SPOTLIGHT 

Interiors magazines

We’ve all spent plenty of time inside our houses over the past year, so perhaps it’s time to look again at the ‘interiors’. There’s plenty of help on the newsstand, as Alan Geere finds out.

By Alan Geere

Interiors magazines
Photograph: Spacejoy on Unsplash.

Country Homes & Interiors

What’s it about: ‘Live the life…love the style’ – strapline on cover.

Vital statistics: April 2021 issue: 156 pages of 292mm x 210mm. Matt paper, heavyweight gloss cover, perfect bound. £4.80 cover price. Combined ABC of 59,191 (Jan-Dec 2020). Published monthly by Future in London.

Cover: Big picture of a greenish room to illustrate ‘Spring Days!’. Four more themed cross-refs containing a total of 13 coverlines. Masthead popping out of a white background.

Content: Listings for inside across pages three and four divided into Country Homes, Interiors & Inspiration, Seasonal Food, Lifestyle and Gardens. Plenty of short pieces to dip into and the features are given room to breathe, evidenced by 10 pages of ‘Kent Town House’. The beautiful homes, sometimes adorned by beautiful people, keep on coming: Berkshire, Norfolk, Oxfordshire. ‘Get the look’ is a helpful add-on for each feature itemising what is used in each home and where to get it. My Country Business looks at a jewellery maker while the Interiors section covers all the bases from the enigmatic ‘New Nostalgia’ through to Renovation.

Digital: Has a section on Future’s Ideal Home website with links to Twitter which has 88.1k followers, despite only one post since December 2017, and a whopping 2.5m likes on Facebook.

What they say: “My two cats could rip all that to shreds in a weekend!” – Facebook poster has her say on a ‘tranquil sitting room’.

Verdict: Just celebrated 35 years of “gorgeous homes and gardens, decorating, food, craft and lifestyle ideas” so is comfortable with its market and approach. By turn, charming, inspirational and aspirational, this offering is both instructional and entertaining for current and would-be country home dwellers.

House Beautiful

What’s it about: ‘Modern living / affordable style’ – tagline under masthead.

Vital statistics: May 2021 issue: 172 pages of 290mm x 215mm. Matt paper, heavyweight gloss cover, perfect bound. £4.99 cover price. Combined ABC of 89,129. Published 11 times a year (no January) by Hearst in London.

Cover: Big picture of a white table with nine colourful chairs, seven coverlines and a suitably beautiful masthead in cerise.

Content: A contents spread on pages six and seven taking in ‘style inspiration’ and ‘space solutions’ among the six headings. Newsy start before that ‘style inspiration’ which has the feel of an upmarket catalogue (children: that is like an online shop as a book). ‘Homes’ is a look inside beautiful real-life properties – Henley, Clapham, rural Surrey amongst them – showcased by lavish photography and enough detail to make it happen in your home. Space solutions has everything neatly priced up, enough food and drink to make you want a new kitchen and some outdoorsy stuff at the back, including the newest columnist, The Balcony Gardener.

Digital: Website at housebeautiful.com/uk (forget the /uk and you’ll end up in the American site). Click through to Twitter with 78.8k followers, Facebook with 1.87m likes and 304k followers on Instagram.

What they say: “Six editors share their bedroom decorating hacks” – Twitter post from @HB that should alert both editors and hacks.

Verdict: Bright, cheerful, comfortable – and that’s just the beautifully illustrated ‘Houses & Gardens’ that make up the meaty part of this delightful companion. Everything is put together with flair, precision and, dare it be said, not a little love. A dose of sunshine on the coffee table.

Reclaim

What’s it about: ‘Eco, salvage, vintage, upcycled & creative homes & ideas’ – strapline over masthead.

Vital statistics: Issue 58, undated but available in April 2021: 132 pages of 300mm x 232mm. Matt paper, heavyweight gloss cover, perfect bound. £4.99 cover price. Circulation not available. Published monthly by Tailor Made Publishing in Bournemouth.

Cover: Full page picture of a veranda with lanterns and painted furniture, five descriptive coverlines and a ‘win’ sticker. Ingenious use of the spine with four two-word descriptors.

Content: Run-down of contents on pages four and five with a neat camera icon to identify the cover stories. Imaginative themes include ‘Cherish’ and ‘Discover’ incorporating small pictures with clear numbering. Quick reads to start and ‘Take a moment’ featuring ‘good reads, sensory treats and peaceful pastimes’ hits the spot for these strangest of times. The cover story about a home near Amsterdam runs to 12 pages followed by another inside story about a house in Dublin. A project for an upcycled, personalised office chair and ‘Spirit of salvage’ offer a welcome distraction from the thrill of the new while an interview with a yeoman member of the Worshipful Company of Basket Makers is not something you see every day.

Digital: A stylish website at reclaimmagazine.uk has all the content readers might expect plus links to Twitter (3.1k followers), Facebook with 9k likes and Instagram where it really scores with 26.1k followers.

What they say: “I have also appeared (in my acting days) in numerous TV commercials from cream cheese to British Gas” – editor Loma-Ann Marks gets all theatrical in her LinkedIn profile.

Verdict: A feature called ‘The natural look’ and no-fly getaways are just two of the pieces that emphasise the title’s eco credentials in a refreshing take on the ‘creative homes’ theme that can come across as rather retail heavy (ie. expensive). Generous use of full-page photography and approachable design make this a readable and stimulating guide in a crowded marketplace.

