Entrance and Stairs Makeover (for small space dwellers)

 A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this stairs makeover. And paint too.. let’s not forget the paint .

I must have went through every possible shade of grey on this wall before I finally threw my hands up. All diva-like and flustered. White , I said to my husband. Let’s just go with the white paint!


 A lot of blood, sweat and tears went into this stairs makeover. And paint too.. let’s not forget the paint.

I must have went through every possible shade of grey on this wall before I finally threw my hands up. All diva-like and flustered. White , I said to my husband. Let’s just go with the white paint!

Modern scandi style entrance and stairs makeover with CarpetRight. Carpet on stairs only and painted risers / Grillo Designs


If you’ve been following along with this makeover on my Instagram stories , I salute you – I really do! Your patience, watching me (and the hubby)  soldier on for the past four months, is something to be celebrated – truly!

You know those people who re-design rooms in a few days, weeks, or even a month? (not a rhetorical question by the way- such a person does actually exist)

Yeah. Totally not me.

Not you either? Meh. Lets be friends!

When it comes to decorating…. I am a snail… a sloth…

‘Sid the Sloth’ (or Medina the Sloth might be more apt here). I take my time.  And I also tend to procrastinate whilst taking my time.

Every decision I make has to feel right before I can move on to the next one. Sometimes, that may mean I have to go back and re-do things. Which is infuriating, to say the least.

But it’s how I work.

It’s a ‘Grillo’ thing – which if you hadn’t already noticed, isn’t just a name, but a way of life (Yes, I did just quote my mother)



*The carpet for this post was provided by Carpetright. This post contains affiliates for your convenience, see full disclosure here*

The stairs was the biggest challenge in this makeover. I don’t have a before picture of the staircase fully carpeted  but I do have a post carpet photo .



Wooden steps before the stairs makeover / Grillo Designs


Once the carpet had been pulled up, I’ll admit to getting a little carried away surfing wooden staircase ideas on Pinterest. I thought, with a little sanding and stain, I could go au Natural!

It would be beautiful.. I told myself. Magnificent even!

Turns out, bare wooden steps aren’t that great to walk up and down on.
They’re cold ….super noisy (not kidding about this part, my tiny cat was made to sound like a beast) and probably not ideal, when you have a five year old who likes to use them as the starting point for all major tantrums.

It’s not pretty to watch.


The stairs before the stairs makeover / Grillo Designs


Clearly, I have Pinterest to blame for all my over inflated interior dreams – and subsequent fails as a result. Just a thought . 

So I made the decision to go back to carpet .

Well sort of.

I would paint the risers and carpet the steps (treads) –   best of both worlds right?

I’m jumping the gun a little here – but here’s an after picture.


Carpet on risers only stairs makeover / Grillo Designs


With that idea in mind,  I reached out to Carpetright and asked if they would like to collaborate with me. They said yes, and a few happy AJ fist pumps in the air later, I was off to my local showroom to pick a carpet.

Rustic landing and stairs makeover with dakota wool carpet / Grillo Designs


I chose a carpet from the  Dakota wool range in a twine colour. I say chose so flippantly there, when in reality it was anything but that.  It was a mission, attempting to narrow down my options because there were just so many amazing ranges to choose from.

I had to go through lots of perfects before I found the ‘perfect one’ .




The Carpetright staff were great though, from the sales team right down to the actual fitting department. They gave lots of useful advice and if I had gotten on their last nerve with all the indecisiveness –  they sure didn’t show it!

Although baffled by my odd request to ‘just carpet the steps and not the risers’,  they were very accommodating and eager to make it happen!


Stencilled numbers stairs makeover / Grillo Designs

SOURCES: Carpet     /   stencil numbers  


It feels pretty nice to have a good quality carpet for a change. As opposed to the usual quick fix cheap carpets we buy whenever we move into a new rental property.

I’m kinda excited to see how it will wear over time!


Full entrance and stairs Makeover with CarpetRight / Grillo Designs

 SOURCES: Round Mirror   /   Umbrella stand   /  IKEA IVAR cabinet   


industrial style stairs makeover with stencilled numbers / Grillo Designs


We painted the banisters, skirting and stair risers with Valspar Coal Tipple (the same paint I used on my bedroom wall)! Everything had previously been white so the darker shade really added a little drama to the space. …   .

