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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.
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.
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.