We're all staying at home to minimize contact and increase social distancing. As the need for holding work meetings with the full team, sharing holiday dinners and hanging out with friends virtually increases, many have turned to video conferencing software Zoom Meetings.
Whether for 10 or 100 people, Zoom meetings are fun and important ways to collaborate face-to-face while we stay at home.
But not everyone wants their friends and coworkers to see their boring living rooms or messy bedrooms behind their video talking head. Some of us want to be as cool as all those late-night hosts and CNN guests with cedar bookshelves full of great American novels at their back.
Enter virtual Zoom backgrounds, a Zoom option that allows you to select any photo you wish as the backdrop behind your chat head.
But what to choose?
Let those in your meeting think you're living in the lap of luxury with an image of you sitting in front of an incredible amenity at a lavish apartment building or complex anywhere across America.
Here are 10 awesome Zoom background images from luxury apartments for you to fool your fellow chatmates with (and instructions on how to use them).
1. Swimming pool (Legacy at Twenty/20, Gonzales, LA)
"Oh my," your friends will wonder, "where is that gorgeous pool you're camped out in front of?" Miami? L.A.? Taos? They'll be wishing they were dipping their feet in the shallow end while on your latest Zoom meet up when you seem to virtually appear in front of this little piece of paradise.
Little do they know that your inviting palm tree-lined background is in the small town of Gonzales, LA, halfway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge, at the Legacy at Twenty/20. There's nothing small town about this big time pool that features water's-edge submerged lounge chairs with end tables, a 10-person Jacuzzi hot tub, waterfall feature, sundeck, poolside bungalows and fire pit with flatscreen TV entertainment — all next to an adjoining seamless fountain lake.
The Legacy at Twenty/20 (as in 2020, its address along Veterans Boulevard) is not what you would expect in a small town best known as the "Jambalaya Capital of the World," as it's home to the half-century-old Memorial Day Jambalaya Festival. The luxury community also offers a grilling pavilion, a Starbucks coffee bar, 24-hour cyber café, 24-hour fitness center and a gigantic pet park — all in a town of just 9,700 residents.
2. Rooftop lounge (The Whit, Minneapolis, MN)
Now that spring is here, it's time to get outside virtually, so set your background to give your coworkers rooftop FOMO. No matter the time of year or the weather, hearty Minneapolitans love to relax outdoors, and this two-tiered space is just the ticket.
Named for its Whittier neighborhood, The Whit has a low-slung sixth-floor industrial rooftop deck with lounge chairs set out in the Minnesota sun, stainless steel barbecue and backyard-style fire pit with stunning views of the Minneapolis skyline and U.S. Bank Stadium. And if that wasn't enough, the third-floor landing below has outdoor couches around a gas fire pit surrounding a big screen TV (perfect for watching the Vikings) and café seating.
The building is perfect for busy young professionals and modern city seekers, as half the 74 units are “micro-apartments," some as small as 340 square feet. With smaller apartments, yet outsized amenities and access to the trendiest neighborhoods, renters can spend less but still get a lot for their buck. Tenants here will also find an elevated community garden, fitness center, pet wash station and in-unit washer and dryer combos all just more than a mile from downtown.
3. Beach views (Pier Village, Long Branch, NJ)
Already time for the morning meeting? No big deal, you just grabbed your laptop and stepped outside right onto the beach. Or at least that's what your Zoom background will tell everyone.
But if you lived here at Pier Village, that's exactly what you would be able to do. This luxury community sits right on the Jersey Shore at Long Branch, just a few equidistant miles from Asbury Park and Red Bank, across the New York-New Jersey Bight from the Rockaways on Long Island.
The beautiful resort beach, one of Travel & Leisure Magazine's “20 Great American Beaches," is just a hop over Ocean Boulevard, a sandy paradise practically at your doorstep. The 536 inclusive luxury and loft residences are part of a larger mixed-use community, a self-described “city by the sea," which also features a gym, an arcade, bookstore, boutiques, a wine bar, pubs and a number of restaurants right along the shore less than 100 minutes from Midtown Manhattan by car or train.
4. Movie theater (Spectra Pearl Apartments, Hartford, CT)
Big time meetings and big Netflix watch parties alike require big screens and big sound in a big room to maximize their … bigness. So, why not have your Zoom meeting in a luxurious screening room? No one will ever know you're just sitting in your bedroom in front of your unmade bed when you pop up a virtual background of an amazing apartment movie theater.
In real life, this gigantic 55-seat soundproofed screening room inside downtown Hartford's Spectra Pearl Apartments is the perfect spot for giant FaceTiming, gaming, movie watching or Tiger King-binging with a few dozen friends. Don't feel like sitting? The theater even offers beanbag chairs and a spot to stretch out right down in front.