I’ll be sharing a little more about the painting of the stairs  in a future post. They totally need their own moment of glory.


Rustic stairs makeover with dakota wool carpet / Grillo Designs

Sources:  ALOE plant  /   wallpaper   /    Abstract Print


Also notice, the print on the wall? I was sent this by Print Club London –  an online store that sells limited edition art. This one in particular was designed by Niall Greaves an upcoming artist and recent graduate. I like how it ties the stairs and the  wallpaper together.


Leading off from my mini porch area, just before you climb the stairs, is another little entrance space

I added in an IKEA IVAR cabinet (removing one door to open it up) , baskets, a mirror and a few peg hooks for bag storage – the must have essentials for all great small space entrances, in my opinion.

Modern entrance and stairs makeover with carpetRight / Grillo Designs


And do you like the wallpaper? Its called ISOLINES  from Coloray Decor.


Removable wallpaper in entrance and stairs makeover / Grillo Designs


It’s completely removable too – which for a renter like myself , is a total bonus! (Did you catch my previous post on the best places to buy removable wallpaper from?).  I’m not going to lie though, for all its pros – this wallpaper was a little costly.

Even with a kind 30% discount that I received from the ladies at Coloray decor, it still took quite a large chunk out of my makeover budget (yes I had a budget , another reason why this makeover too so long. Budgets have to to be scraped together right?) .


hanging storage in diy entrance and stairs makeover / Grillo Designs

SOURCES: Peg rail   /      How to decorate book 


My heart had been set on it though . No other wallpaper would do.. So I decided to hit that checkout button ….silently  aware of all the things I would have to go without for the rest of this makeover .

Ahem- Totally worth it.


Rustic style entrance and stairs makeover using the IKEA IVAR / Grillo Designs


Why only half a wall, you ask?


It worked out a lot cheaper than doing the whole wall… I had planned to wallpaper half the wall  up the stairs as well, but once it came to putting it all up I realised, I had miscalculated all of my measurements and angles.

So that didn’t happen.  Which was a huge bummer.


small space entrance and stairs makeover / Grillo Designs



Good thing I can build right (but only simple stuff mind you) Also, good thing my garage is filled with diy materials like wood and other cool stuff… for all the building . Just saying …

I whipped together some beautiful box shelves from plywood for the wall above the stairs (using this handy clamp). I did think gallery wall for a split second,  but I’m a little over gallery walls….

easy plywood bookshelves above the stairs makeover / Grillo Designs

SOURCES: Lamp pendant


On went the books. Lots of them.

I’ve built up quite the collection over the years you see. .  I know some people aren’t a fan of the books facing this way (because its difficult to see what you are choosing).

 But I like them this way, k.

That practicality isn’t even an issue when you hardly get time to read anyway. And on the rare occasions that I do, I’ll just lean over (it doesn’t look that way, but these shelves are very easy to reach from the landing) and get searching for the book I want!

Which clearly might take some time…


DIY picture boxes above the stairs makeover / Grillo Designs




Stairs makeover with carpet on steps / Grillo Designs


As well as the staircase, Carpetright also fitted carpet and underlay to my landing area. It is quite a compact little landing so I struggled to get a complete  picture.

I do love the rustic tones of the carpet tone against the white walls though.


Landing and stairs makeover with carpet right / Grillo Designs


A big difference to how it looked before.



Before picture of the landing and stairs makeover / Grillo Designs


And finally, my not so little DIY cork board. Tutorial for this (and maybe even a better picture as this one doesn’t do it justice), also coming soon.


A boho style stairs makeover / Grillo Designs

This boards adds a little homely feel to the landing. Particularly handy when you have a budding artist … who likes to show off his pretty pictures.

There are a few things I would like to change about this makeover in the future like; The laminate flooring in the entrance (I kind of hate it),   adding a few more decals to the box shelves and also possibly painting the ceiling on the landing?

For now though, it will have to wait.

