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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.

cabinet with brass mesh wire backing

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.

Decorating with your favorite color can add a new appreciation for your home. Join along with me for my Indigo Blue Summer Home Tour. #Bluehomedecor #indigoblue

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.

Disguising My Ugly Air 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.)


Old Cabinet
Fresh coat of paint
Brass Aluminum Sheet – I used a quatrefoil pattern.
Tin Snips
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.

old 6 bin cabinet

Disguising My Ugly Air Vent

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.

old 6 bin cabinet

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.

using wagner sprayer to paint cabinet

Disguising My Ugly Air Vent
using wagner sprayer to paint cabinet

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.

using wagner sprayer to paint cabinet

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.

adding aluminum backing to cabinet

I set the cabinet in place and knew it was going to work perfectly!

So next came the fun part of styling the shelves.

cabinet with brass mesh wire backing

Disguising My Ugly Air Vent

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.

cabinet with brass mesh wire backing
cabinet with brass mesh wire backing

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.

Disguising My Ugly Air Vent
Disguising My Ugly Air Vent

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!

Cribbs Style / 3 Easy Ways to Freshen
Up Your Master Bedroom For Spring

Noting Grace
Disguising My Ugly Air Vent

cabinet with brass mesh wire backing

Roots of Home
Simple Spring China Cabinet Decor

Sand Dollar Lane
How to Cover a Lamp Shade with Fabric

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