5 European apartments that are the perfect balance of chic and characterful

Stylish and chic, these European apartments are the perfect inspiration

European apartments
(Image credit: Kasha Paris/Helene Houe Sørensen/)

When you're searching for interior design inspiration, you'll almost always come across European apartments. With their tall ceilings, ornate plasterwork, and oversized windows that allow plenty of natural light into the space, they have everything you could want in a home.

From traditional designs to more modern spaces, European apartments are an ideal base for almost any interior design style. And while we appreciate that Europe covers *a lot* of countries, modern European style is proven to work in all styles and sizes of spaces, it's simply a case of working with your home's fabric.

Whether you're searching for inspiration for your own home on the continent or simply want to feel inspired by these stunning spaces, these five European apartments are sure to inspire your next home project.

5 European apartments to inspire a chic refresh

It doesn't matter if your interior design style leans more minimalist or maximalist, traditional or contemporary, there are plenty of design cues to take from European apartments. Colorful decor, chic characterful yet minimalist style, and laid-back luxury, just to name a few. There are plenty of ideas here to give your home a European-inspired update.

1. A collected apartment in Copenhagen

A European apartment in Copenhagen, Denmark

(Image credit: Helene Houe Sørensen)

Copenhagen is a leader when it comes to setting interior design trends, whether it be fashion or interiors. Filled with apartments featuring tall ceilings, large windows, and decorative architectural details, there's plenty of inspiration to take from the European apartments.

'We moved into this apartment about two and a half years ago, and we immediately fell in love with the four-room en suite and all the original moldings, french doors, and stucco ceilings that lead back to the1900s,' says interior stylist Helene Houe Sørensen.

In the living room of her apartment, everything has been kept neutral, from the white sofa and rug to the muted color on the walls. The bookshelf on the back wall is filled with books and decor – they aren't overly curated, which gives a more eclectic, lived-in appeal to the space.

The dining room of a European apartment in Copenhagen

(Image credit: Helene Houe Sørensen)

'As an interior stylist, I always want to help others to be bold and try to imagine their dreams and plans for the different rooms they live in. For example, when we moved in, I wanted to create a cozy, relaxing place where our family could breathe out, and evoke feelings we got from our vacations to Spain, Scotland, and Paris,' she explains.

'I love to decorate with organic shapes, sculptural lamps, soft white fabrics, and textiles with colored ceilings as a fun twist. Most importantly, I always go with what I dream of! I can't live in a place where everything feels like a ‘safe choice’. If I want a white sofa, then that's what I buy. It gives me so much peace and joy in a sometimes crazy everyday life with jobs, kids, cleaning, feeding, and so on,' she adds.

2. A grande Parisian apartment

A Parisian apartment living room with walls covered in ornate paneling

(Image credit: Kasha Paris)

Parisian architecture is admired around the world, and for good reason. Characterized by tall ceilings, ornate plasterwork, and elegant paneling, this unique style works just as well today as it did 100 years ago. 

This Paris apartment is evidence of this, where interior designer Betsy Kasha, founding partner of Kasha Paris, was tasked with honoring the apartment's history while making it fit for family life.

'This is a grand and stately apartment which we transformed into a comfortable family home. We preserved the incredible ceiling height and restored and replaced the original moldings, but rethought the layout for modern family life,' Betsy explains.

A Parisian apartment kitchen with chequerboard flooring and tall ceilings

(Image credit: Kasha Paris)

'The history of the building always informs our design choices. Architecturally, we like to maintain the aesthetic integrity of the space by restoring and adding elements that are appropriate to the era of the building,' she adds.

'The kitchen, which was once shunted to the back of the apartment, is now the heart of the home,' says Betsy. Now, the kitchen is light and airy – a sink has been placed in front of the huge windows to make the most of the views, while black and white chequerboard floor tiles ground the room and add a touch of visual interest.

3. A colorful apartment in Warsaw

A European apartment in Warsaw, Poland filled with color, pattern, and murals

(Image credit: Colombe)

Countries around Europe are home to beautiful, historic architecture, and this apartment in Warsaw, Poland is further proof. Built in the late 1800s, this space has seen a lot of tenants and uses, and the homeowners were keen to honor this in their design.

'The clients came to us with the project wanting it to be made in accordance with historical assumptions but supplemented with more modern elements. We recreated the original stucco, the entrance door, coffered parquet which formed the basis and the furniture, arrangement of stones and colors are very contemporary,' explains Marta Chrapka, founder of Colombe.

