Saturday, 7 February 2009

Where ideas come from


My friend Nancy and I have made a discovery. Most interiors magazines are a bit lazy. It's lots easier to find a case study home that's been professionally designed and is packed with key pieces by designers than it is to dig out some off-beat, unusual home to put on show. For roomsets styled specifically for a shoot, the magazine will typically feature products that the reader can just go out and buy - new stuff from Habitat, Debenhams, Ikea and Homebase. It keeps the magazine's advertisers happy, because this kind of editorial content primes the readership to equate decorating with shopping and spending.

Here's a pic of the new Living Etc. The coverlines acknowledge that there could be a credit crunch or even recession going on, but the emphasis is still on spending: Luxe-for-less bedroom buys! 18 inspirational looks for every budget! Affordable kitchen essentials! For plenty of people right now it's not about buying, or budgeting or even affording - and why should it have to be? There are lots of solutions out there that use free materials, lateral thinking and creativity.

These kinds of magazines can provide some inspiration, but they don't encourage a reader to stretch their imagination. This is why a good old wander through Flickr can be so absorbing. You get to look at the ideas of real people and you get the chance to imagine how you can recreate something of what they've done. There's no easy get-out clause - it's not a case of marching to the store and grabbing a mass produced object off the shelf. So today rather than spending £3.20 on a magazine filled with adverts that I'll only end up recycling anyway, I'm loving Ecomonster. Who just so happens to have some good ideas for upcycling the glossy pages of magazines...

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