Colorful living room with stone wall

While some areas of Greece, such as Santorini, have evolved into easily identifiable houses painted blue and white, modern-day Athens is more of a … fixer-upper than its regal origins. Interestingly, this change came about as a result of an early housing crisis which was "solved" by breaking down existing homes and building blocks of flats. Limited codes and regulations meant that people could build and expand how they liked with little pushback from the government. One notable limitation was to preserve ancient buildings and ruins. Though this is true, Greece’s capital city still boasts some spectacular structures that seem to honor the rectangular grandness of temples past, such as the Onassis Stegi and The Acropolis Museum.

What’s exciting about cities like Athens is that within the walls of the concrete caverns that line the major streets are characterful interiors that breathe life into often unremarkable structures. From modern minimalism to austere color palettes, Athens is home to many exciting interiors, many of which have been turned into Airbnbs you can stay in. Here are just some of the best ones around the city.

Deluxe residence with stone walls

Living room with stone walls

This deluxe residence in the trendy Athina district is a quirky one. Both its exterior and interior walls are made of stone, a style reminiscent of 15th and 16th-century stone cottages, popular in Olde England. Thanks to these stone walls, this property feels and looks insulated, cave-like even, giving it a very intimate atmosphere. Thankfully, the high wooden-panel ceiling creates more space between each wall, so it never feels claustrophobic. Stone walls are a great way to regulate the temperature in the home, so this one-bedroom apartment benefits from warm afternoons and cooler evenings. It’s great for places like Greece, where the weather never gets too extreme.

The walls — stone throughout the interior and exterior — offer a great deal of texture and personality, so muted furnishings are a great idea for balance. The L-shaped couch is understated and takes up very little space, allowing the room’s flow to remain uninterrupted. Another nod to 15th and 16th-century English architecture comes in the gold and green chandelier and the matching green windows that bring some light into the room. The dark wooden floor brings a welcome contrast to the space.

Loft overlooking Maroúsi

Living room with wooden ceiling

If you snooped around enough trendy spaces towards the end of 2022 and into 2023, you might have noticed the rise in natural woods combined with exposed stone or brick. This gorgeous loft in the Northeastern suburb of Marousi takes that style and runs with it. The result brings cottagecore to the big city.

Paring light wooden panels along the ceiling with light brown stone on the walls is a great way to brighten the space. The warm yellow undertones of the wood and stone mirror the natural light that seeps into the room. Although most of the furniture is neutral, the bursts of deep oranges, reds, and mustard yellows in the artwork, the cushions, and the quilted rugs break up the mildly monochrome aesthetic, injecting the living room with energy and excitement. These warm hues all work together to infuse a sense of intimacy and calmness into the living room.

The dining table and two chests of drawers that line one side of the room possess an antique quality thanks to their imperfect dark wood finish. The dark leather chairs, wooden shelving, and glass coffee table further elevate the loft’s rustic aesthetic, creating a space that invites nature inside. Thanks to the sole house plant, a splash of green in the middle of the living room is a fun addition. As if that’s not enough, the infusion of raffia blinds and a raffia chandelier combines the loft’s quirkiness with its cottage-like sensibilities to create a city apartment that can be easily transported to the countryside.

Stylish studio with indoor graffiti

dining table against graffiti wall

The word "graffiti" is derived from the Greek word "graphein," which means to write. It’s no surprise, then, that graffiti is a huge part of the culture in Athens. Though it’s mostly associated with building exteriors, sides of trains, and other outdoor canvasses, one studio apartment in Greece’s capital city has brought this mode of artistic expression indoors. This is a small space with plenty of life in it.

With studio flats, you know you’re getting a less-than-average-sized room, so how you use the space matters. This Airbnb keeps the furnishings to a minimum and instead uses color to fill the space. The accent wall features a dizzying multi-colored mural that honors Greek history, architecture, and people. It separates the bathroom and closet from the rest of the room. Yellow is sprinkled throughout the space, featured in everything from the front door to the placemats, and even highlighted in the central art piece. Being such a warm and illuminating color, yellow brings playfulness and a burst of energy into your space. The mismatched angled dining chairs echo that playfulness.

The urban jungle

Green couch against floral mural

Some might argue that wallpaper is amongst the most divisive interior design trends. This could be true for many reasons; if not done "right," (meaning to your specific taste), a wallpaper can overpower a space. It can be overwhelming if you like a subtle interior but end up with a loud and pattern-full design. There are many reasons why wallpaper might scare you, but when it’s done the way you want it, it’s a game-changer for elevating your space.

In this two-bed Airbnb, aptly called The Urban Jungle Escape Corner, the wallpaper is understated but still draws attention. The mural is a quiet disruptor in a space that values simplicity, and thanks to it being black and white, even the most unadventurous could enjoy the cheeky accent wall. The green couch, and the two house plants on either side, one with orange flowers for a pop of color, give the room its texture. In a small space, these accents and furnishings are a great way to keep the area open and free-flowing without looking empty.

Boutique house in the heart of Thiseio

Teal sofa, stone walls and white armchairs

This terraced apartment cheekily mixes sophistication and fun with slight nods to historic architectural styles. Beginning with the running theme of black and white through the mezzanine apartment, this property uses multiple styles to create a refined, yet quirky space. Stone walls are a mainstay in Greek architecture, so the living room uses it as an accent wall to break up the white. This space packs quite a bit into it, creating a different look than the rest of the property, which is sleeker. Here, the quirkiness flies.

