Last year when I shared my dream of my own home furnishings business with my mentor, she asked if I had ever done any research by going to any of the home shows. The answer was no. So when this year I saw I could apply for a free ticket for the Ideal Home Show, I thought why not! It wasn’t even a massive inconvenience as I had already booked the afternoon off for hockey dinner dress shopping.
This year the Ideal Home Show (IHS) was located at London Olympia and I visited on opening day (20th March). It was a perfect afternoon as the sun was out 🙂 The journey there was a mix of underground and overground but once at Kensington Olympia it was all very easy.
My expectations of the show were:
- Room sets by big home brands for example John Lewis or Ikea
- Interior design companies illustrating home make overs
- Independent stalls touting/selling new imaginative homewares
- And finally I would be inspired.
Upon entering Olympia I hadn’t appreciated how large it was going to be, there were two floors which seemed to sprawling out in all compass directions. I started on the ground and straight away found the 3 houses:
1. The Gap house: This house was 3 metres wide and 3 storey. It felt very dark because the windows were only at either end but also the majority of the walls were dark grey or blue. Things of mention:
- Lights hanging off hooks using longer flex like my light in lounge
- Penguin books displayed on floating shelves. I have been collecting old books to display some where so this looked ideal
2. Home for life: This house was 2 storey. The ground floor had a larger footprint due to a large decking area on the first floor. One side of the house was completely glass. This was my favourite one. Things of mention:
- Clean, sparse, simple kitchen.
- Blackboard paint used on the wall in the dining/ kitchen area. I have often thought about having this
- Hexagonal coffee table.
- Stair carpet, think I’d like something similar in my home
- Seemed to be a lot of brick tiles in the bathrooms being positioned vertically, not sure I like it.
3. Future proof home: Another two storey home with a terrace above the ground floor. Things of mention:
- Copper accessorises were everywhere!
- Liked the office area, especially the grey drawers and copper arched lamp. Though Not suitable for my home..
- Simple dressing table, I am looking for something for my spare room for the guests to beautify in 🙂
Photos of the above features can be found here
These houses were the highlight and I guess were what I expected. However, my main problem with all 3 was customer service, in respect of the staff manning them. All seemed so disinterested. Considering it was day 1 they can’t of had that many similar questions. In all houses you received a leaflet with lists of the products used and in each room there was a plague with the information displayed. However, it wasn’t very thought out, for example in the gap house I saw a yellow sideboard I liked. The plague listed everything by brand and the furniture, considering there was 3 sideboards in one room, it was hard to figure out. The steward in the room didn’t know and just told me to look online. Perhaps I expect too much, I’ve probably been ruined by my many national trust childhood visits. Their Stewards’ manage to merge in with the background, keep an eagle eye out for illegal touching or sitting and also answer lots of random questions, like is the bed that Charles I slept in?
After viewing the houses I did venture to the first floor, it had a lot of stalls selling what I can only describe as tat, I’ve never seen so many stalls selling vegetable mandolins. I even found a man selling mobile phone screen protectors, surely most people purchase these online. Whilst up here I did get the IHS goodie bag, which contained a load of leaflets, some granola and some some Durex “massage gels”, I’m still struggling to see the connection of the latter to the IHS.
In short, I’m glad I went as I did get some ideas, it was free and I like a day out doing something new. However, I’m not sure I would go again as I think browsing the high street, department stores and Pinterest would give you the same ideas, without having to deal with the masses and lack of product information.