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Fireplace Makeover Inspired by Genevieve Gorder


Hi there.  I’m still sitting next to a heater waiting for sakuras (cherry blossoms) to bloom in Japan.  I hope there’s sunshine and blooms in your neck of the woods!

Whatever the weather is outside, our rental home is in progress of coming together thanks to monthly challenges like the Inspired by DIY series.  This creative series includes a handful of bloggers who feature room makeovers, DIYs, and decorating tips inspired by our favorite designers/style icons.  Last month our focus was on Wes Anderson style and this month we are highlighting one of my favorite interior designers, Genevieve Gorder.   I’m pretty sure I’ve seen every episode that she’s been in on HGTV!.

Genevieve Gorder Inspired Fireplace Mantel

renter decorating ideas for faux fireplace

We have a very small living area and I wanted to make a focal point with our faux fireplace mantel and room heater.   The wall has a phone smack in the middle that needed to stay (it’s connected to our door bell and call box).   So I knew the makeover should be something bold and pretty that would distract from the rental eyesore.   Here’s how the space looked before.rental decorating ideas with faux fireplace

And after the fireplace makeover.   With a quick coat of paint and a few fun decorating accessories this makeover only took about 30 minutes.  My kind of DIY!

rental friendly faux fireplace

How to achieve Genevieve Gorder design in your home:

5 decorating tips rental decorating faux fireplace in a Japanese home

Don’t be afraid to use dark colors.  

I started the makeover by painting the back piece of the faux fireplace mantel with black chalk paint.  It covers well and dries super quick, no need for sanding or a top protective coat.

The paint instantly highlighted the great lines of the fireplace.

fireplace makeover with rental friendly decorating ideas!

Add in global style with moroccan prints and decor. 

I love how Genevieve incorporates moroccan prints, lamps, and other global influence in her decor but keeps it feeling light and airy with lots of white.   On my latest shopping trip, I found this cute blue and white tile planter for just a few dollars and new it would be perfect for this space.

fireplace makeover inspired by Genevieve Gorder

Mix high with low. 

This is a great rule to follow anytime you are making over or refreshing a room.  Don’t be afraid to mix high end pieces with thrift store and Ikea finds.

faux fireplace decor ideas

Include vintage finds.

Create a curated look with vintage goods.  I found this “noise maker” in a Japanese thrift store.  It’s used at shrines and temples while praying but I bought it because I fell in love with the brass and dark wood.

fireplace decor inspired by Genevieve Gorder

Add layers with art, decor, and textiles. 

Since I had the odd problem of hiding a phone in the middle of the wall, I decided to layer artwork behind the large print that has to protrude.   It works in this spot surprisingly well and doesn’t bother me at all that I didn’t layer it “properly”.  You never know until you try!
rental decorating faux fireplace in a Japanese home

Simple things like paint, mixing high end with inexpensive decor, and layering old with new can really make your space feel like it was styled by a designer!

Check out these awesome ladies’ ideas below for more Genevieve Gorder inspired decor.

Domicile 37 | Up To Date Interiors | Jest Cafe | The Rath Project | Semigloss Interiors



  1. Looks amazing Kathy! Love that fireplace. I love seeing all of your fun finds!

    By the way, I hated our phone for letting people in the gate at our military housing in Sicily. The buzzer sounded like an electrical shock and scared me every single time it rang. Hope yours is less scary sounding. 😉

    1. lol That’s funny. Ours is melodic like everything else in Japan. The food trucks, garbage trucks, our washer and dryer, and our shower…

  2. You always create wonderful vignettes! I think it was so genius of you to cover that eyesore with art!!! I also like how you added a wee bit of black into the vignette! This space is definitely a show stopper! Love it!

  3. I can’t believe they would put a phone right there – that is hilarious! But your solution is so smart and easy! Also, every time I see your house I’m so envious of the bright white walls. It’s so pretty and fresh.

    1. Thanks Colleen! They are actually wallpapered with a texture but we have wonderful natural sunlight so the walls look bright and happy. Unfortunately there are a few rooms with ugly wallpaper… 🙁 lol

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