What can I do to disguise the return air vent in my foyer?

Denise Birnbaum
by Denise Birnbaum
This is the view when you walk through my front door in the foyer. This is the first impression someone has when they come to my home. It's cold, ugly, and unwelcoming and I'm tired of looking at it. The vent can not be blocked and the top of the vent is so high I haven't been able to find any furniture to hide this problem. Also, the thermostat is above the vent so I can't hang pictures on the wall. I would appreciate any suggestions.
q what can i do to disguise the return air vent in my foyer
  17 answers
  • Kathy Kathy on Apr 15, 2017
    Paint it same color as the wall, will be less noticeable.

  • Elaine Elaine on Apr 15, 2017
    I agree with Kathy - simply paint the grate. I'm sure it bothers you much more than your guests! 🙂 We all have certain (necessary) items like that no matter if we live in a house or a condo. If it still bothers you, after a paint job, you could place a floor-standing house plant there sitting to the right of the grate. You don't want a plant that spreads out width-wise (such as a Palm) as it will get in the way of the doorway but a rather vertical plant, such as Sanseveria (aka Snake Plant) will do the trick. The leaves really won't interfere with air circulation and will "soften" the look of the grate.

  • Canadianlady Canadianlady on Apr 15, 2017
    You could always stretch a big piece of decorative fabric over a wooden frame that's large enough to cover the vent without covering over the thermostat. The air could still blow out through the fabric. I'd make two of them, and stagger them side-by-side, one lower, and one higher in the triangular space available. That way, they'd look like a matching set, and would balance each other out.

  • William William on Apr 15, 2017
    Paint the grill the same color as the wall as Kathy suggests and a tall plant either right or left of the grill as Elaine suggests. Do not block the grill with anything. Even fabric will reduce the amount of air being returned to the furnace causing a strain on the blower motor. You can also paint the thermostat housing same as the wall just don't cover it or it will get a false reading from bad air flow.

  • Jeanne L Nelson Jeanne L Nelson on Apr 15, 2017
    I would definitely paint the return the same color as the wall (which I did in my home after years of looking at the ugly vent) - it really makes a difference. I would also put a sofa table against the wall with a plant or a magazine holder under it to hide the vent. A pretty lamp and a nice bowl (or other object) on top would make it a cozy little corner - and totally distract from the vent.

  • Pat Pat on Apr 15, 2017
    I would paint the vent the wall color and put a sofa table in front of it....would have to be an open legged table to let the air in or out. May not cover the whole vent, but with something on the table top, it will be disguised.....maybe put candle sticks, boxes, figurines, a plant, tall skinny mirror....what ever suits you. People coming into your house won't even notice it. I would hesitate to put a lamp on the table because of the thermostat....I have a wrought iron table that I put in front of the floor heating unit in the winter....lets heat out and doesn't interfere with that. In the summer I use more of a chest type cabinet in front of the floor heating unit....no need for heat.

    • B. Enne B. Enne on Apr 23, 2017
      I agree with Pat May, I too would paint outthe grate and place a leggy console in front of it, you could even make your own; have it clear both sides. Then just put a simple vase and a piece of art leaning against the wall at an angle so art can circulate behind it.

  • Erin Erin on Apr 16, 2017
    You could get an open piece of art to hang over it.

  • Johnchip Johnchip on Apr 16, 2017
    Paint it all the same, thermo and grill. But you might consider 'sponge' painting using tone on tone or various colors to even more disguise the uglies.

  • Steve Steve on Apr 17, 2017
    You could if you could find a wooden shade with long wide slats with plenty of room for the air to return, find a local artist paint a scene on the slats that from a short distance would look like a unusual painting? off the wall Idea

  • Allinthefamilysingers Allinthefamilysingers on Apr 17, 2017
    sit a tall table over it and then a large vase or statue of maybe a big dog or angel etc on the floor away from the vent next to the table leg; even a plant would work in a large vessel be pretty there..good luck

  • Judy Judy on Apr 19, 2017
    You could cover it with one of those rubber floor mats with a pretty design, painted of course. And add a skinny table top with 2 front legs and put a mirror over it. It would looks like an entryway table. Or leave out the mirror and just add a pretty vase, and other decorative items on the shelf.

  • Carol Carol on Apr 23, 2017
    Put a wing chair in the corner diagonally and hang a long mirror or piece of art beside it

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Apr 23, 2017
    I'm with painting it the same color as the wall. You could always place a leaning ladder or mirror against the wall to draw the eye away from the vent. A simple plant stand with a Boston Fern would be nice. Great ideas coming your way. Best of luck.

  • Sharon Sharon on Apr 23, 2017
    I would also paint same color as wall, and then add a console table and mirror, vase with large flower arrangement,,,,, make a statement. Good place to throw your keys in a dish.

  • Michelle Leslie Michelle Leslie on Dec 09, 2020

    Hi there, here are few ideas you can try to hide or camouflage that aircon - https://hvac.ninja/articles/hide-outdoor-ac/

  • Johnavallance82 Johnavallance82 on Jun 04, 2021


    Add shelves to the space including across the vent. Then frame around the vent and the shelves, Add a mirror over the shelves or piece of art and fill or not the shelves.

  • Agnes Chrzanowska Agnes Chrzanowska on Oct 31, 2021

    Build a cover that will look like paneling