How We Design Homes for Long-term Stays

Zeus homes are designed specifically for stays lasting a month or longer—find out how our design team makes each Zeus home functional for long-term stays.

You know that feeling you get when you snuggle into a perfectly appointed bed? Or the convenience of nightstands with drawers for your personal items? It’s all by design. Interior design is one of the most important things we consider when creating comfortable stays. Our residents live in Zeus homes for a month or longer, which means that our homes need to be specifically designed for longer stays. We chatted with Alex Burrow, our Head of Home Design, to find out how we make each Zeus home stylish, intentional, and functional for long-term stays.

Although it’s tempting to rush into styling and make a home look good, the first thing we consider is our residents and how they’ll use our homes during their stay. “Our main focus is always function,” Alex told us. “In each home, we make sure there are always housewares, kitchen essentials, a place to work, a place to dine, a place to sit and watch TV, a full-length mirror, a laundry hamper, a comfortable mattress, pillows, and bedding.”

In addition to equipping our homes with these essentials, we take note of what’s important to our residents. One of those things is storage (particularly in the bedroom). Think of the number of times you’ve stayed somewhere with barely any room to hang your clothes or no drawer to store personal items. It doesn’t feel like home. We added nightstands with drawers, dressers (or drawers in the closets), and extra hangers in each of our home’s bedrooms so residents aren’t living out of suitcases.

Function will always come first, even if it means compromising a home’s aesthetic. “We always try to maximize the storage space in our homes. If you have a space-constraint studio apartment with a bed, nightstands, small sofa, TV, TV stand, a dining area, and a workstation, it’s going to feel pretty tight. So the way we save space in a room is by deciding which furniture piece doesn’t work or add value. For example, we may decide to swap your TV stand for a dresser. Your TV would be at the same height and it would essentially be the same aesthetic as if it were on a stand, but now you’d get that extra storage space, which is much more functional than a TV stand,” Alex said.

Once we make the space functional, we focus on styling and the look and feel of the home. If you’ve scrolled through photos or taken a few 3D tours of our homes, you’ve probably noticed the clean lines, gentle curves, and minimalist styling. This design style is our take on mid-century modern—an aesthetic that lasted from the mid-1930s to the mid-1960s. We’ve adopted this style not because it’s one of Alex’s favorites (though it is!), but because it offers flexibility for our design as well as our residents’ needs.

“Mid-century modern is an inoffensive, palatable style and is a neutral aesthetic that can be mixed and matched. We had the foresight early on to know that, logistically, we might run into a lot of scenarios where we’d need to mix and match things that would wear out or need to be replaced at different points in their life span,” Alex said.

“We also have many mid-century single-family homes, so it’s incredible to be able to play with the existing interiors and pair furniture styles influenced by the same time period in a creative way that doesn’t feel like you’re in a time capsule. But the most interesting thing about mid-century modern is that just as it works really well in our older single-family homes, it also works well in our modern high-rise apartments, which helps us keep a consistent look and feel in all of our homes.”

Alex is right. We have a wide variety of housing options—the list ranges from studios to two-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom single-family homes. However, despite the type of home you’re in, our design team has leveraged the clean and functional look of mid-century modern design to maintain consistency throughout each home, so you’ll get the same feeling in a studio apartment in D.C. as you would in a single-family home in California. In addition to style, you’ll always find the same housewares, essentials, and functional spaces in each home.

“We’ve created a logic that’s consistent for every space,” Alex told us. “We accommodate, at most, two people per bedroom. So if it’s a one-bedroom apartment, there will be a minimum of two dining chairs at the table and a place for two people to sit in the living room. This logic applies no matter how big the home is; if it’s a four-bedroom home, we’ll have an eight-person dining table and a sectional or seating that will fit eight people in the living room.”

A signature element you’re also likely to see in a Zeus home is color. While we tend to stick with neutrals, we also like to include pops of color. And like everything we bring in our homes, our color choices are intentional.

Alex told us, “To help us decide on colors, we created a survey for any employee who had lived in the city we’re launching or had spent a lot of time there. The survey asks them to tell us five colors, movies, and songs that remind them of the city and to submit additional items, like images and personal experiences. We then collect and storyboard all of the different perspectives and make the design decisions. As an example, for Seattle, we received a lot of shades of gray, green, and blue. It was an interesting weather-like color palette that was offset by the pops of color from nature. And for New York we received bold and primary colors, so you’ll see lots of red, green, blue, and yellow in our homes there.”

And when it comes to decorating our homes, we use minimal decor, like throw pillows, baskets, trays, and plants. We also source local art for visual impact and to create a connection to the surrounding city. The rest is up to our residents.

“When we set up a home we don’t clutter it with much decor or knick-knacks because we want our residents to feel comfortable and make the home their own. We understand that people may want to bring their favorite items, like candles, blankets, vases, photos, or picture frames to add their personal touch to the home,” Alex said.

It’s those personal touches that really make each Zeus home special. While interior design is the heart of a home, our residents bring the soul. We design our homes with the knowledge that someone will live in the space for a long period of time and will eventually form a personal connection with it. It’s important that we provide style and function in our home, but also that we leave behind a clean slate for them to be creative and use the space in whatever way works best for them.

Need a place to stay? Explore our homes and enjoy a space that was designed with you in mind.