Elevate Your Homes Design with HVAC Vents

Elevate Your Homes Design with HVAC Vents

Your HVAC vents may seem like a very little change, but they really can elevate the design of your home quickly, without a lot of hard work. 

This was a little project I had planned to do last year while Ron was laid up with the whole shoulder debacle and out of commission for a the slated DIY projects. Needless to say it completely fell off the calendar, until I saw it come up again on Ron’s 1 Year Anniversary of his “Staircase Slide” and thought we really need to do this project, it is so easy! One thing that I have always said is, when you walk into a space, where ever your eye lands is an indicator of two things. The first thing, for me, is always that something is very wrong or just out place. If nothing appears to be wrong, my eyes always rest upon something that I love and would naturally gravitate towards. This is true when I go into other people’s homes and I have also noticed this very same behavior when I have guests in my own home. People’s gaze will always trail around a space, as it should, but where it lands is always your indicator of either a problem, question, or a impending compliment. So, naturally when a room is well designed, your guests’ eye will have a tenancy to brush pass most of it’s “flaws”, mainly ones that the homeowner may see, and they will concentrate on the things they covet or love. This is why good design is so important, when it looks good, and feels right you don’t even notice a change. This rule of design is so true for this minor little upgrade we did.  Upon entering my home, everything appears to be relatively tidy and organized, with a nice soothing color palette and a cohesive southern farmhouse design. As the home owner, I walk through my front door and immediatly see two cheap HVAC vents that could totally be upgraded to match up with value of the home, ha ha ha. Okay maybe that was a little harsh, but I think  that only because I am so fixated on them and how I can make them look better.  Since this is our first home built on a basement, this our first time having floor vents. Also this is our first home that does not have a stitch of carpet anywhere, so our entire first floor is made up of all hardwood floors. When we were building, it did not occur to either of us about the floors vents…..ooops. See even interior designers drop the ball every now and again. When the awkward tan colored grates were installed prior to our closing, I automatically knew that I hated them. However, they were the only options available from the builder other than white, which would have been absolutely atrocious on wood floors. Therefore, this was going to have to go on the list as an “after move in project” to upgrade later.Clearly, things got busy and this project just got pushed and then dropped off my radar until recently. I decided, enough… I was doing it, we would be upgrading to something pretty that had a farmhouse feel, maybe cast iron………(insert crickets). Yeah, those do not really exist. {To all those fabricators out there, if they did exist I would have bought them. I really think there is a market for them, especially with the raise in farmhouse and industrial design applications.} We ended up going with an oil rubbed bronze and as you can see, Ralphy, our project foreman  approves. Yep, that’s right even my cats voted in favor of the new vent covers, even they prefer the pretty. So, let me just tell you that this search took a while. We have two vent sizes a 10” x 4” and 14”x 4”, plus a large return grate and they all needed to match. While I was able to find matching vents in limited patterns and colors in the two basic sizes, the main challenge came with this large return grate that just happens to sit right in the middle of my floor. As you can see this one is truly one of the eye sores that I speak of.Unfortunately, you can not cover it up, since this is the main return for this floor it would tax my HVAC unit making it less efficient. Not to mention it would cut down the circulation of the air flow, that can cause the coil to freeze up in the summer or the furnace to overheat in the winter, and produce carbon monoxide which can silently kill you. Guess it is a good thing my husband worked for his father’s HVAC company during the hot Georgia summers as a teenager. The return grates in this special size also got very expensive, it was a weird size of 13” x 8” and it was running upwards to $150-$300, plus the shipping on that heavy iron. This one grate was going to cost as much as all of the other vents combined, I was literally blown away, (pun completly intended). At this point, I seriously started to consider a custom, in town fabrication or a paintable option. We did end up finding one online from a completely different vendor with a very similar pattern and the color was going to be pretty darn close. So, the actual installation and replacement process was so super easy, by comparison to the searching to order process. It literally took all of 30 minutes for the entire floor. You lift out the old vent, if you are OCD like me, and clean around the the opening then vacuum the inside while it’s off and pop the new one in. Boom! Your done. Literally the easiest job on the planet. 
 

We did this during the hot summer months, so a job right in front of the air conditioning was quite pleasurable to say the least. I got to say my husband really liked this project, it gave a lot of instant gratification and was a nice little break from some of the heavier jobs we have been doing lately.I really feel like it made a big difference in areas that the grates standout in the middle of the floor. Areas like my kitchen, where there is not any kind of furniture coverage, those ugly vent really stuck out and now they have a very nice cohesive feeling that goes with the rest of my home. It just adds a little extra element that says, I am a homeowner that loves my home and I do these little things for me to make myself happy. 

