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5 Smart Design Hacks for Hiding Ugly AC Vents

Real Estate Interior: Couch, Wood Floors, Sunlight

If you’re working on a room’s design, that last thing you may think about is an ugly AC vent or other air vents. However, they can often detract from the style of the room. AC vents have a way of looking too modern for rustic or retro styles, too industrial for more whimsical artistic styles and too outdated for those sleek modern styles. This is especially true in older homes, where vents tend to have ugly grating or outdated panels on them that clash with nearly every home style.

But rather than replacing those HVAC vents, why not try to hide them? There are several ways to hide AC vents without obstructing airflow. Take a look below for ways to hide those vents.

Find a doormat covering for AC vents

Probably one of the neatest hacks you’ll find is covering air vents with doormats. This sounds counterintuitive, but it’s actually a wonderful way to add some style and class.

The photo above shows how a basic open-design doormat fits right over an ugly AC vent. All the homeowner had to do was spray paint the mat to give it a more metallic texture. That helped it look like a stylish and more expensive grate. Two small nails on the top of the mat were all it took to hang the piece. And with that, the vents leading from the air conditioner cooling system are an eyesore no more.

An opaque white heating vent openedAnthonyRosenberg / Getty Images

Spray paint air vents to match

Another simple idea is to remove the AC vents and spray them to match the surrounding paint. You can usually remove vents easily enough by undoing two screws. Then a can of spray paint turns that previously ugly vent leading from AC units into a color or finish that can match any home style.

You might try the styles you see in the photo above. The vents actually just blend in with the surrounding wall paint. You could also get artsy and creative with the idea. Try painting the vent the same color as a bold accent shade in the room, like a bright cherry red. Or, go for a more metallic shade that stands out if you have an industrial theme. Feel free to get creative while painting those vents.

Cast iron ventilation grilles against a plaster wall

Scatena / Getty Images

Use a cover

There are also plenty of attractive covers that can fit right over the AC vents, or even larger vent eyesores, like this radiator cover in the photo above. A style like this is a creative way to add some geometric classiness to the space. But the open design still means that you’re not obstructing air flow.

You can also paint an item like this to fit in with any room’s color scheme. See how the white cover in the photo above fits in with the light color scheme on the wall. The piece is so well designed that it looks like it belongs there.

Go for shelving

For a more comprehensive approach, add some piece of carpentry over ugly wall vents that lead from the HVAC system. An example is the gorgeous piece in the photo above. You can see the air vents are sitting behind the open diamond-shaped pattern.

The added shelving on the top makes the pattern part of a cohesive piece. Plus, there’s the benefit of adding usable shelving in your home this way. You may need a carpenter to complete this project if you’re not one yourself. But it may be well worth it to cover those ugly vents leading from the air conditioning or heating system.

Real Estate Interior: Couch, Wood Floors, Sunlighttiburonstudios / Getty Images

Put a piece of furniture in front of the AC vent

This idea may seem counterproductive. After all, putting pieces of furniture in front of AC vents seems like it would restrict air flow in the room. However, there are pieces of furniture with open doors at the bottom.

An example is the cabinet in the photo above. You can see how the doors at the bottom have an open design to them. All you would need to do is remove the back of the cabinet so that air from the air conditioning could come up through the doors. Any piece of furniture with an open element where the vent sits would work.

Remember while decorating to make sure your HVAC system is in working order. It may be time to do routine maintenance, filter replacements, repairs or total system replacements. Schedule an inspection with your local HVAC professional to be sure your system works properly.

Do you have aother design hacks for air vents or covers? Let us know in the comments.


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