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Ever since I purchased my first home many years ago I have had a keen interest in interior design with the majority of my initial ideas coming from TV programmes such as The House Doctor. My ideal job would be to style people's homes as I am in my element when I am experimenting with different colours and textures. I'm not a fan of women's monthly glossy magazines and will only make a purchase when there's a free gift on the cover, particularly as their ideas are way beyond my price range. Whilst there are an array of house magazines from which to choose with the majority costing between £3.50 - £5.00 I opt for just two monthly magazines; one of which is Style at Home with a cost of just £1.99 for each edition. The magazine is fairly new and was introduced around 12 months ago with its sister magazine, Your Homes being the other one that I regularly purchase. The edition I am looking at for the purpose of my review is the current one (April 2012) where we are provided with 130 pages packed full of useful information with the most important point being that the items and ideas suggested are affordable. The pages aren't of the highest quality with the texture being similar to the rough books I remember so very well from my school days. However, this is not an issue for me as this is what obviously keeps the price down. One of the first things I noticed about this magazine is that there is very little advertising, which generally takes up half of the glossy magazines. We are provided with a handy double spread introduction to the magazine, which is broken down in sections, eg products to buy, readers' DIY projects and transformations of their homes, craft ideas and ideas to brighten up your home. The magazine is categorised into specific areas with the top right hand of the page being colour co-ordinated, which I find very handy, particularly if I'm referring back to something at a later date. Much of my inspiration these days is taken from seeing other people's homes as opposed to a staged home that gives the appearance of an unloved show house. Whilst I have no intentions of undertaking any large DIY projects the magazine inspires me to be more creative with colours and matching accessories. My hubby cringes when I buy this magazine as I have an awful habit of wanting to change cushions, bedding and curtains as a result of seeing someone else's home! We are presented with colourful images and considerable text about real life readers' projects where we are advised how they set about revamping their homes, how long they took to complete the task together with costings. We are provided with details of a few products that we can copy to achieve the same finishing touches as the reader such as cushions, lamps and vases, which are available at affordable shops. I always feel inspired by the projects and the amazing transformations and something I'm always noticing is that my fairly new electric oven and extractor fan appear in almost every edition. Each month the magazine discusses a specific product and in relation to April's issue we are provided with details on numerous sofas with a list of buying tips as well as the most energy efficient fridge/freezers. Several pages of this issue provide information on cleaning where a number of home made products are suggested such as advice on how to create window cleaner and a detergent solution. The cookery pages are also another inspiration for me as I find myself drooling at the delicious photographs and at the time of writing I am looking at a delicious apple and almond upside down cake. I cannot admit to having tried it out yet, but it's definitely on the forever growing list of "things to do". Towards the end of the magazine there are a number of craft projects with the April issue providing instructions on how to create an effective light fitting, such as gluing tissues or paper doilies all over it! However, I cannot admit to having the desire to try this out. As we are once again approaching the garden season several pages have been dedicated to outdoor tasks where considerable advice and information is provided on updating tired looking decking. No doubt future issues will provide suggestions for plants and vegetables, when to plant and how to care for them. If you are looking for inspiration on how to further style your home and garden or you simply want to have a nose inside other people's homes, I would look no further as for just £1.99 a month Style at Home offers all you could possibly need. The magazine tends to be available at around the 4th of the month although my nearby Tesco Extra always seems to delay in placing it on the shelf. I cannot recommend this magazine highly enough and for that reason it receives 5 stars from me. I hope you found my review useful and thanks for reading.