The year-old Spectra Pearl is a 265-unit, two-tower luxury residence in the heart of downtown offering recreation rooms on every floor, creating a community-like atmosphere nearly compelling residents to socialize and connect.
In addition to the theater, which doubles as a performance space for local artists and musicians, other amenities include an indoor bocce court, rooftop lounge, game room, pet spa, designated suntan area and even a companion outdoor theater.
Not to be outdone, Pearl residents also have access to the building's sister property next door, Spectra Plaza, which offers an indoor basketball court, library and an additional theater.
5. Clubhouse (Cypress, Seattle, WA)
If you're going to live in the sylvan, timbered Pacific Northwest, you'll want people to know it. The perfect Zoom background to flaunt your apartment community's warm, cozy gathering space is this gorgeous, spacious, wood-filled clubhouse at the aptly-named Cyprus in the Yesler/First Hill section of downtown Seattle.
Wood floors, wood ceilings, wood cabinets, wood inlays and even wood gaming tables highlight the elevated Skylounge clubhouse's presentation kitchen, sitting area, gaming area and indoor gas fireplace and fire pit. The soothing wood tones fill every detail, right down to the wooden shuffleboard and ping pong tables.
Cyprus brands itself as a “natural" place to live, with wood accents, open spaces and natural light around every corner. The new construction building sits directly across from Yesler Terrace Park, Seattle's newest public park with basketball courts and outdoor “indoor" soccer fields, just steps away from the First Hill Streetcar. Other amenities include a wide open roof deck, outdoor kitchen and barbecue, a courtyard lounge and apartments with garaged microwaves, walk-in closets and roller shades over windows overlooking either Mount Rainier or the Emerald City skyline.
6. Game room (Ridgelake, Sarasota, FL)
What better place to join that Zoom party or play Zoom trivia with friends than from your very own game room? If you're having a video chat Boggle or poker tournament, intimidate your opponents with a backdrop putting you square in the middle of the gaming action.
That's what you'll find in the game room at Ridgelake in Sarasota, FL, on the Sunshine State's Gulf Coast. This real-life physical gamers' paradise includes everything a classic game fan would desire, including a mahogany billiard table, tabletop shuffleboard, game tables with hand-carved chess, checker and Connect Four boards and even wall-mounted giant Scrabble with magnetic pieces around a sitting area perfect for group trivia.
The multi-building Ridgelake complex sits at the junction of Interstate 75 and Bee Ridge Road just outside Sarasota proper, aptly surrounding the ridge of a 20-acre synthetic lake (with its own beach). Just 15 minutes from the Gulf beaches, the complex is an all-inclusive resort-style community, which also offers a heated zero-entry saltwater pool, yoga lawn, pet salon, coffee bar and both car and bike maintenance facilities on site.
7. Classy kitchen (Hubbard Park Place, Columbus, OH)
Early morning Zoom meeting? Late night Zoom murder mystery party? Keep it casual like you're effortlessly leaning up against your trendy island sipping a latte or Moscow Mule with a video background of this very modern kitchen.
Back here on Earth, this appealing and functional kitchen belongs to the Hubbard Park Place apartments in Columbus, OH's uber-chic Short North. The perfectly placed kitchen offers quartz countertops and a marble backsplash, custom wooden quiet-close cabinets, integrated spice rack, double oven, stainless steel French door refrigerator and Italian gas range, breakfast bar island with incorporated basin sink and dual walk-in storage, all under pendant lighting. The open plan spills out into a shotgun space aligned to large dining and living areas.
While offering high-level amenities like spacious balconies, steam room and a rooftop “experience" with hot tub, pool and pergola, Hubbard Park Place's killer app is its location in the heart of Short North. The 101-unit, year-old building sits just a block east of North High Street, one of America's coolest arts and entertainment districts, featuring trendy pubs, cafés, restaurants, boutiques and art galleries, and a block west of Victorian Village, Columbus Monthly's “Best Neighborhood for Arts/Entertainment," filled with dozens of beautiful Victorian and Queen Anne homes and 33-acre Goodale Park, an urban park with trails, athletic fields and courts and a fountain spring lake.
8. Fitness center (Grand Reserve at Park Isle, Clearwater, FL)
Do you even lift, bro? Fine, you'll take a meeting now even if it interrupts leg day. Make sure everyone on your Zoom call knows you're staying in shape and begrudgingly taking a break from your burpees to hop on. Paint the picture with this stunning gym as your backdrop.
