THESE days our homes literally mean more to us than ever before. As well as a space to indulge in creature comforts and generally chill out, they provide a healthy nest egg. While the stock market has taken a definite long-term turn for the worse, property prices have continued to rise steadily, dizzily even, in some areas, and the increase in demand for property has fuelled the growth. So it's important for us to make sure we take good care of our homes. They may be our best bet when it comes to realising some capital or providing an income when we are older.

If upgrading or redecorating is on your domestic agenda, one of the best places to start looking for ideas may be the Ideal Home Show Scotland at the SECC in Glasgow from October 10-19.

The show specialises in cutting edge style ideas, some of them not even in the shops yet. There is a series of roomsets styled by John Lewis with themes drawn from all over the world. They will show how, with a little thought, you can turn what you see at the show into reality in your own home.

The company will have its own advisers on hand to help you plan your ideas, and more than 200 exhibitors will be displaying all the latest buys for the home and garden.

This year's showhome is the four-bedroom Lomond design, by CastleGait Homes and it has been styled Allied Carpets. It aims to show that family homes needn't lag behind in design terms, and will incorporate the latest in interior trends. Its natural earth tones blend with shades of cream to create a canvas which makes the most of light and space.

One of the most popular features of the show is the ''How to'' masterclass. Its presenters, Justin Ryan and Colin McAllister, of the BBC's Trading Up, are back for their fifth year.

''People love being part of the live theatre experience,'' says Colin ''and this year's set is a colourful recreation of the best of 1950s style. It's got a really great Molly Maid feel to it.''

''Each slot lasts an hour and is made up of a 20-minute demonstration in the presenter's field of expertise, either a small design project or creating a special dish, followed by an open question-and-answer session directed by Colin and I.

''This is a great opportunity for visitors to meet, in the flesh, the people they see on television and get to know as much as they can about the personalities and how they do things. It's also good from the presenter's point of view, because it's a grounding experience.

''They get the chance to tune into the ideas and issues popular with the people who watch their shows.''

Presentations on the hour, every hour, alternate between design and cookery themes. Some of the best known celebrities taking part are The Life Laundry's Dawna Walters, Housecall's Craig Phillips, George Bond of Better Homes, Bridget Calderhead of DIY SOS and Andrea Maflin of Renovation Street.

Finally, don't forget to pay a call to the eight Real Radio presenters who are staging a Big Brother-type sleepover.

Each day they face a task to challenge their nerves, and you can vote for your favourite to make sure they aren't evicted.

Furniture which is out of the ordinary is the speciality of the African Furniture Gallery. It produces a range of items including chairs, beds, tables and chests in teak which is harvested from protected forest blocks.

Its most innovative range is made of wooden sleepers which supported Africa's new railways in the late 1800s. After more than 100 years of soaking up the African sun, the sleepers have been replaced by concrete.

The original wood has aged beautifully and has been used to create strong individual pieces. The supply, however, is limited and will eventually run out completely. So these are not simply pieces of furniture, but also a small slice of South African history.

Reclaimed teak is known to be extremely durable in the British climate and is unlikely to shrink, move or crack. The sleepers are also completely free of creosote.

The gallery works closely with indigenous African artists and features sculptures in verdite and opal stone. It also has smaller sculptures in lepidolite, which is rarely found in large pieces. Springstone items are popular, as are serpentine, which is found in various colours. Telephone 0141 429 2474.

Ideal day at the ideal show

10am (11am on weekdays) - Arrive early to avoid the queues. Pick up a showguide and look through the list of exhibitors.

10.30am - Head for the Allied Carpets CastleGait showhome to see how a family home can be stylish as well as functional.

11.30am - Check out the hot tubs in the Home Improvements and DIY section and spot your dream sofa in the furniture section.

12pm - Hungry and thirsty? Head down to the Barclaycard Cafe

1pm - Go to the Real Radio studio to see the DJs perform their daily challenge in the Big Brother-style Real Sleepover. Vote for your favourite to stay in the ''house''.

1.30pm - Stroll through the Garden & Leisure section and relax on one of the massage chairs

2pm - Head for the John Lewis Roomsets. Take advice on design from an advisor

3pm - Another pit stop, this time in the Phoenix Suzuki Foodcourt

4pm - Take in a cookery or DIY show in the Masterclass Theatre

4.45 - Wander through the Food & Drink and Bodycare sections and sample some tasty treats or try out the latest beauty gadgets

5pm - Head to the esure stand and pamper yourself with a free massage.

5.15pm - Only 45 mins left (until 9pm weekdays) so time to splash out on all those gadgets you fancy.

Don't miss.....

One year ago Caroline McClelland decided to put her architectural skills to good use and built a Thomas the Tank headboard for her son's bed. It drew admiring glances and orders for more designs from friends and relatives. Soon word spread, and now Caroline employs three other people in her business to build bespoke furniture for children. What sets her furniture apart is the fact that she uses all the nooks and crannies as storage spaces, so that all her pieces are practical as well as good to look at. Telephone 01292 443073.

Real Radio sleepover: how will they cope?

Presenters from central Scotland's Real Radio will take part in a reality show at the Ideal Home Show Scotland. In The Real Sleepover, eight presenters will live together in a specially built set for the duration of the show.

They will broadcast their programmes live from the SECC each day, and will face challenges at 1pm. These will be set by the show organisers, and visitors and radio listeners will be asked to vote each day for whoever they want to carry out the tasks.

Given that hot tubs are among the exhibits, there should be fun and games for all.

Everyone is invited to vote for their favourite presenter each day, and the personality with the fewest number of votes will face eviction at 3pm.

