Repurposed Door Mat to Cover an Ugly Return Air Vent

Curb Alert! How to disguise a Return Air Vent for $20 via
While browsing through my newest crack addiction   Pinterest (I’m sorry, I am addicted!) last night.  I was looking through some home decor items and came across a Return Air Vent Cover.  Not just any ordinary one but this one at


*Please note that this post contains Amazon Affiliate links for your convenience*


Upon further research I was shocked to find out that it can be purchased for a whopping $529!!! Whoa! Get outta here!
I had a BRILLIANT idea I tell ya – BRILLIANT!  I have this decorative outdoor rubber mat already sitting at my front door just waiting for a new life.
Curb Alert! How to disguise a Return Air Vent for $20 via
I cleaned if off a little with some Armour All tire cleaner.
You can purchase the same doormat from Amazon, here…Kempf Rubber Scroll Doormat Rectangular
for less than $20!
Here is a Before shot of my Gallery Wall where the AC Return Air Vent is beautifully displayed right there one the edge of it.  Pretty difficult to hide as it is right outside of my guest bathroom! There is also a second one located above all of the pictures as well!  Double Trouble!
Curb Alert! How to disguise a Return Air Vent for $20 via
I just put in two screws and hung up the door mat.  So easy!
Here is a closeup of the Air Conditioner Vent
Curb Alert! How to disguise a Return Air Vent for $20 via
Curb Alert! How to disguise a Return Air Vent for $20 via
Curb Alert! How to disguise a Return Air Vent for $20 via
Curb Alert! How to disguise a Return Air Vent for $20 via
I may not be Brilliant but feeling a little awesome at the moment.
Nothing like a little bit of instant gratification!!!
Okay, but here are the disclaimers before you try it yourself:
1.  When searching for a rubber door mat, try to find one that allows plenty of airflow, meaning that the door mat has a large amount of space in between the rubber sections.
2.  I have two air vents, a second one is located about 4 feet above the one shown and I have decided to leave it as is and unobstructed for maximum airflow.
3.  I have consulted with our HVAC Air Technician and he has agreed that the doormat leaves proper airflow for our home based on our own situation, definitely consult with your own Air Technician to ensure that you get proper airflow before using it on yours. Our technician was already on call for our yearly checkup so it was no additional charge to check it out.
4.  Open up your airvents a little by raising up the individual vent panels with pliers to allow even more airflow.
I think it looks great!  Definitely a LOT more appealing than the white air vent!   I love how it took me a total of about 5 minutes to complete this project and cost me a whopping $0 (BAM!-high five from My Love right there, although he will probably think it looks stupid on the wall).  That’s okay, that’s why he’s in charge of “making the donuts” and I am in charge of the home operations!
Remember you can easily purchase one for yourself here…
Have a great day!


  1. I was actually thinking of doing this over one of our big ugly vents…..It looks so good on your wall,I'm sure hubby will agree 🙂
    I know what you mean about Pinterest…it's so addicting!!!

  2. I love it! I would go one step further and hot glue black a window screen to the back of the doormat to disguise the white of the vent cover a bit better. Or maybe that would be enough to remove the cover all together. Hmm.

  3. Sorry this is "anonymous", my name is Betsy. I was also thinking – just to throw it out there – that you could take the idea of a wall hanging made from a spray painted door mat just like that one and hang it over the return. That way you could match your decor if you so desired. The idea was also in pinterest (they sanded the paint off it a bit here and there to give it an antiqued or aged look). Just a thought – LOVE the interpretation, though!!! I don't have the budget for the original – so you saved me much heartache!

  4. Meegan Bendorf on

    I also have vent registers throughout my house and they stick out like a sore thumb. I paint them the same color as my wall color to disguise them. But I think the door mat over the painted register makes for a very creative piece of art work! Thanks so much for sharing!

  5. Great job and idea. I would say to take the vent down and spray paint it black with some Rustoleum paint with primer.

  6. Neat idea. I have to say how much I love that you framed your kid's mural on the lower part of the wall, LOL! Too cute!

  7. You are brilliant! I have wanted to cover mine too it is huge and right under my beautiful niche and makes it look silly! I found them and was shocked at the prices. I am so going to do this! Thank you !

