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How to Decorate Around an AC

Not every home in the world has central air conditioning, and when you live in a space that requires some other kind of cooling apparatus, like a wall- or window-mounted unit or else a portable AC, you might not be totally satisfied with how it looks.

Indeed, ACs are loud and bulky; they can easily dominate a room’s design, even if you have worked meticulously to cultivate an attractive style with your furniture and décor. If you don’t want your AC to distract from your room’s aesthetic, read on for some tips for designing around home AC units without reducing their functionality.

Grow a Thick Garden

Surrounding your unit with living plants is perhaps the best thing you can do to camouflage your AC without reducing its functionality at all. Greenery is an important element of the vast majority of interior style: Plants bring life and freshness to your décor; they add unique texture and softness; they add color without competing with existing color schemes.

More importantly for your AC, plants do not inhibit the flow of air — in fact, plants create oxygen. When dispersed through your AC, the air from your garden is more refreshing than typical recycled air. Larger indoor plants, like ficus, fiddle-leaf figs, kentia palms and philodendrons, are excellent options because they will effectively hide the unit completely.

Disguise the Unit

A popular option for hiding an indoor AC is building a box around it. It’s important to note that this isn’t always advisable; boxes can severely inhibit the flow of air to and from the unit, making the AC work harder to keep your room cool. Still, if you don’t often use a permanent unit, like a wall-mounted AC, you might consider disguising the unit as something else for the months the unit isn’t in use.

There are a few different disguises you can give your AC. A popular option is a 3D work of art, like wood intarsia or die-cut panels. However, you might also consider covering your AC with a shutter box, to make it seem as though you have an additional window in your home.

A final option is a shelf or mantle, which can hold knick-knacks, books or other items for display. You can find DIYs online for all of these projects, but as yet, there are no stylish manufactured AC disguises beyond simple quilted covers.

Hang a Gallery Wall

Gallery walls are in, and they have been in for more than a decade. This decorating style transforms a bare wall into a centerpiece of décor in your home using artworks and shelves hung from the wall. Gallery walls are useful for hiding a number of unsightly ills, like television screens or thermostats, so you can be sure a gallery wall will help visitors’ eyes skate over your AC unit, too.

There are a few different strategies for building an attractive gallery wall, and how you construct yours will depend on your room’s current aesthetic. For instance, if your room is minimalist and spartan, you might design a gallery wall to be strictly organized, with pictures of the same size, shape and frame arranged into straight rows.

However, a better way to hide your AC is to make a more eclectic-looking gallery wall, which utilizes a variety of visual interest, from large prints to fiber arts to small mirrors and more. The chaos will help the AC blend in — but you should attempt this only if you have a relatively eclectic style in your room.

Invest in an Artistic AC

Finally, if you lack a green thumb, don’t have the patience to DIY your own AC disguise or can’t figure out how to fit a gallery wall into your space, you have one final solution: an AC with decorations built in. LG produces a ductless air conditioning unit that has a frame on the front, where you can slide any artwork you like without any hassle whatsoever.

The picture doesn’t block air flow; the unit is designed to suck and blow air from the sides, so the front is free for decoration. This option is notably more expensive than others on this list, meaning it likely isn’t viable for most people taking advantage of window, wall and portable ACs — but if you need a quick, cool, decorative solution and budget is no object, this might be the one for you.

You need an AC in the summer months, almost regardless of where you live. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with an ugly AC if you take advantage of the solutions listed above.