Tips for Hiding Unsightly HVAC Ductwork and Units

The battle between staying cool and rocking fresh decor is real for anyone lucky enough to have central air conditioning. You want to stay cool all spring and summer long, but you can’t deny that AC units and ductwork aren’t really attractive. Fortunately, it doesn’t take much time, skill, or money to disguise all the accoutrements that keep your home comfortable.

Turn Your Outdoor Unit Into Decor

Image via Flickr Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine

Whether you live in the country or the city, in a rental or a home of your own, you can make your outdoor air-conditioning unit look not just presentable, but beautiful. With the right materials, it can seamlessly blend with your outdoor decor and even stand out as a statement all on its own.

Boxing in the unit with several pieces of lattice is one of the simplest ways to hide your AC unit. However, you can also use sections of picket fencing, a privacy fence, or old, re-purposed shutters. Greenery, such as plants and flowers, can also disguise the big boxy installation. Some people even choose to make the most of the space by creating a vertical garden that completely encases the AC. Failing that, you could create a cover with outer shelving units for tools or gardening equipment.

Go Ductless

Because it takes up far less space and doesn’t require the additional installation of duct work, some homeowners opt for a ductless AC system. The only way you can find out if your house is compatible with a ductless unit is to schedule an appointment with an HVAC professional. An HVAC technician can examine your home and discuss the pros and cons of ductless air conditioning. Because smaller units go in the rooms, you won’t even have to worry about hiding the ducts.

Disguise the Ductwork With Drywall

Drywall makes it easy to hide your air-conditioning ducts. Before you break out the spackle, however, try painting over the ducts to see if that helps. Sometimes, a coat of paint is enough to blend them with the ceiling. If that doesn’t work, then you can build a “box” out of drywall that encloses the ductwork. You’ll need two-by-four boards, as well. Using the boards, you craft a frame around the ducts, which you then complete using the drywall. After you’re finished, you can slap on another coat of paint.

Get Fancy

Drywall is an easy option for covering your ducts. You can always go above and beyond, especially if you’re eager to hang onto your decor aesthetic. Tray ceilings and drop ceilings hide the ductwork without making it impossible to reach, as do faux rafters. Soffits, better known as bulkheads, are popular but dull, so try to incorporate interesting architectural elements into their construction. If all else fails, you can also make your ducts more industrial and embrace their presence.

Nothing beats perpetually cool air breezing through your home on sweltering hot days, but just because you’re grateful for your AC, that doesn’t mean you have to love the ductwork. Have you ever thought about hiding your ducts?

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