Have you ever wondered how much it would cost to furnish plush homes, such as Buckingham Palace and no.10 Downing Street? Many homeowners will agree that furnishing a house can be just as expensive as buying one, and with the UK home to some iconic properties, we thought it would be a fun exercise to find out just how much it costs on average to furnish and decorate such properties.
We worked with our leading interior designers to estimate the below costs for each iconic property, as well as used internal and publicly available data. We considered different aspects of each property to discover which UK homes are the most expensive to furnish, including the age of a property, size, overall worth and the value of its possessions.
The top ten most expensive UK homes to furnish are as follows:
- Windsor Castle - £64 million
Windsor Castle is one of the biggest royal residencies in the world, with over 1,000 rooms. Along with her Majesty the Queen, the castle is home to more than 150 members of staff. Interior items often seen include oak cabinets designed circa 1783, gold candelabras and a selection of fine antique furniture dating back to the 18th and early-19th century, from armchairs to sofas.
- Hampton Court Palace - £57.6 million
Over 500 years old with more than 1,000 rooms, Hampton Court Palace was home to King Henry VIII. The palace interior consists mainly of Tudor and Georginan furnishings, including Jean Pelletier tables, original state beds and crystal chandeliers.
- Buckingham Palace - £49.6 million
Buckingham Palace houses over 775 rooms with 240 bedrooms and 19 reception rooms. An official royal residence since 1761, the Palace still houses furniture from the 18th century and many rooms follow an ornate red, gold and green colour scheme.
- Sandringham House - £43.2 million
Located in Norfolk, Sandringham House is a private residence of the Royals. Dating back to Elizabethan times with renovations added by Queen Victoria, the house still today follows popular Edwardian interior design, with antique 19th century cabinets and tables scattered throughout the property.
- Highclere Castle - £19.2 million
Commonly known as the filming location for Downton Abbey, Highclere Castle was built in the Jacobethan style in 1679 and has over 200 rooms. The interiors mainly consist of Victorian furniture and antiques, but the castle also has more unique furnishings, such as leather walls in its Saloon room and a beautiful four poster bed adorned with 18th century silk in its Mercia bedroom.
- Kensington Palace - £16.9 million
The residence to many royal family members including the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Kensington Palace is decorated with elaborate colour schemes and opulent furnishings. Although it's now home to the younger generation of Royals, who have brought more contemporary design elements to the property, the main palace still has historic decor, such as classically painted ceilings, grand four poster beds and Japanese lacquer cabinets that display oriental porcelain.
- Blenheim Palace - £11.9 million
Blenheim Palace, the birthplace and ancestral home of Sir Winston Churchill, houses an extensive collection of antique furniture, sculptures and tapestries. Built in the 18th century, the palace interiors consist of traditional furnishings from the period, more notably a pipe organ in the library.
- Chatsworth House - £8 million
Located in the Peak District, Chatsworth House has over 300 rooms, and is still the private home for the Cavendish family. Furnishings seen throughout the property include 18th century sofas, and bookcases and fireplaces by 19th century architect Jeffry Wyatville.
- No.10 Downing Street - £6.4 million
With approximately 100 rooms, 10 Downing Street's interiors date back to the 18th and 19th century. Decorative features seen inside include brass chandeliers, Chippendale and antique furniture, traditional heavy drapes and grandfather clocks.
- Balmoral Castle - £5.1 million
Located in the highlands, Balmoral Castle has been the royal family's holiday destination for many years. Other than the main castle, the estate is home to approximately 150 smaller properties. Oak furnishings are seen throughout the castle, including floor to ceiling bookcases, ornate clocks and crystal chandeliers.
Along with the research, we also surveyed 3,010 UK homeowners to discover their furnishing and decorating spending habits.
The results show that the average Brit spends £14,650 decorating and furnishing an entire three-bedroom house, and that the most expensive room in a house to decorate is the living room, which costs on average £3,400. In comparison, the cheapest room to decorate is a bathroom at £650.
Our data shows that to decorate and furnish one room in a typical British home, it will set Brits back £1,831 (on average of course).
