Integrating Unsightly HVAC Systems Into Your Home Design

Installed in nearly  35 million homes across America, the most widely used form of heating is a forced-air system fueled by a natural gas furnace. On a practical level, heating and cooling systems are a vital element of your home, but no matter which method of temperature control is used, it may well include unsightly appliances, such as a furnace, air conditioning units and other mini splits or large radiators, which can spoil the clean lines of a well-designed room. Some elements such as air ducts are generally out of sight, but for other more prominent components, there are ways to disguise them so that they blend seamlessly with your interior decor, or even add an unusual point of interest.

Camouflaging Furnaces
Most essential appliances need a minimum amount of space around them for adequate ventilation and to prevent the risk of fire. A furnace will also need to be accessible to allow you to check the thermostat or regularly inspect and change the  furnace filters, so it can’t simply be boxed in and forgotten about. A simple room divider, large freestanding mirror or piece of oversized artwork can be used very effectively to screen a furnace from view and yet still be easily moved when access is necessary. Where the furnace is situated in a recess, a more permanent solution is folding louvred doors, which will not only look attractive but will also help to deaden any undesirable noise.

Concealing Air Conditioning Units
In many homes, mini split air conditioning units and heat pumps are not part of the original design of the building and are more prominent because they have been added to a room at a later date. By covering units with a simple box frame and then painting them to suit the style of the room, they can instead work as effective decorative accents. Large outdoor AC units can be hidden by decorative wooden pallets or bamboo screening which blend naturally in a garden setting.

Integrating Radiators
Modern radiators or wall heaters can spoil the look of a room but are easily covered to remove them from view. For smaller heaters, simply painting them the same colour as the walls can help to make them less conspicuous. A rustic shelf fitted on top of a radiator changes it from a prominent eyesore into a practical piece of furniture, and a complete lattice work radiator cabinet adds elegance to a room while still allowing heat to circulate. If you have older radiators another approach is to embrace their presence and turn them into a feature.  As a component of an historic industrial design, a vintage Victorian radiator will look stylish alongside minimalist metal furniture and exposed brickwork.

 

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