Turn a house into a home: Renting and renovating with Medina Grillo

Medina Grillo
Jessica Salter

Instagram star and interiors influencer Medina Grillo believes that you don't need a mortgage to make a home feel like your own – just a passion for personalising it

Describing herself as a ‘DIY-passionate, home-decor-crazy renter, mother and wife’, Medina Grillo has become a design star. For the 187,000 (and counting) followers of her @grillodesigns lnstagram account, she’s a champion of rental and renovation.

Showcasing how she has transformed her rented house in Birmingham into a stylish family home, which she shares with her husband and two sons, she proves that imagination and passion can deliver as much as a generous budget. 

We asked her for tips on making a house into a home.


What does a beautifully decorated home mean to you?
Our surroundings influence our mental health. When you have a home that reflects your personality, the experience of being at home makes you feel much better in yourself. A lot of people realised that during lockdown, when everyone wanted to renovate and decorate. There is so much in the world that you can’t control, especially right now, but you do have a say in how you decorate your home.

Where do you get your decorating and styling talents from?
When I was growing up, my family moved from country to country quite a lot, as my dad was an engineer. We always rented wherever we moved, and my mum made sure that each of these houses looked beautiful and felt like safe and secure homes. That has been so influential for me when approaching my own decor.

You champion how to transform rental homes. Why is that important to you?
I’ve rented homes all my life. It’s so important to make the place where you live feel like yours, but people don’t always know where to start. I want everyone to enjoy the home they have and not feel like they’re waiting for their next move.

Medina Grillo

You take on lots of upcycling projects. What do you enjoy about them?
I love that you’re giving a new lease of life to an old piece of furniture and that you’re making it work for you and your space. It feels like a very sustainable way to decorate. My favourite recent upcycling project is some vintage school gym bars I found on eBay, which I use as a room divider (see the lead picture).

Which DIY project has made the biggest difference to your home?
Installing our wall-to-wall bookcases in the living room – they are built on a platform, so will be easy to remove if we leave. They let me display the books I love and bring the room together.

Are you naturally very tidy? Your home always looks lnstagram perfect...
Ha! No, I’m really not very tidy at all. I struggle to put things back after I use them. It’s perhaps the only thing my husband and I disagree on.

Medina Grillo

Medina’s top 3 rental decor tips

  1. TRY REMOVABLE WALLPAPER: It introduces pattern and colour to magnolia walls, or even floors. Try using it in a porch or cloakroom.
  2. FRAME AND HANG ART: Use damage-free hanging strips or lean pictures against a wall to add personality to a space.
  3. CHANGE YOUR CUSHION COVERS: Swapping cushions with the seasons is an inexpensive way to instantly change the feel of a room.

Medina is the author of Home Sweet Rented Home (Mitchell Beazley) and founder of grillo-designs.com. Find her on lnstagram @grillodesigns

Style it the Anyday way

If, like Medina, you want to fill your home with style and personality, Anyday is perfect. With quality you'd expect at prices you wouldn't, Anyday gives you fresh ideas each season to make your home the place you want it to be.

Searching for more interiors inspiration? Pick up the newest issue of At Home magazine, out now and free to collect in your local John Lewis and Waitrose shops

Photography: Polly Wreford
Fashion styling: Alexandra Golovkova

Image: Polly Wreford

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