A decade after its launch—with a test issue released Oct. 4, 2011—as a partnership between cable network HGTV and Hearst Magazines, HGTV Magazine remains a glossy success story.
Even as the publishing industry overall continues to struggle, the shelter/lifestyle monthly continues to thrive, serving not only as a hard-copy expression of the sensibility of HGTV, but as a publication that stands on its own. (To appreciate HGTV Magazine’s low-key, cheery, eminently accessible approach to home design and decor, readers don’t have to ever tune into any HGTV programming.)
Today, HGTV Magazine has 1.2 million subscribers, is one of the top 10 sellers at the newsstand among all monthlies and its 10th birthday edition—the October 2021 issue, on sale now—is up 40% in ad pages year-over-year.
To mark 10 years of HGTV Magazine, Ad Age asked the glossy’s editorial and business leadership 10 questions. Here, Sara Peterson, editor-in-chief (from the very start) and Vicki Wellington, senior VP, group publishing director and chief revenue officer, talk about enduring home design trends, “cloffice” renovations, pandemic-era “yardening” and more.
(This Q&A has been lightly edited for space and clarity.)
Across the past 10 years, what home design and renovation trends have been the most enduring?
Peterson: As pretty as neutrals are, people love playing with colors and patterns—they just make decorating fun. Bright accessories, bold rugs and eye-catching wallpaper—peel-and-stick wallpaper as well as traditional—are here to stay. Subway tile will probably always be a best bet, whether it’s in a farmhouse-style kitchen or a modern bathroom. Natural wood in lighter tones seems to be sticking around. And we’re seeing a lot more kitchens with wood cabinets—not painted—pop up again.
With many companies delaying back-to-the-office plans as the pandemic drags on, are we seeing another surge in homeowners remodeling/retrofitting/rethinking their spaces?
Wellington: Yes, re-imagining living spaces is ongoing! Many of us rethought how we want to live and work during the past 18 months, and our homes continue to do double/triple/quadruple duty to serve our needs.
HGTV Magazine commissioned a “State of Home” research study, conducted with MarketCast, of 2,600-plus respondents and we found that 61% of consumers have incorporated multifunctional workspaces into existing living areas—a bedroom closet became an office, i.e., “cloffice”—and they were 42% more likely to do home improvements themselves than in pre-pandemic times. Most embraced the challenge and will continue to tailor their spaces to suit their needs.