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Blogger Medina Grillo, author of the upcoming book Home Sweet Rented Home, is no stranger to getting her hands dirty. In fact, she’s been showing her readers various ways to make affordable, DIY changes to their rentals since 2015. More recently, though, Medina’s taken all she’s learned and applied it to the entryway in her own apartment.

Since the space is the first thing visitors see when they enter the rental, Medina wanted to put a unique twist on it. To get started, she tackled the accompanying staircase that rises mere feet from her front door. An accent that once held a forgettable runner, all 13 steps are now bold and black and host a DIY stenciling technique that has them each numbered. “Every time I climb the stairs I find myself counting to myself,” Medina says.

The staircase shares the spotlight with a large wall that previously stood undecorated. It was large, white, and noticeably barren. Post renovation, however, it stands out thanks to the addition of a trendy topographic wallpaper (removable, of course) and a floating IKEA cabinet. The latter proved finicky to install and make level, but after a few attempts it finally settled into place. From there, Medina went about accessorizing and decorating the nook in order to make the space flow into the aforementioned staircase, her living room and beyond. It’s quite the transformation, so scroll down to see more. Enjoy! —Garrett

Photography by Medina Grillo

Image above: The entryway’s initial design called for the entire wall to be wallpapered, but when Medina priced out the design it was too costly. She’s instead created a chair rail out of wallpaper, saving herself hundreds of dollars.


Before & After: A Renter's DIY-Filled Entryway in England, Design*Sponge


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“[Upon completion of the project] I realized that my creative process is quite a long and drawn out one. I’m very much all about trial and error. If something doesn’t work out as planned, I will go back to the drawing board,” Medina says.



Before & After: A Renter's DIY-Filled Entryway in England, Design*Sponge


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It took several tries to get this wall-mounted IKEA storage unit to hang straight.



Before & After: A Renter's DIY-Filled Entryway in England, Design*Sponge


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Removable wallpaper like this option from COLORAY DÉCOR is perfect for renters like Medina who can’t make permanent changes to their home.



Before & After: A Renter's DIY-Filled Entryway in England, Design*Sponge


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The staircase is the first thing you see when you enter Medina’s apartment, so making it memorable was a must.



Before & After: A Renter's DIY-Filled Entryway in England, Design*Sponge


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A simple stencil was all it took to give the staircase its “industrial” vibe. “Every time I climb the stairs I find myself counting to myself. Interesting fact: most staircases in the UK will have 13 steps!” Medina says.



Before & After: A Renter's DIY-Filled Entryway in England, Design*Sponge


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Medina loves the idea of carpeted stairs and painted ones. Her design was all about finding the balance between the two. The risers are painted in Valspar “Coal Tipple.”


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