Asked on Jan 20, 2016

How to hide an Ugly Vent?

I live in a restored 1900 farmhouse, but I wasn't the one that did the restoration. I haven't a clue why they placed this living room vent on the main wall instead of the side near the bookcase.
Any ideas as to make it less ugly, as I know I can't cover it.
Every room in the house is pretty much painted and decorated except this one, and it is the main room!
  32 answers
  • Lagree Wyndham Lagree Wyndham on Jan 20, 2016
    I've seen people on this sight take a outdoor door mat that is made to look like metal and paint them and hang in front of vent. If you search I'm sure you will find a few examples.
  • Ijanet1 Ijanet1 on Jan 20, 2016
    Paint it with some kind of abstract art rendition that pleases you. One that will make the openings part of the piece. Or tie some ribbons on the slats randomly to make a design that pleases you.
  • Janet Pizaro Janet Pizaro on Jan 20, 2016
    You can purchased decorative wall vent covers. Check amazon.
  • Felicia Harcrow Felicia Harcrow on Jan 20, 2016
    When you figure it out plz let me know. I have one too only mine is at the bottom of the wall. Don't you just hate that? What was the builder thinking.
  • Liz Brundige Liz Brundige on Jan 20, 2016
    If that is an active return for your HVAC you DON'T want to cover it.....very bad for the system. It needs the airflow to run properly. Here are some beautiful ones for replacement...a little costly, but you get the idea.
  • Nancy Nancy on Jan 20, 2016
    Maybe not cover it, but... what Lagree Wyndham suggested.... these are generally open aired, and you should be abl to get the right flow through them, and it is very inexpensive.
  • EdiLeck EdiLeck on Jan 20, 2016
    I see you like lots and lots of pictures on the wall! Get something like this : , build a decorative frame and viola! ART!
  • Pjakin61 Pjakin61 on Jan 20, 2016
    I have some decorative grillwork wall decorations that would be great.....I would use 2, 1 over vent and one to replace that artwork on the right.......the grillwork would allow for air flow.........................
  • Becky Becky on Jan 20, 2016
    I have seen a pretty, rubber outdoor mat with all of the scroll work on it, spray painted white and hung over the top of it...very pretty.
  • mat it and frame it like the picture beside it, and call it "Urban artwork."
  • Marion Nesbitt Marion Nesbitt on Jan 21, 2016
    My first thought was similar to Southern Home Improvement's idea. But I tink I like pjakin61's even better!
  • Susan Sease Susan Sease on Jan 21, 2016
    If it were me I would just move the vent down the wall closer to the floor, unless there is something there that shouldn't be a big deal and it would certainly be less obtrusive.
  • Wanda.ll Wanda.ll on Jan 21, 2016
    I also would have it moved. It isn't that big of a deal.Just depends on what is at the bottom or the side wall. But there must be room because a vent that large takes on giant tube of air return to attach to it.I mean like 24'36 inches of tube.
  • Connie Connie on Jan 21, 2016
    Hi. You might want to try taking down the picture next to it and using small louvered door type shutters. The shutters would still make the vent functional. You could also add a narrow shelf on the bottom of the shutters for display purposes and then hang a short valance above the shutters to give it a window appearance. Whatever you decide to do, please post a picture of it when you are done.
  • Michael McCleary Michael McCleary on Jan 21, 2016
    Moving the vent isn't an option, and I already have so much art (I design Picture Frame moulding for a living).
  • Letty Letty on Jan 21, 2016
    If the vent is blowing out, I might have just covered the whole thing with little curtains to give the appearance of a window. If it blows in, I would have made a built-in with removable shelves (for filter change) and put decorations that would allow the air to flow but distract from the vent.
  • Ray Phillips Ray Phillips on Jan 21, 2016
    As a retired builder "always tired" this looks like return vent. you can cut a small hole lower and see what is there . if nothing is there then you can move it down, but you will have to cut the drywall out and install duck from the bottom up to where the vent is now. My guess is that something is in the wall and that is the reason it was installed that high. Hope this helps. Good luck.
  • Bonnie Woolever Bonnie Woolever on Jan 21, 2016
