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24 Clever Ways to Hide an AC Unit Indoors & Out

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Last Updated on April 16, 2019


hide ac unit

Let’s face it, your air conditioner is an essential component of your luxury home, but it’s not something you want front and center. Most of us would rather hide the AC unit. It can be downright embarrassing to have ugly AC equipment cluttering up your patio or ruining your perfectly designed interior. So today we’re sharing 24 fun ways to hide air conditioning units. That includes both the outside condenser and wall-or ceiling mounted boxes indoors.

Some of these ideas are great for DIYers. If that’s not you, you can always find a creative handyman to help you create the look you want to hide your AC unit.

Before we get to the photos, we want to remind you about two important rules when planning your project to hide an AC unit:

  1. Never block air flow around the equipment. You’ll only impede its operation (so it won’t cool your space as well) and it might overheat.
  2. Make sure your creative solution allows for access to the equipment when it’s time for residential HVAC service or repairs.

Also, if you’re in the market for a new unit, check out this informative guide: The Ultimate Guide to Air Conditioning for NYC Luxury Residential Spaces.



12 Ideas to hide your AC unit outdoors

If you are lucky enough to have outside space in New York City, chances are you don’t want the aesthetics ruined by an eyesore condensing unit. Try these ideas to hide the AC unit: your guests will never know it’s there!

1. Garden structure

hide the AC unit outdoors garden structure | photo credit: Danielle Lee Bean

This decorative wood garden structure is the perfect size for camouflaging your outside condensing unit, while also adding interest to your outdoor space. Just don’t forget to keep the equipment accessible for service.

2. DIY pallet planter

DIY pallet planter | photo credit:

Here’s a quaint idea for a vertical garden that also happens to hide an AC unit behind it!

3. Lattice vine wall

lattice vine wall | photo credit:

A wall of morning glories is a fabulous way to hide air conditioning units while also maintaining air flow. Just don’t put the flowers too close the unit (the condenser is the part of your AC that releases heat, so keep it at least a couple of feet away from the plants).

4. Cement block planter wall

cement block planter wall | photo credit: Shelly Roxbury

Here’s another really cool planter idea, and a really inexpensive one. All you need are cement blocks, some wood shelves and a little paint.

5. Painted door screen

painted door screen | photo credit:

This reminds us of something you might see in Dublin or the Caribbean where people paint their doors in eye-catching color. Who would have thought you could recycle old doors to hide your AC unit?

6. Ocotillo fence

outdoor air conditioning covering

You might not be able to grow these desert ocotillo plants in the New York City area, but surely there’s a substitute that would look just as cool while hiding the air conditioner outside.

7. Decorative painted pallet screen

decorative painted pallet screen | photo credit: JoFiArtCreations

Here’s another inexpensive idea that just requires an old shipping pallet and some paint. If you’re not so talented with decorative painting, you could just go with a bright color that matches your décor. Or, get your kids to paint their handprints on it or use stencils to add a design.

8. Plantings: caladium and elephant ears

caladium and elephant ears | photo credit:

These gorgeous, exotic looking plants get tall enough to hide your AC unit. Like the morning glories, keep them far enough away from the heat given off by your condensing unit.

9. DIY seat with built-in AC cover

DIY seat with built-in AC cover | photo credit:

Unless you’re really good with woodwork, this one is going to require the skills of a carpenter. But totally worth it! Outdoor seating that also hides your AC unit. Genius.

10. Paver wall

paver wall | photo credit:

If plants and woodwork are not your thing, try this stone wall made from patio pavers.

11. Lattice screen and planter box

lattice screen and planter box | photo credit:

This one is great because it also protects your outdoor unit from getting covered by leaves and debris. Just make sure there’s enough clearance to let heat escape and of course make it accessible for maintenance.

12. Bamboo wall

bamboo wall | photo credit:

This cool and serene bamboo wall and plantings provides privacy and as well as hiding the outside air conditioner.

12 Ways to hide air conditioning units inside your home

What if you live in a city apartment without outside space? You may have indoor AC equipment that’s kind of an eyesore on your walls and ceilings. Here are some fun ideas to hide the AC unit indoors.

1. Wall-mounted die-cut cabinet

hide ac unit indoors wall-mounted die-cut cabinet| photo credit Jolie Dionne

This is a perfect way to hide an AC unit that’s wall mounted, such as a ductless AC unit or a through-the-wall unit. Since the doors open, it easy to open for adjusting the fan or for doing maintenance.

2. Wrought iron grate

Wrought iron grate | photo credit Peggy Wang

You can buy grille covers to match any décor or architectural style, so your AC and heat registers actually look attractive.

3. Shutter box

Shutter box | photo credit Joelle Alcaidinho

Here’s another great idea for hiding an AC unit up on a wall. Find some shabby chic shutters with slats that open to provide air flow for the equipment.

4. Die-cut wood & lace wall panel

Die-cut wood & lace wall panel | photo credit POC+P architects

This die cut panel is backed antique lace. It looks more like a piece of art than a cover for an AC or heat register!

5. Slatted wood panel

Slatted wood panel | photo credit Floriane Lemarie

Here’s a more modern look: it’s a sliding panel that provides camouflage for wall shelving, a TV and the ability to hide an AC unit.

6. Wall mounted shelf

Wall mounted shelf | photo credit
Here’s another wall-mounted shelf, but this one was custom built to match the bedroom furniture. A slatted wood door hides the AC unit.

7. Metal grille mantel

Metal grille mantel | photo credit

This metal grille was probably a cover for a heating register originally, but it’s been repurposed as a beautiful mantel that happens to also hide an AC unit!

8. Shutter register cover

Shutter register cover | photo credit Kim Upstone © Palix Flore/Oredia

Here’s another way to use shutters to camouflage your HVAC unit or wall registers. In this case, they are attached directly to the wall.

9. Custom wall art

Custom wall art | photo credit Leslie Fry

This air conditioner cover doesn’t just look like art, it really is a piece of custom artwork created to hide an AC unit.

10. Decorative metal panel

Decorative metal panel | photo credit Squarespace on

We really like this decorative wall panel covering the AC unit because there’s plenty of room for air flow which is good for the equipment as well as your comfort.

11. Thermostat camouflage

Thermostat camouflage | photo credit Sarah Rainwater

We couldn’t resist including this idea, even though it doesn’t really hide an AC unit… it’s just creating some really clever distraction so you don’t even notice the thermostat mounted on that wall!

12. There is a beautiful AC unit!

beautiful AC unit | photo credit Joelle Alcaidinho

Here’s an option from LG that comes ready-made (no DIY required!). All you have to do is install and choose your favorite artwork for inside the frame.

Still want more ideas? Check out this blog: 15 Creative Ways to Hide Your Outside Air Conditioner