We pick the UK’s top 10 most surprising home interiors

The front of a house is where first impressions are formed, but once it has been built there isn’t all that much you can do to change the look. On the inside however, you have complete freedom to create your own private world. The possibilities are endless and simple rooms can be transformed to reflect different time periods, cultures, passions and styles. 

We decided to take a look at some of the best examples of ‘not judging a book by its cover’ and have shortlisted ten homes that demonstrate the best the UK has to offer in terms of remarkable interiors.

Here’s our top 10:

  1. 13 rooms with 13 different styles, Essex

 - credit Gavin Conlan Photography

Over 25 years (and after almost £1 million has been spent), an ex-council house in Essex has been painstakingly converted into 13 themed rooms, each one inspired by a different time period or locations from around the world. From a hallway inspired by ‘The Palace of Shadows’ in Italy to a New Orleans style kitchen and a conservatory styled after a Japanese teahouse, each room tells its own unique story.

 - credit Gaving Conlon Photography
  1. Belvoir castle inspired cottage, Northamptonshire

 - credit Zoopla and Chris George The Estate Agent

In a Northamptonshire village, a grade II-listed cottage has taken interior inspiration from Belvoir castle to achieve a truly regal feel. Inside, ornate furnishings, brocade curtains and a feature fireplace dominate the ground floor. While upstairs, the master bedroom’s ceiling has been painted in the style of Michaelangelo’s legendary work in the Sistine Chapel.

- credit Zoopla and Chris George The Estate Agent.


  1. Palace of Versailles council flat, Southampton

- credit Caters News Agency.

Within a flat on the 9th floor of a 1960s tower block in Southampton, one resident has recreated the palace of Versailles. Every corner of the apartment from the walls and ceilings to the fireplace and bathroom has been styled after the 17th Century home of French royalty.

 - credit Caters News Agency


  1. Hidden victorian pub, London

 - credit Rightmove and Purplebricks

An unassuming terraced house in Hackney is home to a replica Victorian pub, complete with wooden bar, working pumps, a stained-glass ceiling and authentic stools. The Victorian décor extends throughout the rest of the house with a large tiled bathroom and vintage wooden cabinets in the kitchen.

- credit Rightmove and Purplebricks


  1. Alice in Wonderland house, Brighton

Located along the seafront in Brighton, this unassuming regency house has been transformed into a magical wonderland. With six luxurious bedrooms all themed around Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and a long dining room that is ideal for enjoying a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. There are teacup stools, chequerboard floors, colourful tea sets and a Queen of Hearts styled bedroom.

- credit Holidaylettings.co.uk


  1. Victorian funhouse, Grimsby

- credit Grimsbytelegraph WS

This five-bed detached Victorian house in the coastal town of Grimsby looks luxurious from the outside, but down in the basement it holds an exciting secret; its very own ball pit, surrounded by green netting, yellow walls and a tunnel system.

- credit Grimsbytelegraph WS


  1. Medieval banquet hall, Weston-super-Mare

From the outside this four-bed semi in Southwest England looks just like every other house on the street, but step inside to be transported to a medieval castle. The walls have been painted in a unique way to resemble stone, light is provided by artificial flames and log fire scented candles add to the ambience. A suit of armour watches over a round table which is perfect for medieval-themed banquets.

 - credit Caters News Agency


  1. Star trek Voyager flat, Leicestershire

 - credit Google Street View

Fans of Star Trek can board the USS Voyager by entering a studio flat in the market town of Hinckley. Revealing nothing from the outside, the interior of this flat has been completely remodelled to replicate the iconic starship, with computerized flight deck, voice-activated lighting and a distinct sci-fi glow. The walls are metallic, doorways have rounded corners and the apartment does not let in any natural light to enhance the ‘realism’ of this unique property.

- credit Rightmove


  1. Big purple house, Middlesex

- credit Rightmove and R Whitley and Co

This four bedroom suburban property appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, yet on the inside it is a prime example on how to fully embrace a favourite colour, in this case - purple. Every room of the house is awash with various shades of violet and lilac, even the bath is carpeted in deep purple.

- credit Rightmove and R Whitley and Co


  1. Barbie’s Dream House, Sheffield

What was once a run of the mill house, decorated with minimalist whites and creams has now been decorated from top to bottom with every colour of the rainbow. It’s a bold look that is consistent throughout the house, from the fireplace to the salt and pepper shakers, everything is vibrant, bright and zany.

- credit Caters News Agency and Rachel Havenhand Design


We asked our interiors expert, Sharmeen Shahid, to share her top tips for turning the mundane into the extraordinary, without having to go as all out as some of these dedicated designers.

Five simple tips for transforming an interior space:

  1. Wall art - From family photos to abstract paintings, wall art is one of the strongest and easiest ways to transport a room to a different time and place. The rest of the room could be totally ordinary, but choose the right picture and that will be the element everyone remembers.
  2. Plants - Adding plants to a room can literally bring it to life. Choose one that originates from your favourite country and you will be instantly reminded of that special trip every time you see it.
  3. Rugs - Coming in all shapes, sizes, styles and colours, rugs can tie a room together and add warmth and character to the most empty of spaces. There are a vast array of rugs that represent and exude a type of style, such as Moroccan rugs that add warmth and a touch of the exotic, or rustic faux fur rugs that compliment a more traditional interior.  
  4. Scent - Often forgotten when it comes to interior design, but given that certain smells can trigger strong memories, it makes sense to consider this as the right scented candle can completely change a room’s ambience.
  5. Colour - completely redecorating a whole house in one colour may be a little extreme, but colour is a great way to create differentiation between rooms in the home, it can draw attention to certain features or it can compliment them.

Nick Moutter, founder of Olivia’s, said,

“I love how the phrase 'don't judge a book by its cover’ can easily be applied to homes of all kinds. A house that may seem completely unassuming from the outside could be hiding a magical world on the inside. That is why I am so passionate about interior design; it has the potential to transform the most ordinary of homes into incredible spaces.

While some of the places on this list may surpass most budgets, it is easy to create unique themes and standout décor with just a few changes. Our interiors expert Sharmeen, is always surprising us with simple tips and changes that make a big difference.”


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