    Maybe you could take a thin fabric, like Georgette, and staple it to the back of a larger frame. Then hang the frame over that return vent. It would disguise it but still allow air flow.
  • Dot D Collett Dot D Collett on Jan 21, 2016
    My suggestion is to disguise it: Paint a design on the grill and build a frame around to match the one next to it. Covering it with a thin breathable and cleanable fabric would work also. It does look like a cool air return and be placed there for better air flow (dust flow).
  • Jennifer Jennifer on Jan 21, 2016
    Perhaps a small scene fabric panel sewn into plain fabric to replicate matting, pulled over a stretcher and then framed.
  • Gilmer Gal Gilmer Gal on Jan 21, 2016
    This is one of my favorite ideas for ugly vents using a rubber door mat.
  • Sandra Sandra on Jan 21, 2016
    I too use a rubber door mat. I painted mine white and hung it wit nails. Use a few because the mat tends to sag after awhile. But, it looks good and it's easy to remove and dust when you clean your vent.
  • Sandra Sandra on Jan 21, 2016
    Looking at your room, I am wondering about the cloth idea. If you could find fabric with a book print and frame it to look like a book shelf, it could look like a little nook for books. Sort of trump loi (I know how it sounds and how it should look, but do not know how to spell it-lol) on cloth. You but even with cloth you might want to call an AC/heat guy just to ask if it's safe. My vent is on the wall in the hall way near the floor. I still hate it, thus the rubber mat solution.
  • Sarah A. Victory Sarah A. Victory on Jan 21, 2016
    Well--Michael seems like those are always placed where they can be seen and they are unsightly. At one home I replaced my contractor's return w/a vent from a local business called They have beautiful designs, all in metals and even white. They are hand made and fit into the enclosure w/a few screws and open like a door for what ever size filter you currently use. They are rather pricey but the quality is unsurpassed. If interested, they ship and give reductions if they have the size you need and they used it in a Home Show. I would search around also. Good luck!
  • Dima Dima on Jan 21, 2016
    To expand on the idea of putting a decorative mat or piece of grille work over your vent, I would suggest painting your vent flat black before putting anything over it. That way, it will simply disappear behind the decorative piece. I recommend a flat spray paint that is designed for gas grills.
  • Fran McCarty Fran McCarty on Jan 22, 2016
    I like the rubber door mat idea. Two side by side would be neat or several cut to different sizes and staggered on the wall.
  • Ann Ann on Jan 22, 2016
    I like the idea of painting it. Then choose a letter. Maybe letter of last name. Can be made easily with thin wood and a jigsaw. paint . Make small enough so has frame of grill work around it. can be attached with screws like long hooks and wired through grill. this would set it off grill still allowing air flow. Just an ides to give you something to think about
  • Cindi Cindi on Jan 22, 2016
    I'd put a frame around it, and make it look like a picture, maybe get some metal flowers for the white parts going up the middle, they even have metal pictures like that, that are basically open, with metal framing, you could put that right over it, and still get the ventilation, but it would look good, and you might be able to find something that would go with your decor.
  • Actually I was being facetious before. Seriously, you could get stamped (or perforated) metal at a hardware or craft store, antique it, and frame it for a real turn of the century look. You can replace the existing grill, or if the openings in the new grill are large enough not to obstruct air flow, paint the grill flat black and hang the new one over it. Similar to what Dima seemed to be suggesting earlier.
  • Funnygirl Funnygirl on Jan 27, 2016
    I found these really nice decorative vinyl panels on line at Home do have to special order them but they are really nice,you can paint them and they have different styles.this would be a perfect solution!look under decorative panels.cost about 30.00 for 4x8 ft panel. A thousand ideas!
  • Libbie B Libbie B on Nov 23, 2023

    You can find pretty vent covers online. That may help.

  • Ah that’s harsh for sure! What were they thinking indeed! As this is a return vent, you could assemble something artful out of wood and paint it to match your walls.