The fitness center at Grand Reserve at Park Isle in Clearwater, FL, is a three-room suite with a plethora of apparatus so you'll rarely wait for a machine. The main room features treadmills, ellipticals, rowing machines, lat machines, stair-steppers, benches and free weights in a large open space with tons of natural light. The adjoining rooms offer specialized workouts with Lemond exercise bikes, stability balls, resistance ropes, yoga space and video workout stations where Gulf Coast beach bods are made.
The complex itself sits on the eastern side of Clearwater in the Gulf to Bay section of the city, just off Tampa Bay, but it's only 15 minutes from the Gulf beaches and downtown Tampa. The 16-building Grand Reserve offers large floor plan units with nine-foot vaulted ceilings, along with amenities like tennis courts, a dog park and two swimming pools with outfitted sundecks and gas grills, one surrounded by a canopy of shade trees and the other overlooking a private fountained lake.
9. Sports recreation (Tallgrass Apartments, Mount Pleasant, MI)
Not a gym rat? Let everyone on your video grid know you got game sitting in front of a background of this gigantic basketball gym that's incredibly housed at an off-campus apartment complex in the Upper Midwest.
Many apartment buildings and complexes have mini half courts and small shoot-around hoops, but Tallgrass Apartments in Mount Pleasant, MI, offers this huge full-sized pickup palace where you and your friends can battle 5-on-5 end-to-end. During cold Michigan winters, heat up the court under fluorescent and natural light, but come summer, swing open the eight industrial garage doors and let in the fresh air while you launch three-pointers.
With amenities like this, it's no wonder a complex like Tallgrass Apartments attracts a number of college students, especially offering free shuttle services to and from the campus of Central Michigan University just a mile away. Grab some roommates and lease one of the two, three and four-bedroom units (offering semester-length leases) with features including in-unit washer/dryers, complimentary Wi-Fi, a 24-hour fitness center connected to the basketball facility and even a beach volleyball court.
10. Pet park (Grand Highlands Vestavia Hills, Vestavia, AL)
Everyone's favorite part of a Zoom meeting is when a co-worker's dog shows up unexpectedly in the background, or in their lap! Don't feel left out, and set your Zoom view to you sitting in front of this adorbs dog park.
This puppy paradise is located in central Alabama's Vestavia Hills, Birmingham's second-largest suburb, at the Grand Highlands Vestavia Hills apartments. The large wooded, friendly space offers a perimeter dog run, hydration station, toy storage, dog waste station and a number of canine agility course features like a seesaw ramp, pipe tunnel, climbing stands and adjustable jumps. And after the end of a hard run, take your pup inside to the pet spa, where they can soak in a tile bathing tub and shower and dry off at the step-up air-powered grooming station.
Grand Highlands is a sprawling complex in the woodlands of Jefferson County with a rustic nature preserve atmosphere. Amenities bring together the serene environment with modern spaces, including a shaded outdoor kitchen and grilling area, playground, cozy fire pit, tennis courts and two cabana-ringed, resort-style pools.
How to set a custom Zoom background
Setting any of these images above to be your Zoom meeting background couldn't be easier. Just follow these steps:
- Select which image you wish to use. Right click on the image (or control-click on Mac or long press on your iPhone … sorry Galaxy folks, Zoom virtual backgrounds are not supported on Android) and choose “Save Image."
- Join your Zoom meeting by clicking the link you were sent by the meeting host (choosing “Open Zoom Meeting" if prompted). Note: If you have not previously downloaded Zoom, you'll be prompted to do so.
- Select “Join with Video" and you'll see yourself on your laptop or phone against your boring, real-life background
- To set a new background, go to the bottom of the screen, click the up-arrow to the right of the “Stop Video" button (or click the “More" button on iOS), and select “Choose a Virtual Background"
- On the window that pops up, choose the “Virtual Background" tab (if not already selected) and make sure “I have a green screen" is unselected (On iOS, this step is done automatically)
- Then click “Add Image" (or the “+" sign on your iPhone)
- Find the image you saved on your hard drive, most likely in Downloads or on your desktop, double click or open it and — bam — you have your new virtual background. Just close the setting dialog box and start talking!
Enjoy swapping your real-life for these luxury apartment backgrounds at your next Zoom meeting or Zoom party. You can also find literally thousands more incredible views, amenities and features from other apartments across the country at ApartmentGuide.com.
But don't blame us when your boss thinks you're making too much if you can afford those swanky digs or if your friends invite themselves over when we're allowed back out and expect you to be living a lifestyle of the rich and famous. Or, you can just search Apartment Guide for your actual dream apartment and live it.