The Ideal Home Show at Christmas is back and that can mean only one thing – Christmas is right around the corner! Before you even step foot into Earls Court Exhibition Centre, the festive cheer sets in when you’re greeted by a choir, Santa himself and of course more than a sprinkling of fake snow. Walk inside and there’s no dampening of spirits either when you immerse yourself straight into a winter wonderland full of twinkling trees.
This year, the ice rink made a return, as did Gregg Wallace’s Christmas Restaurant, serving mince pie ice cream alongside a rather nice chocolate whiskey yule log as part of its three course meal. Of course, there were the regular exhibitors – StudyBed Company showcased their desk to bed product, Sofa Design hoped to sell a few red sofas (what better time of year?) and there was an endless supply of wooden heart decorations on many a stand.
As for what’s new for 2014, there were three stand-out exhibitors who caught my eye…
Stargaze Lights have turned the idea of buying light strands and trying to hang them on its head. Their outdoor lighting experience projects thousands of static pin-points of light so you simply plug in and go. I was sold as soon as I realised that it meant a wave goodbye to changing burnt out light bulbs or dead light strands. Mini garden grotto anyone?
What do you call a cross between a chimney and an umbrella? That’s right, a chimella. I spoke to company owner Simon, who told me that his aim was to solve the problems that come with an open chimney – high heating bills and sleepless nights thanks to the whirring of the wind outside. The umbrella-like device is inserted into a chimney and opened, blocking the cold from entering your home. There are four small vents at the sides once it’s inserted which allow for ventilation, making sure that you don’t get a nasty damp problem while you’re saving around £200 a year on a lower heating bill. It’s a clever idea that’s proved popular since Simon came up with the concept four years ago; Chimella have sold 3,500 of their chimney umbrellas this year alone.
If there was ever a time to embrace the glam, it’s December. Tile supplier Laporsa have all sorts of porcelain, quartz and mosaic tiles in their range but it was their crystal mosaics that made an impression. While not for everyone (admittedly, they are verging on Essex glitz), they broke from the routine of your neutral colour shy bathroom tile and added a touch of sparkle to proceedings.
You might not want to tile your whole shower in one vibrant shade but implementing it in small doses could inject a sense of fun into the room and give it a lift. I’m a fan of the green, although I’m informed that it’s the purple that’s the most popular shade with customers, outselling my predicted favourite of silver by roughly 4 times the amount!
No show report could come to an end without giving a special mention to Den, whose quirky mirror just missed my top three picks. It might not be practical in the slightest (after all a mirror is designed to reflect clearly), but it’s playful and unique. Perhaps it’ll catch on and become the 21st century version of the red rose on a date…
The Ideal Home Show at Christmas is sponsored by GoCompare and takes place at Earls Court, London between the 19th and 23rd of November 2014. For more information, visit the official Ideal Home Show at Christmas website.
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