A glance along the shelf of glossies in any newsagent reveals a
plethora of home interest titles, all bursting with articles guaranteed
to make the average home owner feel distinctly unworthy. The homes
featured are all interior-designed down to the last tasteful detail. Woe
betide any enthusiastic DIY punter who dares to run a turp-stained
finger down the list of stockists; items are often designer or
Beautiful Living seems at first glance to offer little that is different
from its well-groomed competitors. The format is familiar, the tone
suitably ’90s’ (buzz words such as downsizing and ’Feng Shui abound).
The title of the publication conjures up nauseating images of
gingerbread and step-by-step stencil guides, but once past the cover,
the content of Beautiful Living is interesting and very readable.
For someone like me, the proud owner of a newly converted Victorian
flat, the possibilities for decoration are boundless. What I need,
however, is a home interest magazine with accessible ideas which do not
require me to have a degree from St Martin’s college, or a night-school
French polishing certificate.
The magazine should offer realistic solutions, inspiration, affordable
stockists and a modicum of aspirational style. Beautiful Living offers
all these and more, in an approachable format.
The press release states that the aim of the magazine is to reach people
who see ’beautiful living as sexy’. A rather unlikely but oh-so-90s
mission statement which I could (thankfully) see no evidence of in the
chatty style of this magazine.
The content of Beautiful Living brings nothing particularly new or
radical to the home interest area but it does offer a more
lifestyle- than designer-led editorial than its stablemates.
There are several effective room makeovers which are always a draw,
enticing the reader into a world of possibilities. Nothing quite as
radical as those featured in BBC2’s Changing Rooms, but with results
which I’m sure the residents would enjoy living with.
Beautiful Living does not succeed in making home decoration sexy, but
that’s not a bad thing.
It is more bedside- than coffee-table chic; not for leafing through and
dreaming of a lottery win, but for turning to when the magnolia starts
to fade. Isn’t that what a home decor magazine is all about?
Publishing company: H Bauer
Expected circulation: 150,000
Target audience: 25- to 55-year-old women (core 35 years)
Cover price: pounds 2.20
Group advertising director: Ian Scott