There are plenty of subscription based home improvement magazines and there are even more free "junk mail" home improvement magazines. But before you just assume that magazines are pointless junk mail, consider that you might be able to get ideas from a home improvement magazine without paying the incredibly high price.
However, that is not to say that you should never buy materials from a home improvement magazine. In many cases, these magazines have high quality goods that you can buy if you have no idea what you are doing. They provide installation guides which you are not going to get if you just try to build a desk from raw materials. Just remember that you are going to pay more.
If you are looking to save some serious cash then read the magazines just to find out what the latest and most popular styles are. This way you do not have to pay an interior designer to tell you how to decorate or perform home improvement on a room. In addition because you are buying raw materials from scratch rather than pre-finished, you are most likely going to get a higher quality product especially if you buy higher quality wood. Buying higher quality wood and making all the cuts yourself can save you a significant amount of money.
Perhaps the most important reason to read home improvement magazines is to find simplistic projects that will not take a significant amount of time. For instance, built in bookshelves that are designed in the latest style may be a really easy project for you to do on your own rather than paying the high end price that the magazine is going to want you to pay. This benefit alone can be worth the small amount of time it takes to read through a magazine.
As you can see, there is a benefit to reading those magazines. So when you get your mail, think twice about putting that home magazine straight in the trash. It might just spark a brilliant design idea.