy and embrace a lot of home-enhancing projects.” One of Barbora’s first cabin-enhancing projects was one she dreamt up as a 9-year-old. “I was playing with toothpicks and created a little picture of a house out of them. My dad over night carved out the shapes into the last step of the staircase. And that’s how one of my first art works lives with the house!” she says.
Writer and marketing specialist Caroline Sølver lives in this 600-square-foot apartment in Copenhagen, which she revived from disrepair when she bought it six years ago. “I am so proud of how far I’ve come I did the whole renovation myself and with help from friends and family,” Caroline says. She’s especially proud of the home’s efficient layout since it’s basically all one room. “I’ve made sure everything is smart and organized by building a bench for my dining table that doubles as a dresser for storage and a bed that is built on top of drawers where I keep sheets and towels,” she says. Her apartment is filled with IKEA finds and hacks, and her favorite element is the IKEA kitchen she installed.
“Every corner has a story to tell,” says renter Melissa Mariette of her Santo Domingo apartment. Melissa is proud that the apartment reflects she and her fiancé’s combined love of music, art, and books, and she hopes they can buy the place someday to continue to make it more personalized. “We fell in love with it from the first visit, she says. “It’s an apartment about 30 years old with big windows and a balcony with huge trees out front.”
Kaisa and Otto live in Helsinki’s historic Olympic Village. Theirs and apartments like theirs were originally constructed for Helsinki’s 1940 Olympic Games, which were postponed due to World War II. When construction was eventually completed in 1952, the Olympics resumed, and the village served as lodging for global competitors. The design of the buildings in the neighborhood represents classic Finnish functionalism, and Kaisa and Otto have filled their place with sleek Finnish-designed furniture to boot.
This plant-filled apartment is the definition of quaint Parisian bohemia. “Maybe it can be called Bohemian Eclectic,” Janaé, one of the roommates, says. The greatest challenge in the space was “trying to make so many different pieces of furniture work together,” as the place is a hodgepodge of three roommates’ belongings, and one of the greatest joys was adding pops of color. “I used to feel that I needed to paint walls,” Jane says. “But after living here I have found new ways; using books, plants, paintings, photographs, tapestries, etc.”
Leonor and Pablo share this Haussman-meets-retro-modern apartment in Tbilisi. “I am a foreigner in Tbilisi and moved here for work,” Leonor says. “Maybe this is why I appreciate so much its old-style buildings from the Soviet Union times. I instantly felt in love with the city and couldn’t help buying an apartment. High ceilings, French doors, light wooden parquet floors — all of it animated by the classic music played my neighbors that comes in from the street though the balcony.” Leonor and Pablo have filled their home with secondhand furniture and other “Soviet small treasures” that they’ve scored at the flea market over the years, giving the pieces a new life and adventure.
Ashleigh Kincade, her partner Eqbal, and their daughter, Nazanin, share this Athens apartment that’s about a 20-minute train ride to the famous Acropolis. They bought their home in 2019 and started renovating it to match their style and maximize space. “Our home is filled with local art from Greek artists, light, plants, music, and tons of projects as Eqbal is quite the fixer-upper!” Ashleigh says. “He did everything in this house, and he has a vision for everything.” Eqbal, originally from Afghanistan, wanted to have accessories and art that showcased his culture growing up. Ashleigh loves all things cozy, natural, Scandinavian, and art full of color. Their home is a blend of the two.
Noemi’s Berlin apartment is, as she describes, “a 21st century version of German Romanticism and Biedermeier — mixed with some Rococo, Art Deco, and flea market elements.” Her apartment is on the top floor of a 19th-century building situated just beyond a vibrant garden; she takes a winding staircase up to her breezy and book-filled abode. Dreamy, right?
This 205-square-foot Hungarian bachelor pad is ultra-efficient, with a bed that pulls out from underneath the walk-in wardrobe. The bar cabinet at the foot of the bed? Well, that houses a tiny washer and dryer. The kitchen and sofa are only steps away from the bed, too.
Jewells Ramona Chambers, the founder and creator of the podcast “All Things Iceland” covers the “inside scoop on Icelandic nature, culture, history and language.” Originally from New York, she fell in love with the country (and a native Icelander), and now she and her husband, Gunnar, share this cozy and calm two-bedroom apartment in Mosfellsbær, a 20-minute drive to downtown Reykjavík.
