Since we moved house in December and plan to entirely renovate/redecorate our house, I thought that it was a great time to visit The Ideal Home Show for the first time. I wasn’t sure quite what to expect but since it is linked to the Ideal Home Magazine which I buy to browse for ideas, I thought it would be similar. I had in mind – room sets, furnishings, wallpaper, paint suppliers, bifold doors, bathroom tiles, log burners, lighting, internal doors… Basically everything you may find in a house magazine.
When we first arrived, we entered a floor full of house suppliers. Windows to sofas, garden furniture to toilets. Wondering around we could choose which products may be of interest and walk past anything else. We met a lovely man from Lithuania selling front doors which were of a high quality and I booked an appointment with BriteLight to receive a quote for our windows (who never actually showed up). If you are in the market for a bespoke kitchen there was a good selection of suppliers to chat with and they looked lovely but this is the one room we can leave alone for now so I didn’t chat to them. We also signed up for a subscription with Good Homes magazine which had a great deal including Joseph products and future show tickets. Having browsed through the edition we were given I will definitely be using this as my new go to for home inspiration as the products are affordable and lovely. Actually, the magazine deal was one of the highlights of the show.
After a delicious lunch at the Garden Restaurant (where the chef very kindly created a special meal to allow for my allergy requirements), we headed upstairs to the stalls where you can buy products. Here I expected to find furnishings, curtains, wallpaper, lamps, rugs, fireplaces, storage boxes etc. You know… things that you may actually find in a house. No. This was not to be. Instead we found hair products, make up, jewellery, ponchos, scarves and shoes by the plenty. Okay this is definitely not what I expected to see at the Ideal Home Show. I’m sure some of the stalls had some nice stuff but I was not interested in having my hair curled or my nails done today. I wanted to buy house bits. After all this is supposed to be the Ideal Home Show. Alongside this section was the food and drink area. Full of alcohol and nibbles this was nicely presented and smelled delicious, but it wasn’t what we were after today. Upstairs was definitely considerably busier than downstairs. A great place to pop by with friends for a pamper and some gin tasting but not remotely related to house renovation.
Still, we had the highlight of the show to visit next and this was surely going to improve my current view of the show right? My mum, who I visited with, had been to the Ideal Home Show before and told me about the house sets and the houses you can go inside. The house sets were good to look at (a bit like going to Ikea but in different styles. The botanical garden, although not to my taste, was definitely my favourite of the house sets. However, I was quite disappointed to find that there were only a few of them. I had been expecting lots more to provide inspiration. It’s okay though, I thought, there are still the houses to see. This however, was just another let down. There were only two ‘houses’. One of which was actually a beach hut house (which is a great concept) but not something that was relevant to me and the other was the British Gas Innovation house. I loved the decor in this one. A cosy midnight blue and teal bedroom, gorgeous blue bathroom tiles and the two kid’s bedrooms had some fabulous wallpaper and furnishings. To have seen 4 or 5 houses of this size in different interior theming would have been fabulous, but that was not to be. There were also a couple of garden pods but let’s be fair – I am looking at house ideas. This was a poor excuse for a ‘show house’. Considering this is supposed to be the show highlight it really summed up how I felt about the whole exhibition. A let down to the visitors who wanted an Ideal Home Show. I will not be going back.