Stairs Makeover DIY | Grillo Designs

What do you think of this entrance and stairs makeover? Do you have carpet on your stairs too? Or did you opt for the bare wood style? Id love to hear.

**This carpet and all fitting services was gifted to me by Carpetright for the purpose of this post. I only partner with brands I LOVE and think you will LOVE too!  All ideas, photos and opinions are 100% my own. You can read my full  disclosure here




DIY stairs makeover with painted risers, stencils and carpet steps / Grillo Designs




Modern bedroom makeover / Grillo Designs



DIY porch makeover / Grillo Designs



  1. I love this makeover so much! I will be using it as inspiration for my front entry in my front entry in my condo. THANK YOU for the idea to use the IKEA cabinet, we desperately needed a spot to keep our hats & mitts and this is perfect. I’ve already bought the same cabinet 🙂

    Could you tell me where the black striped basket came from that’s on the cabinet shelf? I love it but can’t find anything similar

    Thank you!!!

  2. Hi Medina,

    We have a late 60s staircase that needed renovation and I really liked the black on yours so we decided to go for black and wood and it turned out really good. Thanks or sharing !!

  3. WOW I absolutely love everything! The steps turned out so fantastic. May I ask if you put the rail up and if so its it pine wood? and what are the extensions on them where they mount to the posts? I tried zooming in but cannot tell. I need a new rail and I love this idea. I look forward to looking further at your site as it is my first time here!

    1. Hi Tammy thanks so much for your kind comments! By rail – do you mean the stairs rail? It was actually there when we moved into the house. It might have been pine at some point but the previous tenants had painted over it in an ugly brown gloss!

  4. Medina,

    This is amazing! I love everything about your post! I love your VOICE! I love your design. I love every decision that you made…Love your budget friendly, realistic approach to everything.

    And I was so excited when I saw your face….I knew the name of your blog rung a bell! Do you remember meeting at the Amara Interior blog awards last year? So happy to connect our blogs this way. Thank you so much for joining in our Friday Friends Linky Party! We are honored to have you. And we hope you’ll link up every week!

    Jodie & Julie

  5. Hi Medina – visiting you from the latest #HomeEtc blog hop. I love your makeover! I have the Pinterest bare floor boards look going on right now at home. Not by choice – just procrastinating over carpet colour and the saving up bit, since NOVEMBER!!! It’s been so long I’ve stopped noticing it but like you I have a five year old so yep, I can hear it!!

  6. Medina, I LOVE your entrance, everything about it is so gorgeous! And what a great stair makeover, it’s definitely an inspiration, I am renting too 😉

  7. Madida, what a beautiful transformation! I especially love the stairs. I will feature this project at this weeks Creative Circle linlk party!

  8. Medina this is such an awesome make over. It makes me wish we had stairs vs. one floor level. Thanks for sharing your post at the Inspiration Spotlight party. Pinned, and sharing. Cheers! See you again soon.

  9. I love how this turned out. Beautiful entry with the wallpaper, natural wood and black. Stunning! Thanks for sharing at Share Your Style!

  10. LOVE this!!! Taking your time over it was definitely worth it. I’m so bad for procrastinating and taking my time when it comes to home makeovers, but there’s just so much choice. And Pinterest makes me want every style possible! Love the wallpaper and it definitely works with just half of the wall. x #HomeEtc

  11. I love this makeover so much Medina! That wallpaper! It’s the type of thing I’ve not got the vision and talent to make work in my home, but what a wonderful job you’ve done! Once again an amazing transformation!

  12. OHHHH !!!
    I really LOVE what you did and I love your style. I would like very much to follow your work.
    How do I do that? I usually don’t surf the net with any pre-set locations in mind.

    One other thing….You refer to yourself as a renter. I would NEVER allow my renters to do this project…….
    well, maybe if I already knew your work and we had a 5-year lease 🙂 .

    How are you convincing a new landlord to allow you to paint, for example?
    Most people think “anyone can paint!” and that’s rarely the case when a good all around job is expected.

    Thanks for your post!!