Sujata Sharma and her family live in this 5,000-square-foot home in northern India in Dehradun, the capital of the state Uttarakhand. Because the home overlooks a stream and is surrounded by vast gardens, Sujata’s main inspiration for her home is nature. Her best home advice? “Keep your nest free of clutter, and your life will follow suit.”
Jo and Deryl McCauley’s County Antrim home is ultra-colorful. Jo designed her living room based on two green vases she once saw in a shop, her pink and red sitting area is based on a cat poster she owns, her purple-to-yellow ombre bedroom is based on one of her T-shirts, and her pink and white kitchen island color is based on another shirt. “Decorate your home in a way that makes you happy — whether that’s neutral, neon, dark or pastel,” Jo says. “Your home is your sanctuary.”
This beautiful apartment in Tel Aviv is colorful, eclectic, and pattern-filled, but it didn’t always look that way. “This apartment was in terrible condition, but was big and offered rare facilities for the area: a private parking space, four bedrooms, an elevator, and a huge balcony,” interior designer and renter Tal Meidan says. “We decided to offer the landlord that we’d take it, renovate it, love it, and live in it if he paid about half of the investment [renovation].” Tal’s favorite room is the primary bedroom because of how far it’s come from its beginnings.
Kansas City, Missouri, native Kate Goethe is a long way from home in Vicenza, Italy, but as a military spouse, she’s used to it. She and her husband and their dog reside in part of this charming Italian villa, and the rest is used as a wedding venue. Kate has filled her home with souvenirs from her European travels, and she’s also taken up woodworking since moving to Italy, and most of the solid wood pieces in in her home were either repurposed or built from scratch by her.
Tokyo-based couple James and Briony met at a checkout counter at IKEA — seriously! So it’s no surprise that their 550-square-foot apartment has a smart layout and sleek furniture. When they relocated from Sydney, Australia, to Japan, they knew they’d have to adjust to small space living, but still some things came as a surprise: the oven-less (typical Japanese) kitchen, a remote control bath, and a contract that stipulated no drilling or pictures on the wall. See how they’ve made their place work for them here.
Ash Appleton, a lawyer slash documentary photographer for UN organizations, charities, and NGOs, splits her time between this colorful Nairobi apartment and London. “My design style is: Africa-modern, bold, bright, blended, and whimsical,” Ash says. ” I’m all about celebrating the energy of modern Africa in a fresh and intriguing way. My mantra is ‘joyful living,’ which means creating comfortable spaces that are inviting, quirky, and light-filled.”
In this home in Jalisco, Mexico, interior designer and stylist Erick Millan’s goal was to bring the outdoors in. From faux parrots to a lush plant wall to natural wood tones in geometric patterns, his home is maximalist-meets-nature-inspired.
Morocco is known for its plush patterned rugs, and this home in Fes is filled with them. The owner of this Moroccan riad says his textile collection is his biggest indulgence, and it’s sourced from all over the world: India, Morocco, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Africa, and more.
When urban planner Karst Rauhé saw this new-construction building of studio apartments with amenities like flex work spaces, a gym, lounge areas, and more, he jumped on the chance to rent it. He’s made the small studio work for him by creating distinct zones with painted arches and expertly arranged furniture.
Kine Ask Stenersen and Kristoffer Eng, the founders of the sustainable furniture shop Ask Og Eng live in this minimalistic yet warm Norwegian home. “We live in a very traditional and typical house for this region — a house from the 1930s and made out of wood… my favorite thing about our home is its location on top of a hill that gives us quite a nice view,” Kine says. On the inside, they’ve filled the home with sustainable wood and natural tones. Kine’s favorite? The bamboo kitchen, “which is the best example of how [their] personal passion for creating sustainable furniture… came to be something more than a leisure activity.”
This Quezon City, Philippines, home belonging to photographer Jar, his wife Kay, their 5-year-old son, and their 2-year-old daughter is also built with sustainability in mind. Natural light pours into every room, there’s a pocket garden in the middle of the home, a rainwater harvest system saves water for garden use, and solar panels help the family save on their electric bill.
Paulina, her husband, and her dog live in this 500-square-foot Polish apartment filled with vintage finds. Paulina’s best home decorating advice is this: “Know who you are and what you like, because if you like things, they go together!”
Home goods merchant Nat Sly likes to furnish her home, which she shares with her family, with Portuguese auction finds like the antique dresser in her bedroom. Her favorite part of her home is the Portuguese sconces she had custom-made and installed to add a bit of historic character to her more modern white apartment.
