I had the good fortune to be in London on business earlier this year at the same time as the Ideal Home Show was on at Earls Court. Having a free day in my itinerary and not wishing to succumb to the temptation of the clothes stores, I took the opportunity to spend the day at the show, gathering inspiration for redecorating my home. Lunch and drinks aside I didn’t spend any money at the show – though I did come away with a mighty big shopping list!

I’d like to give my home a contemporary look but don’t want it to turn into one of those dreadful ‘magnolia’ houses where there are no features in any of the rooms. I fear that, left to my own devices that would be exactly what my house would become. I don’t really have much vision when it comes to decorating, so seeing some of the beautiful rooms at the Ideal Home Show was just what I needed. If you’d like to see some of the exciting displays from the show you can check out some of the highlights on the Ideal Home Show website.

Some of the room lighting on display was quite stunning. Some of the chandeliers and lights were a feature in themselves, whilst others were there to highlight other objects as a feature. Some of the really impressive displays used newer LED lighting technology. You can check out some of the impressive possibilities LED lights to bring at the LightRoom website. Apparently, LED lights to work off very low voltage, so they are energy efficient and they don’t generate much heat so they are safe to use in materials that couldn’t normally be used for lighting.

A discussion with one of the exhibitors at the show finally gave me some enlightenment about the contemporary look and how to carry it off well. Whilst I could tell what worked when I saw it, I couldn’t quite define what made a minimalist, yet interesting living space. I now understand that the whole point of this style is to make the most of the available space.

Adding points of interest such as furniture with strong angular lines enhance the contrast between open space and furniture. Clever appliances such as the bioethanol fires from Smartfire, are not only functional for heating but also add a focal point of interest. If like me you’d never heard of or seen a bioethanol fire, check them out at the Smartfire website.

Possibly the biggest item on my shopping list was a new kitchen. I saw some wonderful kitchens on display. They had been designed to be efficient spaces for cooking but also had a very stylish appearance to them. It wasn’t just the kitchen units that impressed me most, the appliances were out of this world too. The hobs on the atag stand were incredible. I had never seen an induction hob before. I’m not sure I fully understand how it works but it has something to do with the type of pans that are used on it. Instead of heat escaping elsewhere, all the heat is delivered to the bottom of the pan. Incredibly the heat can be shut off instantly when cooking so that if you need to step away from the hob for a second you can effectively put the cooking on pause! In keeping with the minimalist ideals, induction hobs are very sleek and stylish – you can see some examples on the atag website.

In hindsight, I might have spent less money by taking a tour of the clothes boutiques in London. Over the next few months, I’ll be bringing some of the wonderful things I saw at the Ideal Home Show to my home. If like me you’re in need of inspiration for re-decorating your home I’d thoroughly recommend paying a visit to the show when it returns next March / April. Tickets are already available for next year’s show from the Ideal Home Show website.