When designing the apartment, Marta introduced a lot more color, pattern, and areas of interest. 'The main kitchen decoration is panoramic wallpaper and a walnut illuminated display case. The whole is complemented by kitchen cabinets finished with full gloss paint and an island upholstered in washable silk,' she says.

A colorful bedroom in a European apartment

(Image credit: Colombe)

The living room features a curated selection of furniture, including a blue curved sofa and a statement cabinet. 'The living room is connected to the dining room, and is decorated with a beautiful Murano glass cabinet from the 1970s, transformed into a cabinet with a television and arched sofas. The table, designed in our studio of stone and walnut, was combined with svenskt teen chairs and decorated with a copper chandelier by MM Lampadari,' she explains.

The bedroom is the most colorful room of the apartment, and is the area where Marta introduced more modern design elements. The bed is surrounded by built-in wardrobes painted in a pale blue color with yellow accents. While much of the design has a more modern, playful feel to it, a nod to the building's heritage has been introduced through the vintage-style light fixtures.

'Everywhere in the apartment we tried to put as much art as possible, the purchase of which was entrusted to us by investors. We managed to get a very interesting collection of Matisse lithographs, which perfectly fit into the graphic and colorful character of the interior,' Marta adds.

The end result is a colorful space that seamlessly blends the period charm of the apartment with modern decor, proving vibrant color and playful designs can work beautifully in period properties.

4. A contemporary apartment in Paris

A Parisan apartment in a quiet luxury style. The kitchen has wooden loter cabinets and white walls, with a small floating shelf for decor

(Image credit: Kasha Paris)

Haussmannian apartments are renowned for their refined elegance, and while this apartment embodies that style, it has a more contemporary finish to keep things fresh and modern.

'This is a gem of a Haussmannian apartment. Our work here was to blend the Haussmannian structure and design elements with contemporary furniture, bathrooms, and kitchen. Essentially bringing Haussmann into the 21st century,' explains Betsy.

Paris apartment with a minimalist living room scheme

(Image credit: Kasha Paris)

In the kitchen, wooden lower cabinets with a dark finish have been used, while the upper cabinets have been painted white to make the space feel more open. Paired with the marble on the kitchen counters and the walls, the result is a luxurious but paired-back space.

There is a common, almost minimalist scheme carried throughout the apartment – warm white hues and natural wood tones creating a clean, sleek aesthetic. Hints of color have been introduced through decor, and a bookshelf decorated with books and collected treasures creates a more personal touch.

5. Quiet luxury interiors in a European apartment

A traditional library in a European apartment

(Image credit: Kasha Paris)

The elegance of Parisian apartments means you can really lean into traditional style without it feeling dated. Think Shaker cabinets and a classic range cooker in a kitchen, chequerboard tiles on a bathroom floor, and antique chandeliers in every room.

In this apartment, interior design studio Kasha Paris designed the space to honor how it likely looked when it was first built, celebrating the original features and architecture.

'When we bought it, this apartment had already seen many changes to its layout. It was a fun challenge to reimagine what the apartment might have looked like at its inception, and develop a design vision from there,' says Betsy.

'For example, we took down a late-addition mezzanine in what is now an elegant, high-ceilinged library, and incorporated artisanal architectural details, a renovated parquet Versailles floor, and an antique chimney,' she adds.

Living room in a Parisian apartment with an original marble fireplace

(Image credit: Kasha Paris)

The whole project focused on embracing the apartment's history, but making changes and modernizing rooms where it felt necessary. 'It's about respecting history without being a slave to it. I always think of the Pyramid of the Louvre as the perfect example,' she explains. 

'Not being afraid to live in a historical space, but rather enjoying it, not treating it as a museum. Mixing the old and the new seamlessly without letting the latest trends run your taste,' she adds.

European apartments prove that traditional architecture and modern style can work in harmony. As long as original features are preserved and celebrated and you work with the quirks of your home, you can create a scheme that showcases your personality. European apartments are the epitome of old-meets-new style, and these spaces are further proof.

Molly Malsom
Content Editor

Molly joined the Homes & Gardens interiors team at the start of 2024 as a content editor. Her undergraduate degree was in Magazine Journalism and Production, which she studied at the University of Gloucestershire. Before joining Homes & Gardens, she worked for two interiors titles across both print and digital channels, writing about a range of topics from room design ideas and decorating trends to the best places to source pre-loved homeware.