Style at Home

What’s it about: ‘Britain’s best value homes magazine’ – strapline under masthead.

Vital statistics: April 2021 issue: 124 pages of 280mm x 210mm. Matt paper, heavyweight gloss cover, stitched. £2.25 cover price. Combined ABC of 65,932. Published monthly by Future in London.

Cover: Picture of a woman standing in a kitchen (‘serial renovator’ Annabelle we later learn), five other smaller images, maybe 12 coverlines as there is so much going on it is difficult to know. Oh, and don’t forget ‘412 fab ideas inside!’ – house point for whoever counted them.

Content: ‘Hi there!’ from editor Heather followed by a refreshingly straightforward contents spread divided into Love it, Buy it, Do it, Make it, Cook it (geddit?). The retail opportunities come thick and fast (Bee’s Knees luxury matches, £5.95, anyone?) followed by nine pages of Catherine’s Victorian flat conversion. Annabelle pops up again with her Georgian detached cottage and we’re still on first-name terms for Cat and Dain showing off their Victorian villa in Cheshire. A pull out and keep style book, which sadly doesn’t quite pull out, a kitchen and bathroom makeover, gardening and cooking keep interest to the very end.

Digital: styleathome.com takes you to a Canadian magazine of the same name but there is a real web presence with a page on the Ideal Home site. Links to Twitter with 20.6k followers and 35.3k likes on Facebook.

What they say: “I’ve had enough hygge (which I loved a couple of years ago) to last me a lifetime” – editor Heather Wilson gives Scandi warm and cuddly the cold shoulder in ‘10 questions with…’ in Ideal Home.

Verdict: There is so much to love about this lively offering. In fact, just so much of everything. Words, pictures, prices, links, more prices, more links and mostly to stores (George, Lakeland, Denelm etc) that readers will know and love. More ideas than you could ever wish for…410, 411, 412.

The World of Interiors

What’s it about: ‘The most influential design magazine’ – explainer on Twitter.

Vital statistics: April 2021 issue: 230 pages of 278mm x 215mm. Quality gloss paper, heavyweight cover, perfect bound. £4.99 cover price. Combined ABC of 54,034. Published monthly by Condé Nast from Vogue House in London.

Cover: Big picture of a bathroom, (“an ode to the heure bleue”, no less) two coverlines and the black masthead leaping out of a white background.

Content: Seven pages of swanky ads before a contents page with ‘Interiors’ and ‘Art & Antiques’ occupying most space. What’s new in ‘antennae’ containing an unexpected five-page feature about the interior styling of a south London council flat. How to transform an office, ‘freshening up your fenestration’ (window blinds), modern interiors, a colourful Mallorcan makeover, the inside scoop on Jasper Conran’s 500-lots country house auction, that Parisian apartment from the cover, weavers in Tibet, the works of a 17th century German lemon painter, Persian artifacts… the goodies keep on coming. Oh, and don’t forget the generous books section.

Digital: Website at worldofinteriors.co.uk has a wealth a material behind a somewhat austere splash page and links to Twitter with 113.8k followers and Facebook with nearly 2m likes. And all without any obvious promotion from the printed magazine.

What they say: “Founded in 1981, The World of Interiors now breaks every dumb rule of modern magazines” – from a profile of ‘Condé Nast’s Secret Weapon’ in the New York Times.

Verdict: Weighing in at 700 grams (one and a half pounds in old money) this has every right to its position as the heavyweight of the sector. Navigate the sumptuous advertising at the front and the meaty features are right at the back of the book. Diligent, thorough and professional yet not pompous or stuffy in any way, this big beast has surprise and delight on every page.

Your Home

What’s it about: ‘Hundreds of great-value ideas for every room’ – tagline under masthead.

Vital statistics: April 2021 issue: 132 pages of 290mm x 215mm. Matt paper, heavyweight gloss cover, stitched. £2.49 cover price. Combined ABC of 84,259. Published monthly by Immediate in Bristol.

Cover: Picture of a woman standing in her lounge, four other smaller images of food, rooms and crafts, 11 coverlines, plus competitions top and bottom of the page. Cheeky little heart with ‘YH loves’ pointing to cushions.

Content: Welcome from editor Mel, plus ‘follow and share’ links on page three before contents across pages four and five where the cover picture is repeated revealing the woman to be Gillian who is ‘decorating her home on a shoestring’. Hints, tips and even letters before no less than three kitchen makeovers. Style advice and decorating ideas before some art, sewing and upholstery lessons. Reader Homes are just that (thank you Gillian, Diandra and Vicky for inviting us) leading to Food & Drink and Gardening. Home improvement section on making the most of unused space – ‘Liberate the loft’ – is helpful without making you feel too bad about what you’re not doing.

Digital: Yourhomestyle.uk has tons of quality content. No links to social media but 68.5k followers have found Twitter, although the link from the magazine does not work, and Facebook has 11.7k likes.

What they say: “Occasional baker; full-time feminist; adorer of kittens and puppies” – editor Mel Sherwood shows her all-round credentials on Twitter profile.

Verdict: Touting ‘723 bright ideas’ and ‘only £2.49’, this energetic magazine more than lives up to its billing. Lots to look at and read with bold design, sumptuous illustration and detailed buying guides. A more thoughtful publication than might be expected from the busy cover that will give hours of inspiration and instruction.

This article was first published in InPublishing magazine. If you would like to be added to the free mailing list, please register here.