Disguising My Ugly Air Vent
The first thing you see when you walk into my home is an ugly, metal HVAC return. Here’s how I’m disguising my ugly air vent without blocking the flow.
Don’t you love two-fers?
You know – when you get double the bang for your buck!
Well, that’s what happened when I updated this little cabinet.
Many moons ago, when we lived in Las Vegas, I often stalked Craigslist for deals.
I found this 6 bin organizer for just $15 and it was a perfect solution for our Vegas home.
When we moved to Tennessee, I gave it a fresh coat of blue paint and used it hold some of our books.
But when we moved here our Meadow Brook home, this little piece moved from room to room, never seeming to find a home.
Recently, I updated our Entryway and knew I needed a solution for the ugly metal vent that greeted you when you opened the door.
I tried using a rolling cart, but you could still see the vent.
But it really didn’t take away from the grates in the wall.
And then I remembered this little cabinet and inspiration struck!
Here’s how I’m disguising my air vents while also repurposing an old bookcase.
Disguising My Ugly Air Vent
(Some affiliate links are provided below. Full disclosure here.)
Fresh coat of paint
Brass Aluminum Sheet – I used a quatrefoil pattern.
Protective Gloves – leather workgloves are great!
Paint Sprayer – I used the Wagner Flexio Sprayer
Screws and Drill to attach aluminum
I started by removing the back from the cabinet.
It popped right off, so I was super lucky that I didn’t need to use power tools.
Then I placed the cabinet in front of the air vent to make sure it didn’t block the air flow.
As you can see by the purple tape I placed around the edge of the air vent, the bottom of the cabinet didn’t block the air flow.
This is VERY important!
Being the daughter of an HVAC man, I knew the importance of keeping that air vent clear and working. That’s the workhorse of your system. If you block it with a solid piece of furniture, you could be taxing your system and end up with thousands of dollars of replacement costs.
The majority of the air can still pass through the cabinet without being blocked so I knew it would work!
I was so pumped!
Next, I took it outside and set it on a pair of sawhorses to get it ready to paint.
Then I got out my Wagner Flexio sprayer and started spraying multiple coats.
I was so glad to have this sprayer. It wasn’t that long ago that I painted this piece and all those cubbies were a pain in the tuckus!
I did 3 coats and each coat took me just 10 minutes to complete.
That sprayer is a total game changer!
Plus I wanted a smooth finish without any brush strokes.
I used Benjamin Moore’s Paper Doll for the color of the cabinet.
After it dried overnight, I measured and cut the quatrefoil backing using a pair of tin snips.
Now, you want to be extremely careful cutting aluminum. It is really sharp and you can easily get cut.
I wore some of Trent’s leather work gloves and that made it safe to handle.
Once the aluminum was trimmed, it was ready to be place on the back of the cabinet.
I simply attached the backing using some small screws and a drill.
I set the cabinet in place and knew it was going to work perfectly!
So next came the fun part of styling the shelves.
I kept the styling really simple.
The whole purpose is to allow the air to flow through, so I didn’t want to place too many items in front of the air flow.
So now when you enter my home, that ugly metal vent isn’t there to greet you.
Instead you have a gorgeous and updated cabinet filled with my favorite things to collect.
So this little cabinet update was the perfect two-fer!
I not only was able to solve a dilemma with that ugly air return, but I also found a way to repurpose an old cabinet that was hidden away.
And I have a huge treat for you all! I am joining a few of my friends as we are each sharing something that we are updating, making over, or refreshing in our homes. We’re calling it New Again, where we are giving new life to something.
So be sure to check out all the awesome posts below!