Following this research and survey, our interior expert, Sharmeen Shahid, has put together her guide to luxury interiors, to help you transform your home.
When it comes to interior design, the main goal is to bring character to a room. Looking at the list above, the majority of homes date back to the 19th, 18th and even 17th century, and therefore boast a variety of decorative features popular during that era. Unfortunately, modern builds often lack the little quirks which add character to a room - but that shouldn’t stop you from adding them yourself!
A great way to do this whilst also adding depth to your room is by adding panelling. Simple and fairly inexpensive to do, panelling adds a bit of traditional character to a room whilst still giving your home a modern, clean look.
All things accessories
For the majority of us, accessorising a room is the most exciting part of the decorating process; it’s something you can continue to change without drastically re-decorating a space every couple of months. Our top rules to consider when accessorising are quality, quantity, and suitability.
The quality of your items is vital to making any room look ‘luxe’ and expensive. While you can find inexpensive alternatives for some objects, good quality and classic statement pieces are always a good investment. Decide what item that might be for you - whether it’s a great pair of curtains, a statement rug or sofa, and design the rest of the room with those items in mind. High quality fabrics and materials will also add a luxury feel to your home, such as velvet, silk and satin.
You should also be aware of the quantity of accessories in your home. The one thing that can ruin an interior like no other is clutter. Limit yourself to a few statement accessories, as you can always switch items in and out each season, or whenever you fancy a change of scenery.
The last and most important rule is suitability. If an item doesn’t go with the room, don’t buy it. If you really love an accessory, you can always see if it would suit another part of your home or you can redecorate a room around that theme.
The importance of lighting
Mood lighting is essential to any room. Whether you want a warm, cosy room lit through side lights or a breezy, open space filled with spotlights, the overall effect will be dependent on your choice of lighting. Before purchasing a basic lampshade or ceiling light, decide how you will use the room, who will spend the most time in it and how you want the space to feel, then look at the options available.
A great tip for those with smaller houses is to use lots of mirrors. Mirrors reflect light and will make the smallest of spaces brighter and appear larger.
To create the ‘luxe’ effect, we always recommend sticking to a simple colour palette, for example, a neutral palette with pops of colour throughout. Using a bright and bold colour is a great statement, but it should be limited to a statement wall or accessories. Starting with a blank/neutral canvas will allow you to build upon it, adding colours and accents easily without overpowering the room.
Great colours to accent or use as statement shades within a luxury room include deep blues, mulberry purples, mustard yellows, crimson reds and warm metallics. These are all bold colours, but are often seen throughout luxury interiors and are associated with wealth.
Another great way to bring colour to a neutral room is by adding plants and flowers. Greenery will add a subtle pop of colour to a room, while also making the space more appealing and alive. Faux plants and flowers are a great investment, as they don’t require maintenance and will last a lifetime!
Patterns & prints
Another great way to personalise a room is through bold patterns and prints. Again, we don’t recommend this on every wall and accessory, but if used well throughout a room, they will bring a space to life.
For a more luxury feel, stick with florals, botanicals and bold geometric prints. A great pattern can often inspire the décor of a whole room, so if you fancy using an elaborate wallpaper make sure to pick it out first and build the rest of the room around it to avoid any style clashes.
Not so negative space
When it comes to interiors, you may think negative space is bad, however, this is not always the case. As we mentioned above, you don’t want to clutter a space as this can ruin the overall look and feel. Don’t over fill a room; it’s okay to have a sparse centre or corner. Negative or empty space will keep your room looking clean and will allow guests to appreciate the focal points of your design.
Always remember, a home is meant to be lived in - if you pack a room full or accessories and impractical furniture, you’re only going to make it harder to live in, despite how beautiful it may be.
Nick Moutter, founder of Olivia’s, said,
“Working with our team of experts, it was incredible to discover how much it would cost to decorate some of the most magnificent homes in the UK. It’s no surprise that two of the Queen’s residences, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace, are at the top of the list.
“It’s also fascinating to survey our own customers to discover how much money they spend on the interiors in their homes. I’m excited to share our data and release our royal furnishing guide to help homeowners give their own properties a luxury feel, similar to those on our list.”