  13. This looks so amazing, I love everything about it! that wallpaper is lush, it’s great you got some even if you didn’t manage to have as much as you wanted. I’m inspired to do something with our chaotic hall! x

  14. Wow Medina, just wow! The sloth_like procrastination definitely paid off here. What an amazing space. Everything about it is just perfect. The wallpaper miscalculation worked out perfectly. It looks great. The black accents are so fresh and bold. That IKEA cabinet with one door removed looks fabulous. And I love your box shelves. I’d never have thought to use the space like you did. So clever.

  15. What a fabulous makeover! I actually really like that the wallpaper is only halfway up, makes for more visual interest! Carpeting just the treads is a great idea – we have wooden stairs currently and it was most definitely not the best decision we ever made. We’re going to have a runner instead, so as to keep a bit of the effect of the wood. Fabulous makeover, Medina!

  16. Medina that looks amazing! I love carpet only on the tread and you are so right about uncarpeted stairs being noisy, what a great to fix that. The entry way looks great and it is so you! Pinning and sharing 🙂

  17. Loving the strong visual brand and glad to hear I’m not to hear I’m not the only one who faff’s over paint colours ( me and paint have a love hate relationship) found this post inspiring! Also loved the way you confidently and successfully approached a brand for a genuine collaboration, something that fitted in with what you were trying to achieve for your home! Thanks for sharing!

  18. From the side those stairs look like the treads are floating. What a great makeover, and the numbers on the risers are awesome, and OCD counter’s dream ? ?‍♀️ The entire space is so beautiful, and that wallpaper, I have to find a spot for it in my house now.

  19. Ohhhh Medina!!! I think you’re fast becoming my favourite interiors blogger!!! I always LOVE your makeovers — and I love your words too; your style of writing always makes me smile!! I love this makeover; initially I thought it was an open staircase — I didn’t realise that the risers had been painted!! What a fab idea.

    Our staircase is unpainted wood — although the stairs are carpeted. I keep wanting to paint it all and do a stair runner but it’s so blooming expensive!! Love the idea of just carpeting the steps! Thanks so much for sharing on #HomeEtc

  20. Wow! Love the carpet with the paint – and I thought the wallpaper half way up was a great design touch and was surprised to find that it was because of cost, lol!

  21. Your stairs look beautiful! I laughed when I read your post. We live in CT about 35 minutes out of New York City and I never go there any more. When our son worked in NYC, I used to go in at least once a year but now he is in LA so I don’t go in I’m 67 and not in the best of health (cancer) and I am just too tired to walk around. I guess we never appreciate what is close to us. Maybe next year. I’m glad you had a good time.

    1. Hi Patty

      So sorry to hear about your cancer. I can imagine it must be such a hard time for you and your family. Sending lots of love! Please do visit again, even for a stroll in central park . IT is such a beautiful place and sometimes its nice to be in a different place and change our scenery a little!

  22. I don’t normally comment on posts but honestly this is amazing. Could you maybe fly over to New Zealand and do our stairwell?. We have very good coffee here!.

  23. Love it, Medina, it all looks fantastic. I don’t know what I love the most those, the stairs look great that wallpaper is amazing and those plywood box shelves so simple but handy and cool! The whole thing together looks amazing.

  24. Wowww this is amazing! Every last bit of detail and I think your amazing. You have inspired me loads and can’t wait to get started on my house…. I have been deciding on what to do for 4 years now lol lotsa love x

  25. I shelve my books like that too! It gives them such a calm and soothing feel, since everything is tones of brown instead of colors that probably clash. I group them by category to help cut down on the search time.

  26. I LIVE the carpeted treads with dark contrasting risers. Great design choice and I think your wallpaper miscalculation is a happy accident because it defines that space at the bottom of the stairs as its own space and makes a wonderful impact. Great job, Mama.

  27. Wow, wow, wow! I love everything about this! The stairs, the IKEA cabinet, the wallpaper…I had NO IDEA that was wallpaper!!! I thought you hand stenciled it or something. Removing the door form the cabinet was inspired! Pinned to come back to later and marvel some more <3

  28. What an amazing work! I love how the black paint match the carpet, the wall paper add a nice pattern on the wall, every detail is just perfect! And I’m glad to know I’m not the only one who take 4 months to redo a room 😉

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