Join us for a peek inside the most inspiring and unique homes in West Yorkshire…

This month, we continue our snoop around the region’s most stylish homes with Ruth Robinson, interior designer at Ikea - whose Batley abode is a sanctum of minimalistic peace. Follow her on Instagram @ruth.robinson for more handy hints on achieving true flat-pack flair.

What’s the best thing about living in Batley?

My boyfriend and I moved here for work, so we didn’t know a lot about the area at the time. It’s a great location for a day out shopping but we mostly chose to live here based on its proximity to various places. It’s a fifteen-minute train journey to Leeds, which is great, and we’re a stone’s throw from The Hepworth in Wakefield and Yorkshire Sculpture Park. There’s also a nature reserve nearby, which I love going to for some fresh air.

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How would you describe your home style?

I’d definitely have to say Scandinavian. I love natural materials and crisp, white walls. I’ve been inspired by my holidays to Sweden and Denmark too. I feel like the Scandinavians have an effortless style, and I like that things don’t have to be so ‘matchy’ as maybe they are back in the UK. Adopting this gives you a lot more freedom. I’m probably heavily influenced by the Scandi style because of IKEA – there’s always some new inspiration to be found.

Favourite places to shop for interiors in Leeds and online?

I normally shop online but I am lucky to live close to Redbrick Mill, which is a great shop to have a mooch around. Most of my stuff is from IKEA but I normally visit Homesense or TK Maxx when I get chance, as I love the reward of finding a bargain item in there. Online, H&M Home is great for textiles and smaller stuff, but I love supporting smaller businesses too by using Etsy & Trouva. You can find some great one-off items. In summer I want to explore the city a bit more as I know Leeds has lots of great independent shops. I’ve got a list of antiques places in Leeds I’m planning on visiting soon.

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Favourite room?

The living room (above) was what made me fall in love with the house when we came to view it. Especially the fireplace. I planned the rest of the room around it and opted for black metals and darker woods to match the floorboards. We definitely spend most of our time in here, so I had to get it right. I’m really pleased with how it all came together in the end- this is my first house, so I was surprised at how quickly it started to feel like ‘home’ to me. It’s a lovely feeling. 

Favourite item?

My lovely IKEA GJÖRA bed for sure. It was one of the first things I bought for the house and it feels so luxurious, like a four-poster bed. I love that it can be flipped around, or you can add fabric to it when you get bored of the room and want to have a change - which I’m quite guilty of.

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Shoes off or on?

Off for sure. I’m a bit attached the living room rug and hate vacuuming, so the less I have to the better!

Eat in front of the television or sit at the table?

We have a great drop-leaf table that we initially used a lot, but now we tend to watch in front of the TV. We’re moving to a new house soon and there will be a table in the kitchen, so I’m hoping we can get in the habit of using it more. I’m quite clumsy too, so this will hopefully mean less cleaning-up after meals!

Tidy or messy? 

I’m sort of in-between at the minute. I am trying to declutter my home as I get a bit overwhelmed when there’s too much stuff in a room. I’ve read Marie Kondo’s The Life Changing Magic of Tidying so hopefully that will help me change my ways eventually. But at the moment, I normally have to do a big tidy up on a Friday when I get home, as I can get a bit slack during the week. I’m not quite there yet.

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What does a normal weekend in at yours look like? 

I love watching films and TV shows so I’d probably spend Saturday on the sofa, relaxing after working all week. And then on Sunday’s we tend to go out for a walk and, when we get home, have a massive cup of tea and lots of biscuits. Once we move house, my weekends will get a lot more DIY focused which I’m excited about. I love a Sunday trip to B&Q.

Biggest splurge?

The wardrobe in the bedroom is probably the most expensive thing I’ve bought. The frame was cheap, but I splashed out on the doors and handles. I’m pleased I did as I think they bring the room together!

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Biggest steal?

The IKEA bench in the living room. I’d had my eye on it for a while, and then it was reduced multiple times to about 50% off. I ended up buying it before I’d even got my own place. It wouldn’t even fit in my car, but I just knew at that discount, I had to have it. 

Any upcycling tips?

I’d say don’t be afraid to try new things!  You can always re-do it if you’re not happy with it. Start small until you’re confident enough to go for it with bigger items and use Pinterest for inspiration. It can be really fun and rewarding so just enjoy the process.

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Advice for others decorating their home?

If you don’t know where to start, pick a key piece you love and go from there. In my bedroom, everything stemmed from the bed. And in the living room it came from the colour and pattern of the rug. Also, if you’re short on money, I’d say splash it on a key item in the room and then go cheaper and more basic on the rest. For example, in the living room I got a cheap shelving unit and TV unit but got them in white, so they don’t stand out against the wall. You can always upgrade in the future. Finally, I’d say try not to get too influenced by what other people are doing too. Trends are great, but you should decorate in a way that makes you feel happy in your home.

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