The Ideal Home Show has been running for more than a hundred years now, and recently returned to its original home at Kensington Olympia. For two weeks a year, people and businesses from almost every aspect of the home building, furnishing and general living industries show off their wares in a big glass roofed building in London.
I had never been to this event before, but I like a good trade show so when the chance of a visit came up I was up for it. There are broad sections on indoor and outdoor furniture, bathrooms, kitchens, technology, interior and garden design, and a few things which would presumably make your house a little nicer.
Probably the most impressive bit of the show – and I understand a regular feature – was the collection of actual houses built within the arena. There was a cottage built with eco-friendly materials, a stack of apartments designed to show three stages of life, and – the most ambitious – a rotating house in which the TV became a mirror, a table, and a bed.
Downstairs is where most of the home stuff is to be found, with a variety of fairly tasteful options for your rooms and garden.
Upstairs there is a food court full of reasonably interesting and expensive dining options, three of which were ok but not brilliant. This and the next section were part of the ‘Eat and Drink Festival’.
Adjacent to the food court was the big produce fair, with lots of cheeses, meats, sauces, and drinks. Good fun to taste a few new products, and then a little annoying to forget to return to buy some of them!
We actually felt that the range of lounge, kitchen and bathroom furniture was a bit small, and perhaps a little too much space was turned over to junk, sorry, interior design and artwork options. In particular the technology section was very weak, with just a few toys and ropey ‘virtual reality headsets’ which were really mobile phone holders.
However, that was almost made up for by this beauty – a pool which drives water at you so you can swim on the spot. A swimming treadmill of sorts. If only I could find the tens of thousands I need to buy it…
The Ideal Home Show will open again in London in March 2018, but will be in Glasgow in May this year, and Manchester in June. For twenty pounds per adult, it’s a pretty expensive day out, but I enjoyed it, and I think if you like homes, and aren’t too minimalist, then you might too.