As you can see, some of the other areas are not as noticeable because of the furniture, rugs and accessories but I still think it evokes that old farmhouse feeling of pure southern living at its best. Like one of those older homes in Savannah but with out all the ghosts, lol. Now, as you look through the pictures see if you can spot the floor vents.
I feel like the floor vent, now, really add to the DIY Cedar Beams that we added to this living room last year. Ironically, that was the last DIY we completed prior to the infamous “Staircase Slide” I spoke of earlier. Which he is now 100% healed, thank goodness, but if you want to take a look at how we actually made these faux cedar beams and installed them ourselves click the link above and get all the details.Now when you walk into to my home I am sure most of my guests will not even notice the floor vents, but that is fine. That just means I am doing my job as a designer. I want you to notice the focal pieces placed in the home as focal design elements, everything else is just a supporting design role that you may or may not even notice as you visit. 

COPY MY HOMEWORK: 

Okay, since the hardest part of this project really is the sourcing of the products and finding the correct sizes I have made an easy to follow guide of al my favorites below. This will make the process for you much simpler, all you have to do is measure your vents and returns, then count up your numbers and order what your need. 

 

*Please note that this post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. These involve no extra cost to you, but may result in me receiving a small commission – for which I am very grateful! You can view my full advertising disclosure here.

 MY TOP 10 CHOICES FOR FLOOR VENTS:

 

MY TOP 5 OPTIONS FOR RETURN COVERS:

While none of these sizes actually worked for me, this was a great find if you are looking for the cast iron farmhouse style grates:

 

21 Comments

  1. Yep you did it again, you completely blew me away when I saw this post. You come with things that never cross my mind. Such a great idea and those vents really do dress up your home nicely. Excellent post and inspirational idea girl!

  2. I like to get my inspiration from you since you have some of the BEST ideas I have seen. Ha ha ha, see I like a pun too! I really do like this idea a lot and even though it may be a invest on the corn t end, it is not something that you would ever really have to replace again, so it is pennies on the dollar after years in your home.

  3. This is a really good idea I have really got to do this in my home too. I hate those ugly floor vents. I thought about just spray painting them but not that I see the pretty options I think I might invest a couple $100 and really go all out.

  4. Wow this really does make a big difference, now that I see it. When I read the title I thought well, I guess, but after see those pretty vents I agree it really does elevate your homes appearance another level.

  5. Oh my gosh Jen, you always amaze me! This is such a good idea, and I never would have thought about it until I read your post. Here you go again turning the design world on it’s ear ha ha ha.

  6. Let me just say how much I love this idea. I am so doing this! What a easy way to make a newer home have a more rustic farmhouse feel.

  7. This is such a good post, I like that you were able to upgrade your home so easily, I guess I have never really thought about changing out the return vents before, but I do like how they look. Very classy.

  8. Great choice for the vent cover updates Jen! I did notice the ones in our new home right away because I am a little OCD about things matching, I am happy to report that the builder chose perfectly!

  9. This is a perfect post for the work we are doing on our little farmhouse reno, I agree cast iron would be great, or grate, lol. The shipping my be a little crazy because of how heave they are, so local fabrication might be a better option, but I do like where you mind is at on the design idea. I have to thank you again for the great inspiration, I feel like you have helped us design this place, just by way of your DIY’s and blog post. I will send you pictures soon!

  10. These look great! I don’t have any floor vents in my home but if I did this is definitely something I would consider.

  11. Girl you never cease to amaze me! You are always coming up with the best ideas, that I am sure are out there, but no one is really looking at them yet. You really like the focus us in, and show us how to make our homes shine and looks like a million bucks. These are tips the will last for the life time of our home not just a season, or until the next design trend comes around, bravo and thank you!

  12. Hey CiCi as a DIY project in Hot-lanta right now it was the COOLEST project we could think of…..LOL. I really enjoyed sitting infant of the air conditioning vents in the middle of July, during a heatwave, it was well scheduled…..LOL 😛

  13. Hey Athena,thanks for stopping by the blog. Yes Amazon had a great selection for floor vents, and don’t forget that July 16th is Amazon Prime Day!!! Extra savings for prime members so save your purchases for then 🙂

  14. This is so cool!! What an easy way to add some character to your home!

  15. Hey Alina this is really cool, thank you so much fo sharing this information with me, and my readers. Do you happen to have more information about it? I am always interested in “green” home designs. In fact I would totally consider doing a post about this type of technology as I find it fascinating!!!

  16. Thanks for sharing this and providing so many different options! I recently bought a bit of a fixer upper and will keep this in mind! I also had no idea you could buy these on Amazon!

  17. One of the features in our new house that I’m most excited about barely raises an eyebrow with some of our visitors: the ventilation system. I believe we have the highest-efficiency heat-recovery ventilator (HRV) on the market—or at least it’s right up there near the top.

    But first, a lot of people may be wondering, should a “green” home require mechanical ventilation? A lot of people might think that this is just the kind of energy-consuming system that homes should be getting away from—while cracking windows for fresh air.

  18. Thank You for such a inspiring idea. I must tell you I have never thought to change these out, but not that I am looking at mine, I am really considering it.

  19. This is a great idea and I really like how they improve the value of our home. They really do make a noticeable difference, I am sure that you are very happy with the upgrade.

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