Question: Can you tell me what it costs to properly furnish a house? We are thinking of moving, and want some sort of idea before we commit of how much it might cost us to decorate the new house.
Phoebe's Answer: That is a very good question. I am asked this almost every day. Over the years, from decorating so many houses, as well as just rooms, we have come up with a formula for what you should expect to spend to furnish your house. I am talking about furniture, rugs, curtains, accessories, bedding, etc. Basically from soup to nuts. We calculated a square foot formula at three different levels, and I call the three levels: Coach, Business, and First class. (And of course some people don't fly commercial, so these rules do not apply to them!) So, here is what I think you should expect to spend per square foot:
Coach class: $50.00 per sq. ft.
Business: $75.00 per sq. ft.
First Class: $100.00 per sq. ft.
Of course, there are wasted spaces in the overall square footage of your house, garages, hallways, etc., but this has been for the most part accurate in estimating a budget for our clients. When you make a complete list of all of the components in a room, and put an estimate next to it of what your budget is for each item, you will see that decorating just adds up. So many people buy a house that they cannot afford to furnish, and these are usually the most frustrated homeowners that I meet. Rattling around in a big empty house is no way to live. Your daily environment impacts you so much more than you think it does, and it should be treated with the same thought and care as you give to cars, vacations, fashion, and all other areas of household spending.
I hope this helps you to be realistic about what things cost when working with us. To think that you are going to find every great item you need at tag sales is unfortunately unrealistic. If you are extremely talented, and have time to devote to it, of course you can find deals and steal here and there - but not everyone has that ability. Do the research, shop around, and make furnishing your house the priority that it should be, and I promise it will add to the quality of your life.