Asked on Sep 26, 2017

Cold air return with built in bookcase

by Teresa
I am remodeling my little house. I plan on using Billy bookcases as built-ins on either side of the new dining room/kitchen entry (I finally have walls). But on the left side is a cold air return and the return is deeper than the bookcase. Does it seem feasible to build it out as a box frame with a new grate facing out? I think I may have just answered my own question as I was typing.

Would it look silly? The plan is to create a new top that extends to the wall (stained the same as the trim) and use a filler panel (secret hiding place??) between the bookcase and the wall. While the bookcases are white, I am also planning on painting them (primer first) the same color that I paint the walls to give a consistent look.
  6 answers
  • William William on Sep 26, 2017

    You got it! Build the box frame ,grill facing out, and add the filler panel. But paint itand the filler panel the same color as the bookcases to make it look like a built-in. It would look off stained as the trim.

    • Teresa Teresa on Sep 27, 2017

      Thanks... I can see it now, painted the same as walls. Then I can match the grill of the living room return (when I redo the built ins - perhaps in March).

  • Nancy Turner Nancy Turner on Sep 27, 2017

    As long as it has plenty of space for the air, your idea should work.

  • Reenaroc Reenaroc on Sep 27, 2017

    You could go with balanced shelving on either side. Would have the same effect and wouldn't block the return. Have you seen the dyi industrial shelves they are making? Really cute & chick. I have an older set of book shelves that have legs, 50's, blond, sliding glass doors, something like that would work. Anyway, I would not block the cold air return. (It looks more like a heat register)?

    • See 1 previous
    • Teresa Teresa on Sep 27, 2017

      Additionally, you gave me a great idea to do the same on the other side, even though there is no return. I just have to decide whether to box it in short (and give it a ledge. Or box it tall and wrap the top. Hmmm, decisions.

  • Lynne Webb Lynne Webb on Sep 27, 2017

    Looks to be a charming older home. I'm judging that by the look of the cold air return. As long as you give the return all the air it needs, you're in business. That is so important to your HVAC or whatever the system is. Starve it for air and you make it work so much harder maybe to the point of no return.

  • Claude Claude on Sep 28, 2017

    Can you put the shelves on legs and by pass the problem? The leg would camouflage the vent but not its functionality. Google legs on line or shop your reuse store. Don't spend a fortune. I think IKEA may even have legs for sale...

    • Teresa Teresa on Sep 28, 2017

      Thanks for the suggestion but that would put the bookcases too high. I wouldn't be able to reach the lamps on the bookcases (I am only 5'2" - ha!)

  • Phyllis Williams Phyllis Williams on Sep 29, 2017

    I think the bookcase will interrupt air flow to AC. If you notice it running longer than usual you may want to rethink the placement of bookcase.