As I'm currently planning to have my bathroom revamped, I've been doing lots of research on the internet looking for ideas to show Ben the plumber just how I want it to look. During my search I've also bought a couple of magazines which had bathroom features in them, which is how I came across Style at Home magazine. Even though its bathroom feature wasn't particularly helpful in my quest for the perfect bathroom, I was nevertheless so impressed by the magazine as a whole that I've taken out a monthly subscription. Style at Home is a title from the IPC publishing giant and falls somewhere towards the lower end of the market by which I mean it's not really a rival of such titles as House & Garden or Ideal Home, both of which I'd regard as pretty high end. Style at Home is aimed at the average home owner who does lots of their own decorating, has fairly eclectic tastes when it comes to home style, always has an eye out for a bargain and likes to put their own stamp on their property. Price: This monthly magazine currently sells at £1.99. This is reduced to £1.16 a month if readers take out the current offer of an annual subscription for £13.99. Even paying the full cover price, however, I reckon this magazine is pretty good value for money. Style at Home more than fulfils the promises of its twin mission statements of 'Love It, Buy It, Do It, Make It' and 'Stylish Homes, Affordable Ideas'. My reading experience: The low cover price of the magazine is achieved by the fact that this isn't a glossy. The front cover is, of course, but the inner pages are of a far rougher, lower grade paper. Despite the slightly poorer quality paper, the magazine is packed full of colour photographs giving it a bright and cheerful look which invites the reader in and personally, I find it much easier to turn the slightly rougher pages than with super glossy magazines and the picture quality is still extremely high. In each issue there are the regular features such as letter from the editor and competitions and every month has a selected readers' panel who give their comments on various features in the magazine. The contents of the magazine are laid out in an easy to read style under the headings of Love It, Buy It, Do It, Make It. Under the Love It banner are generally seven projects comprising three room makeover and showing four readers' homes offering lots of style ideas for those of us who need some design inspiration. The rooms and houses shown whilst lovely aren't beyond the aspirations of most of us. The thing I dislike most about magazines such as Ideal Home is the fact that they're targeted towards people who live in converted barns or self-builds and don't blanch at the prospect of shelling out thousands of pounds for bespoke pieces of furniture. As someone who's more into Ikea and junk shop finds than Heals or Harrods those magazines just aren't relevant to me. The Buy It articles tend to concentrate on various household items for which a person may need some shopping guidance. For instance, the February issue has a double page spread with suggestions for buying an armchair and shows ten of the latest styles ranging in price from a modest £169 to a rather pricey £715. There are other shopping articles on wall mirrors, iPod docking stations and the latest on-trend (don't you just hate that phrase) art prints, as well as other pages featuring ways to transform a bedroom with just five buys, retro kitchenalia and ways to brighten up your bathroom. The Do It section has lots of varied and simply makeover tricks such as 50+ purse-friendly weekend revamps. These include suggesting practical painting ideas for getting the job done quickly, as well as a couple of other great tips. One of the tips I shall certainly be using in future is that for those looking for a large, neutral rug, it's far cheaper to ask your local carpet shop to bind a carpet remnant than it is to buy a ready made rug. This section has lots of great design and style ideas many of which are really simple yet effective. If you're not particularly good with your hands, you may want to skip the Make It section, although the range of crafty ideas is wide and there's something for everyone to have a go at, even someone as kack-handed as me. Many of these ideas are on the shabby chic end of the style spectrum and are a little bit too twee, even for me. I prefer my shabby chic to be more on the plain side as I'm not a huge fan of the Kath Kidson flowery look. However, there are other super ideas such as creative ways to use old maps which shows how to cut out, mount and frame pieces of old maps. This is another idea I'm definitely going to use in the future. I can't believe how effective a piece of map can look when framed and on a wall! The magazine isn't just about style and design, however, and the current issue has a pull-out section called CookIt which gives 50+ quick and easy recipes including ideas for a Valentine's Day supper. Each recipe has details of how long it takes to make, how many it serves and cost per serving and the recipes given offer a good range for vegetarians as well as for meat and fish eaters. My conclusions: Every copy I've read of this magazine so far has provide lots of ideas and inspiration for my home, most of which are easily affordable on the average budget. Not only is it packed full of ideas for styling your home, feeding your family and ways to save money whilst doing it, unlike many of the big glossies which have about 50% of their pages given over to advertising, there's very little in Style at Home. In fact, apart from inside the front and back covers, the biggest advert I could find this month is for taking out a subscription to the magazine, something I think anyone would feel tempted to do after reading this. I certainly did.