Hide the Ugly Vent for $6 !!

Nancy Craigmiles
by Nancy Craigmiles
4 Materials
1 Hour
I have lived with this ugly cold air return cover in my entry hallway since I moved into my home. Of course, I hate it! Who wouldn't? I have camouflaged it many ways over the years. The wood frame was installed a long time ago to hold the weight of the project. Now working with the frame is more of a challenge than hiding the vent cover!

I had a few ideas for this project but most of them required time and energy. I wanted to keep it simple.

I had purchased the cabinet at an online auction a few weeks ago. I nearly did not bring it home because it was so badly damaged, and the quality is deplorable. I wasn't sure loading it up was worth the $6 I had paid for it. But then I realized the doors were actually pretty, even though they are made of pressed styrofoam. So the cabinet and I came home. She sat in my carport waiting for me to decide what I could do with her doors. Except for the hardware, nothing else was worth trying to salvage. The legs were broken off on the back.

Light bulb moment! If the size would work, these would look pretty darn good covering the vent in the hallway. Hallelujah! Not a perfect fit, but close enough!
I already had the paint and glue, so $6 for the cabinet was really all that was spent specifically for this project. Gotta love that!!

The rest of the story is in the pictures. I hope you like my end result. I love it! Well, at least for now! hee hee
Oh my. This is the entry hallway.
What to do, what to do, what to do? I took the last camouflage off weeks ago and did not get around to a speedy replacement. I have looked at this long enough. Time to do something!
The wall the day I started.
This is a shot of the entire wall. The entry door is directly across from the ugly vent cover. What a way to welcome guests into my home! NOT! The puny little picture is a remnant from the last time around. I just hadn't had a reason to take it down yet. More on that in another post!
Auction find.
Two good doors, but not much else in this piece. Although these doors look like metal and wood, but are just pressed styrofoam. One of the good things about that is the light weight. Easy to handle and hang.
Removing the doors.
The doors were simple enough to remove from the piece. Using my trusty, dusty cordless drill/driver. Worth it's weight in gold. Saves time, energy and fingers.
I am something of a pack rat. You never know when something will be useful so I keep everything. Here I have hinges, handles, screws and magnetic plates.
Needs some paint.
You can see the edge that was hidden on the cabinet was never painted or stained. There are also offsets where the hinges were attached. Since this project is meant to be simple I did not bother to try to fill the offsets. Painting them was good enough.
Give it some color.
Using Spouncer daubers and acrylic craft paint, I touched up the edges. Paint also helps to hide the offsets.
Decorative hardware not centered on door.
This was where the door handles were attached. You can see this is not centered on the door. This was a simple fix. There were only 2 very small tacks holding this piece on the door. This looks like metal, but it was just painted plastic. I just popped them off with a flat head screwdriver.
Clear Gorilla Glue.
I love clear Glorilla Glue! I am so happy they finally made a clear version of Gorilla Glue! Just a few drops here and there was all this needed. I centered the piece on the door and held it in place with a small clamp for a couple of hours . I did not use the tacks to reattach. I don't think they were needed at all.
Not too shabby for $6!
I relocated some of the nails in the wooden frame around the vent cover. I had to move the top ones up to make room for the large key at the bottom. I used only 2 nails (one in each upper corner) for each door. I purposefully left a space between the two doors for air flow. The large wooden key had been used in a different place in the house. It filled the space nicely, I think.

The two pieces beside the fridge are featured in other posts on this site. I will add links to those soon.

I am no longer ashamed of my wall!
The results.
Obviously, the vent cover can still be seen if you are looking for it. It surprises a lot of people when they notice it is there. I enjoy watching reactions when someone notices and mentions it. Others in the room are surprised they hadn't spotted it before. Bottom line is that it works!
Resources for this project:
Apple Barrell acrylic craft paints
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Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 6 questions
  • Nina Nina on Mar 16, 2018

    Very pretty, but doesn’t this have a filter that needs replacing a few times a year?

  • Virginia DuBois Virginia DuBois on Mar 18, 2018

    doesn't the air filter need to be changed?

  • Alradborn Alradborn on Mar 28, 2018

    I've never heard of compressed styrofoam or seen it to my knowledge. Is this common in furniture?

Join the conversation
2 of 35 comments
  • Shannon house Shannon house on Sep 18, 2020

    I did some thing similar, but I bought a rubber mat, spray painted it white and blue, and added some fake foliage to dress it up

    • Tj Rosin Tj Rosin on Sep 10, 2021

      What type of Matt and how did you hang it?

      I need something to cover mine as well

  • Kelli Cook Kelli Cook on Mar 15, 2023

    Looks great! Too bad you can’t relocate the vent.