3 things designers say make Elton John's surprisingly-understated apartment feel luxe, and they're ideas anyone can use

It's no surprise that the iconic British singer has a seriously stylish home, and it's full of design ideas to inspire

A headshot of Elton John wearing love-heart shaped glasses
(Image credit: Getty Images)

We have a lot to thank Sir Elton John for. The Rocketman singer has given us an enduring catalog of music like no other and his flamboyant style (and personality) continue to inspire people of all ages across the globe. It comes as no surprise, then, that his preference for interior design is as stylish as the man himself, although perhaps a bit more understated than first thoughts would have it. 

Following the end of his Farewell tour, the most successful solo artist in the history of the US billboard charts has listed his Atlanta condo with Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty, and it could be yours for the modest sum of $5 million. If, however, you don't have enough cash to put an offer down on the sprawling apartment, there are a few design tricks we can learn from it. Here are the three standout features that designers have pinned down as the answer to the elegant and luxe feel of this modern home.

1. Mirrored surfaces

A living room with boucle arm chairs and large floor to ceiling windows and a mirror in the nook under the stairs

(Image credit: Bartolotti Media for Sotheby’s International Realty)

Within Elton's palatial sky residence you’ll find a two-story dining room fit for royalty, complete with a sweeping staircase and impressive windows that offer panoramic views of the Atlanta skyline beyond. You might be so swept away by the breathtaking vista that you fail to notice a genius design detail that really elevates this space, so clever that it's almost unnoticeable - the mirrored nook under the stairs. 

At first glance it's easy to miss, but the mirrored alcove is a genius tactic for reflecting the lavish lighting and lofty room back into the space. Similar mirrored surfaces are a recurring device throughout the expansive apartment, turning Elton's home into a hall of mirrors-style space that plays clever tricks on the eye. 

Decorating with mirrors in this way is a technique that California-based designer Lucie Ayres of 22 Interiors is a big fan of, even in more modest homes, and she has some tips on recreating the look in your own space. 'When doing mirrored surfaces, the rule is restraint,' she says. 'In Elton's apartment, uses such as the mirrored surfaces of the bookshelves in the sitting area are perfect. They enhance but don't overwhelm the space as they are anchored by wood columns and are styled with neutral-toned objects. Same with the under-stairs seating area - the mirrors add a formality and glamour.' 

She does advise against bolder uses of mirrors, however, that could be too disorientating. As with many design ideas, moderation is key. 

A living room with a cream sofa and a mirrored wall

(Image credit: Bartolotti Media for Sotheby’s International Realty)

In some spaces, the generous size of Elton's apartment does lend itself to more daring mirror ideas, as shown in this drawing room where a wall mirror and mirrored ceiling panels create an illusory effect. 

As Design Consultant Eleanor Taylor-Roberts notes, they also culminate in a palatial look that feels distinctly on-brand for an icon like Elton. 'Not only do they add further grandeur to the already expansive abode through the boundless illusion they naturally create - typically used as spatial camouflage - but they also inject an elevated layer of luxury given their unmarked transparency unequivocally showcasing refinement without a pocket of unconsidered clutter,' she says. 'The mirrored surfaces are also a mechanism for reflecting polished architectural detailing as well as the staggering views overlooked from the apartment.' 

2. Millwork

An open plan living area with wood panelled walls, arm chairs, and a desk space

(Image credit: Bartolotti Media for Sotheby’s International Realty)

Throughout the main open-plan living area of the home, light wood-paneled walls almost make the space feel like it's encased in gold. Combined with other millwork details such as the coffered ceiling, the space is raised to the height of luxury, and Lucie agrees. 'I think it's really this incredibly high-end millwork that brings the place to a luxury level,' she says. 

There's also the added warmth the amber wood accent walls bring to the home, which spotlights bordering the perimeter really emphasize. As Shauna Glenn of Shauna Glenn Design says: 'The wood paneling adds an elegant warmth to the space and provides just the right balance to the mirrored walls.' It's also a design idea that's easy to inject in your own home through a wood-paneled accent wall or simply with the heavy use of blonde wood furniture.

3. Copper accents

A living room with boucle arm chairs and a large cream L-shaped sofa

(Image credit: Bartolotti Media for Sotheby’s International Realty)

A running motif of copper accents through hardware details, coffee tables, and decorative objet also further adds to the allure and elegance of Elton's Atlanta home.  Just like the mirrors and millwork, these rich metallic details hark to palatial grandeur for a truly elevated space while also tying individual rooms together through a recurring theme.

'The peppering of captivating copper accents punctuating throughout the residence brings timeless appeal to the interiors,' says Eleanor. 'The oldest metal's beautiful patina can add a lustrous warmth to any space, and tastefully pops against the neutral hues of the apartment walls and furniture.' To replicate this sophisticated look in your home but in a more subtle fashion, use copper hardware for your cabinet pulls or seek out vintage copper jugs to style a set of shelves. You also opt for brass accents instead if you want a duller finish. 

Additional rooms in Elton's old residence include an in-home fitness studio, a spa/massage room, and three spacious guest suites which converge to form a home that represents the pinnacle of luxury living. Of course, not all of us have a spare $5 million in the bank - if you want your space to exude a similar luxe feel, these three design ideas are the next best thing. 

Listed by Chase Mizell of Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby’s International Realty

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Color & Trends Editor

Lilith Hudson is the Color & Trends Editor at Livingetc. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.