Dave Knight:

Will you take a mascot for luck, and if so, what? I'm taking in my rabbit as a mascot. No name, so perhaps get the listeners to give it one.

Who and what will you miss most? I'm going to miss my two favourite friends, Stella and Artois

What are you mot looking forward to/dreading about the whole experince? Looking forward to the daily challenges, not looking forward to voting out time, just in case it's me.

What made you do it in the first place? We all hope to raise a fantastic amount of money for charity.

What do you hope to gain? I hope we come out the house a much stronger team and indeed I myself would hope to be a much stronger person.

Jay Crawford

Will you take a mascot for luck, and if so, what?A photograph of my kids would hopefully bring me luck.

Who and what will you miss most? Most people will be coming to see us in the house but I'll miss Dawn, my partner, without a doubt.

What are you most looking forward to/dreading? I'm looking forward to it all. I'm most looking forward to spending time with the team because we should have a good laugh.

What made you do it in the first place? We're all doing it to highlight Bring a (pounds) 1 to Work Day which will raise money for Scottish children.

What do you hope to gain?

I hope we produce great radio for the listeners and funds for the Variety Club in Scotland.

Masterclass theatre: who, what, where, when and why?

Friday, October 10

1pm: Design/DIY: Glasgow's guru of style, John Amabile

2pm: Cookery: John Quigley from Scottish Television's Boiling Point

3pm: Design/DIY: BBC Beechgrove's Lynn Harris

4pm: Cookery'' Jacqueline O'Donnell from The Sisters restaurant

5pm: Design/DIY: Andrea Maflin from Home Front, Real Rooms and Renovation Street

Saturday, October 11

11am: Design/DIY: Andrea Maflin

12pm: Cookery: Quality Scottish cuisine from Glenskirlie House

1pm: Design/DIY: Lynn Harris

2pm: Cookery: Brian Maule of Chardon D'or

3pm: DIY: Former Big Brother winner and TV guru Craig Phillips

4pm: Cookery: John Quigley

5pm: Design/DIY: Andrea Maflin

6pm: Cookery: Conran style with Etain Restaurant

Sunday, October 12

11am: Design/DIY: Andrea Maflin

12pm: Cookery: John Quigley

1pm: Design/DIY: John Amabile

2pm: Cookery: Billy Simpson - W.A. Simpsons at the Eglinton Arms Hotel

3pm: Design/DIY: Andrea Maflin

4pm: Cookery: Glenskirlie House

5pm: Design/DIY: Lynn Harris

6pm: Cookery: Parties at home with Grace and Favour

Monday, October 13

12pm: Design/DIY: John Amabile

1pm: Cookery: Brian Maule

2pm: Design/DIY: Fabulous flowers with Quid Est's Eleanor Atterson

3pm: Cookery: John Quigley

4pm: Design/DIY: Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan from Trading Up

5pm: Cookery: Party catering with Fiona Buchanan of Heart Buchanan

6pm: Design: Get crafty with Nisbeez

7pm: Cookery: Kenny Paul from the Med Grill

8pm: Design: The Sunday Herald's style guru, Anna Matthews of Painthouse Interiors

Tuesday, October 14

12pm: Design/DIY: Eleanor Atterson

1pm: Cookery: Jacqueline O'Donnell

2pm: Design/DIY: John Amabile

3pm: Cookery: John Quigley

4pm: Design/DIY: Clean up your home with Dawna Walters from BBC's The Life Laundry

5pm: Cookery: Grace and Favour

6pm: Design/DIY: Property sales tips with Kristian Digby from BBC's To Buy or Not to Buy

7pm: Cookery: Etain Restaurant

8pm: Design/DIY: Nisbeez

Wednesday, October 15

12pm: Design/DIY: Eleanor Atterson

1pm: Cookery: Kenny Paul

2pm: Design/DIY: Dawna Walters

3pm: Cookery: Chardon D'or

4pm: Design/DIY: Kristian Digby

5pm: Cookery: John Quigley

6pm: Design/DIY: John Amabile

7pm: Cookery: Grace and Favour

8pm: Design/DIY: Anna Matthews

Thursday, October 16

12pm: Design: Bridget Strachan

1pm:Cookery: Glenskirlie House

2pm: Design: Bridget Calderhead from BBC's DIY SOS

3pm: Cookery: Heart Buchanan

4pm: Design/DIY: Paint effects with Carte Blanche Cait

5pm: Cookery: John Quigley

6pm: Design: Bridget Calderhead

7pm: Cookery: Jacqueline O'Donnell

8pm: Design/DIY: Bridget Strachan

Friday, October 17

12pm: Design/DIY: Bridget Strachan

1pm: Cookery: John Quigley

2pm: Design: Bridget Calderhead

3pm: Cookery:

Glenskirlie House

4pm:Design/DIY: John Amabile

5pm: Cookery:Jacqueline O'Donnell

6pm: Design: Bridget Calderhead

7pm: Cookery: Grace and Favour

8pm: Design/DIY: Anna Matthews

Saturday, October 18

11am: Design/DIY: Lynn Harris

12pm: Cookery: Jacqueline O'Donnell

1pm: Design/DIY: John Amabile

2pm: Cookery: John Quigley

3pm: Design: Decadence with George Bond of ITV's Better Homes

4pm: Cookery: Glenskirlie House

5pm: Design/DIY: Colin McAllister & Justin Ryan

6pm: Cookery: Grace and Favour

Sunday, October 19

11am: Design/DIY: More decadence with George Bond

12pm: Cookery: Glenskirlie House

1pm: Design/DIY: Lynn Harris

2pm: Cookery: John Quigley

3pm: Design/DIY: Anna Matthews

4pm: Cookery: Billy Simpson