Thursday, October 29, 2020
Home Engineering Construction Make Your HVAC Into A Design Feature: How Vents And Exposed Ductwork Can Complement Your Interior

Make Your HVAC Into A Design Feature: How Vents And Exposed Ductwork Can Complement Your Interior

Photo by Drew Coffman

By 2018, almost 94% of new family homes had a central air conditioning system. Air conditioning is no longer a luxury but something many of us expect in our homes, and many people opt for full heating, ventilating and air condition (HVAC) to regulate the climate and improve air quality indoors. HVAC systems aren’t subtle though, and having one means you also have ductwork, vents and thermostats to contend with. Once banished to attics and crawl spaces, exposed ductwork is now rising in popularity, and incorporating it into the interior design of a property can add a unique twist to the home. So if you want to make a feature of your HVAC’s ductwork, what are your options?

Incorporating Vents And Thermostats Into Your Decor

With your thermostat, you have two ways to go: you can make it blend in, or you can make it stand out. For the more subtle approach, paint it the same color as the wall and place a tall plant or standard lamp in front of it. As long as you can still access it easily, you can keep it hidden relatively easily. Alternatively, make a feature of it by putting a frame around it. Choose a frame that complements your decor; the advantage here is that you can be as outrageous as you like. Unlike when you’re framing a picture, your frame won’t distract from the main focus.


Paint your vents to match your decor, either to blend in with the wall coloring or to stand out in a contrasting color. You can also replace the coverings with decorative grilles, which come in a variety of patterns and designs, but be careful to select one that allows good airflow. Most grilles can also be painted to match your decor. If you’ve had your system for a while, this is a good opportunity to replace your filters too. Remember that this needs to be done regularly to keep your HVAC system functioning properly. Many people opt for scheduled deliveries in order to make sure they always have clean filters — if you do this, be sure to measure the size of all your filters separately, as they may not be the same size.

Making A Feature Of The Ductwork

When you have a HVAC system installed, you can elect to incorporate the ductwork into your interior design. Exposed systems can work in any living space because the color, size and angles can all be tailored to the room. The is a speciality of Cavin Costello, a designer from The Ranch Mine in Phoenix, who incorporates HVAC systems in homes without attics. Ductwork can be used to complement exposed beams in older houses and add a sleek modern look to contemporary homes. They can also help tone down impending ceilings and add contrast to the upper part of the room. Other people choose a more industrial look, using the ductwork to deliver textural impact to the appearance of the room.

Often choosing the industrial look means you don’t want to change the color of the ducts, but they can be painted to complement your color scheme. They’re usually made of galvanized steel, and you can buy galvanized metal paint in a variety of colors to allow this. If your HVAC system is already installed, painting it is your best option in terms of customizing it to fit in with your interior design.

HVAC systems and AC units are a standard part of most homes now. Hiding them is one option, but there’s no reason they can’t be used to add flair and style to your decor. Talk to your designer to see what options you have: you may be able to feature your ductwork in a way that’s completely unique to your property.


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