Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Improving Not Moving

It’s a well used term by the home interest magazines but it seems to be truer than ever – people are improving their homes rather than moving, and they are using the web to do their research.

With the recent demise of far too many high street home retailers to mention, and the property market still stuck in the mud, homeowners are sending a clear message; they can’t afford to move house and can’t afford big ticket items for their home.

The home magazines have known this for some time, emphasising ‘quick fix’ and ‘maximise your space’ interior solutions and looking to real readers homes for inspiration on a shoestring. You may wonder who is still buying said magazines in light of this consumer hesitancy but circulations are still up and new titles such as Style At Home, from IPC Media, are appearing on the newsagent’s shelves.

It seems that home magazines give us the best of both worlds; we can indulge our nosy natures and see how other people live whilst maintaining our mental mood boards of what we would like to do to our own homes, one small update at a time.

What’s also great to see is how our favourite reads are really making the most of online, communicating with eager homemakers via their websites, blogs and on Twitter and Facebook. Whilst this might not seem out of the ordinary, it has been a long time coming as just a couple of years ago, it seemed the magazines saw online content as their enemy, resorting to only the most basic of websites.

Times have changed and rather than competing against themselves for readership, the key home interest magazines have their own online plan for engaging their followers and providing them with daily inspiration.

One obvious yet shining example of this is the housetohome network. Bringing together content from the IPC Media stable, including Ideal Home, Homes and Gardens, Country Homes and Interiors, Livingetc, Beautiful Kitchens and 25 Beautiful Homes, this online resource is invaluable to the window shopping homeowner who dreams of a new kitchen but will probably settle for some new cutlery for now. Real Homes and Your Home also offer lots of ideas for home improvement to enjoy over your lunch hour.

With consumer confidence in online shopping at an all time high, the home interest magazines had to evolve if they wanted to compete but there’s no doubt in my mind that our favourite interiors tomes will be around for a long time yet. After all, what else is a coffee table for other than displaying our lifestyle aspirations?


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