This 600-square-foot apartment in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, was built in 1860, and Lavinia Onit and her partner have been restoring it, blending its original features with their more minimalistic Scandinavian style.
Beautiful wallpaper and small-space-friendly furniture finds from IKEA and ZARA help to create separate spaces within this 484-square-foot apartment in Moscow. “The bed was placed just behind the kitchen to hide it from the entrance,” the designer behind this space, Maria Solovieva-Sosnowik, says of her strategic layout configuration. “The living area has the best opportunities to enjoy the view. The dining table is in the opposite to the kitchen.”
Noah Naima Wahid’s teal-colored flat in Singapore is a HDB, or Housing and Development Board flat, meaning it’s subsidized by the government. According to the Singapore government website, “HDB flats spell home for 80 percent of Singapore’s resident population, of which about 90 percent own their home.” Noah says he took his builder-grade flat “from HDB to OMG” with lots of teal paint and furniture and accessories he loves. “One should never be afraid of dark-colored walls,” Noah says.
Florist Lana Fredericks’ Cape Town apartment is a calming escape from the busy city it sits in. Lana says that her passion for floral design “unlocked a language of texture and color and allowed her to express her inner creativity” in her space, where many of her floral creations reside; she likes to mix them up from season to season and use often-overlooked blooms. In addition to gorgeous flowers, her home has antique furniture she’s collected over time and original artwork made by her brother.
Monica (originally from Michigan) and Jordi (originally from Barcelona)’s gem of an apartment in Barcelona has beautiful stained glass, historic architectural detail on the doors and floors, and an outdoor terrace. Monica is thrilled with the fact that most everything in the home was sourced secondhand, and that much of it reminds her of past stops in life: a drawing from a trip to Belgium done by a stranger in a bar for Jordi and a pool ball from his youth are on display in the kitchen, Monica’s childhood horseback riding ribbons and a big jug of Michigan-made maple syrup appear in the food dispensary. “It’s so fun to have those little reminders daily of a life so well-lived,” Monica says. “We add new touches as we go!”
Blogger Janniche, her partner Johan, and their two kids live in this Bagarmossen home, which has Scandi design inspiration galore but with a touch more maximalism. “I think our home has the typical Scandi style with a mix of old and new,” Janniche says. “I like it clean but I think the right amount of details makes the difference.”
Mother-daughter duo Jean and Tennessee share this 861-square-foot apartment in Lausanne, Switzerland. “The idea when I moved in was to feel like living in a liner because the apartment is so long and narrow, and the view out onto the lake and sky is breathtaking,” Jean says. The eclectic vintage finds and the bleached wood throughout certainly add to the breezy, nautical vibes.
The two inspiration words for this 600-square-foot apartment in Taiwan rented by Mish and Ryan were “fun” and “nature.” The apartment has a lofted bedroom and a peaceful, plant-filled balcony. “We deeply love being outdoors, so living in the city we wanted to bring the calming touch of nature to our each and every day,” Mish says. For rainy days in Taipei, they created a gallery wall with vibrant, nature-inspired artwork for a mood boost.
It’s fitting that Will Harvey and Iona Sangster have a vintage classroom desk in their living room and a tiny student’s chair tucked in the corner of their bedroom. Their apartment building in Edinburgh, Scotland, used to be a high school; it was built by Scottish architect George Reid in the 1930s, and it’s likely that their unit was used as a classroom. Will and Iona have embraced a cozy, somewhat schoolhouse-y look in their decor, from their primary color scheme to playful artwork throughout.
Oksana Oliinyk and Andrii Oliinyk, with the help of an interior designer, recently revived this 785-square-foot Ukraine apartment originally built in 1917 and renovated in the ’80s. Although Oksana, a florist, uses bright colors in her botanical creations, she prefers soothing gray tones for interiors, and her apartment mixes and matches them in a modern, interesting way.
Editor’s Note: Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Oksana Oliinyk and her daughter moved to Canada to be in a safer place during the war. Andrii Oliinyk stayed in Kyiv in their apartment and reports it is undamaged, as is the neighborhood. While they are safe for now, many others continue to need help. Consider supporting Ukraine and Ukrainians via SupportUkraineNow.org.
When asked to describe what type of home she has, Phuong “Wendy” Nguyen jokes that her place in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam is a bedroom, but she calls it a loft sometimes. A 180-square foot attic apartment, it is tiny, but it has everything she needs: from a lofted sleep space to a desk to work to a spot for hosting guests.