Interestingly, for all the furniture in the space, one’s eyes are almost immediately drawn to the two white Barcelona chairs By Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. If they look familiar, it might be because this design (albeit in black) was featured in a certain Patrick Bateman’s home in the ’90s cult classic, "American Psycho." Though they may seem too sleek to exist in this living room, the Barcelona chairs fit into the room’s eclectic style. To drive this point home, right opposite the chairs is a teal Chesterfield sofa. While the Chesterfield is usually dark brown leather, the teal subverts expectations and creates a fun addition to the space. The black and white graphic rug mimics the colors of the abstract painting that hangs over the sofa on one side, while the imperfect wooden floor lamp mimics the colors of the stone wall on the other. Though this living space may exude a level of cacophony at first glance, there is a sense of uniformity and intentionality on display here.

Gilded penthouse

Yellow and gold living room

We rarely see graphic flooring in residential interior design, so it’s always exciting when it pops up. In this penthouse apartment in Exacheia, Central Athens, graphic flooring is one of the sights to behold. This floor design features a nesting doll of diamonds that gives off a 3D effect, which adds an exciting element to the space. It brings a bit of fun to the clean living room design.

With a limited amount of space to play with, this penthouse uses furniture sparingly. However, the result is a sophisticated yet simple living area that oozes quiet luxury. The open base of the dining table and four chairs means that no part of the living room is blocked. The yellow sofa allows the light from the floor-to-ceiling windows to bounce off quite nicely, lending a warm tint to the room. The touches of gold in the globe chandeliers, the plant sculpture, and other assortments of art throughout the lounge and kitchen add a simple elegance to the apartment.

Bohemian-chic, sun-splashed apartment

Room with wicker lighting

While rattan has seen a resurgence in the last couple of years thanks to the rise of bohemian interior design trends, this natural material has been around for decades. It garnered its first bit of widespread fame in the Victorian era, and then came back around a second time in the ’60s and ’70s, thanks to the hippie subculture. The beauty of many trends is that they’re cyclical, so it’s no surprise that this durable material has never gone out of style.

In this bohemian, naturally bright two-bedroom apartment, the rattan trend is alive and well and makes for an easy, breezy living space. The neutral space allows the sun to do its thing, blessing the apartment with a generous amount of light thanks to the glass doors leading to a small terrace. Positioning the floor mirror opposite the room’s primary light source boosts the living room’s brightness and expands the modest space. Inside, various rattan furnishings lend an artsy flare to the room. With this Airbnb, small details work together to bring this apartment to life. The wicker lamp shades are an understated yet still eye-catching feature. The addition of distressed wood furniture gives homage to bohemian eras past.

Bright Acropolis apartment

Off-white couch against concrete wall

One thing that catches the eye about this two-bedroom condo is how it marries modernist architecture with sprinkles of bohemian chic. Its modernism shines through in using exposed concrete as an accent wall. At the same time, the rattan and wooden furniture lend bohemian energy to the space, striking a curious balance between past and present. This apartment is unlike any others on the list, opting for black and ash furnishings against a white wall. The off-white two-seater couch is outlined in black, giving it an animated feel.

In lieu of a dining area, there is a low wooden bar with three black stools overlooking one of the few light sources in the living room. This gives this space the energy of a metropolitan bar. Minimalism is another key element of modernist architecture, and this space embraces it by keeping the decor simple and intentional. All it has is one sofa, a coffee table (whose base mimics the concrete accent wall, a clever choice), and the "dining" area. Two small house plants provide a splash of color to this otherwise monochromatic color palette.

A sprawling industrial loft

loft with bathtub, couchm and kitchen area

It’s a bold move to have a standalone tub in your living room-slash-kitchen area, but this one-bedroom open-plan loft dares to go where few apartments would. Strategically placed by one of the open living space’s five windows — near the kitchen and just below the mezzanine floor where the bedroom is — the black and white tub offers both art and function. Although many loft conversions tend towards an industrial look thanks to the exposed concrete, this space pairs this primary style with versatile ideas.

The concrete gray ceiling and matching couch pay homage to industrialism, but there isn’t a shortage of fun statement pieces. Opposite the long sofa, two armchairs frame one of the windows. One is blush pink, and the other is multi-colored. Both inject playful energy into the space. Adjacent to the ash gray couch — not without its fun element thanks to the bright yellow cushions — are two more armchairs. These features welcome a sense of intimacy into the open-plan apartment by creating sections for various moods. Thanks to the numerous windows, the apartment gets a generous amount of light that brightens the space.

A beige, contemporary apartment

L-shaped sofa opposite glass doors

Perhaps one of the most interesting things about this contemporary Airbnb in Athens’ city center is its use of wood, tan, and black in its living space. It’s an interesting idea to pair a neutral room with black furniture and accents, as black can often absorb too much of a space’s personality, but here it works. The layout offers distance between the dark and light furniture.

For example, the greige (beige and gray) L-shaped couch softens the all-black floor lamp, and the black-lined coffee table is subdued by its wooden center. The dining area does a similar thing by balancing the black velvet chairs with a light wooden table next to a tan wall. This living room plays with texture in a quiet yet impactful way, as seen with the herringbone parquet flooring, which energizes the room. The equally-neutral graphic prints elevate the room without competing with the furniture. The light fixtures, also black, bring a modern sophistication to the space. Clean lines are key here.