  8. I was thinking that it would blend a little better if you painted the register the same color as the wall. My mother-in-law painted mine as a "favor" but then proceeded to touch up my walls with the same shiny paint. Too bad my walls were egg shell finish!

  9. Cute idea! Please remember the original function of the register, it needs air flow and the size of the register is the amount of air your furnace/ AC needs. I definitely would not put screen over register. It would restrict the air flow and you would have a constant collection of dust, lint, hair, etc…not pretty.

  10. You could also remove and paint the white grate in a matching color and then the two would blend together even more.

    Great idea!

  11. You could also remove and paint the white grate in a matching color and then the two would blend together even more.

    Great idea!

  12. This is great! I bet if you painted the return vent like a charcoal color it would look even more like the $529 version! 🙂

  13. Jill, you are reading my mind! I like the idea of painting the white return. Problem 1 solved! Now, does anyone have a suggestion for hiding the thermostat cover. I have this problem in my hallway, gorgeous pictures and then this . . . thing!! Help!

  14. Great idea!! I'm gonna have to try this for sure. Jill, I saw a Pinterest pic of someone who put a pretty frame around their thermostat. Maybe try something like that.

  15. I was going to do this but my husband won't let me. 🙁 he said it will reduce air flow and eventually cause the ac system to freeze up….boo!

  16. Mawry….. Your husband is correct, well sort of. IF you were to take the louvers and open them up more. Open the grill and bend them down slightly with pliers. Also keeping a clean filter in there will also help. A dirty filter will cause way more harm to an HVAC system than the slight increase in restriction from the mat. This is based on my 15+ years in the HVAC industry.

  17. Keep in mind that in this case the area through which the air goes is probably restricted about 1/3. That's not that good but, as anonymous said above, if you turn up the blades a bit and keep the filter clean you should be fine. However, if somebody is planning in covering their grille with a rug or something else that is bolder or restricts the grille even more, be careful.
    If i were you i would use the rug as a template and paint over the grille or something. I know these things are not pretty, but there is a reason they are like designed and manufacturated like that. 🙂

  18. I am a huge Van Dykes fan as they are only about an hour and a half from here. They used to have a store that you were able to browse around in and I would make a special trip to see what great treasures that they had. They have now closed that down and gone to internet shopping instead. I think the use of the fancy door mat is GREAT thanks for the great inspiration.

  19. I'm thinking window screening, wood frame and the pre done wood scroll work from the hardware store put it together with a little paint remove old cover all together save the hinges screw in frame and it would look a lot like the top fancy one for just a few bucks.

  20. Although I love your idea, great to see what you can come up with using things you already have… However I really wanted to comment on what appears to be some children's art on your wall that you hilariously framed!! My husband and I got the biggest chuckle out of this and have just the wall area to copy your idea thanks to a certain 20 month old artist living in our home 😉


  21. Love the look..seems these vents are always SO big & right in the way 🙂
    I have one in my diningroom . I think I will at least spray paint mine a tan color so at least it's not showing as much a ugly white/ dust 🙂

  22. Hey there! Just wanted to let you know we featured you in our Favorite Find Fridays post over at Whimsically Homemade. We used one of your pictures and linked back to you. If that's a problem let us know and we'll remove it immediately. Thanks for your great inspiration!

  23. If you painted the air return the same color as your wall it wouldn't stand out so much and with the door mat over it would really blend in!

  24. Unfortunately, those like myself, allergic to latex, would not want to place this in the way of air flow in the house. Personally, even having the rubber mat in the house would cause asthmatic reactions. I do like the idea of covering the hideous vent… I think I will search for an old or unique iron trellis to weld onto the vent, the spray paint!

  25. I need help with a floor vent. My boyfriends elderly parents are moving into a house that has a floor vent and we need an idea to cover it up. Not so much because it is ugly, but mainly because it kills your feet when you walk over it. Any ideas on how I could secure this to that vent cover? Like I said they are elderly and we can't let them trip.

  26. I don't think this is a good idea. A lot of these mats are made from recycled tires and could affect some people's allergies/asthma.
    However…if you paint if and hang, elsewhere, as a decorative piece, it would be nice.
    I just wouldn't want any particles from recycled tires blowing in your house, getting in your lungs.

  27. Dampers are attached to the heating and cooling ducts in your home, and conditioned air is then distributed to different parts of the house as needed. This system is perfect for homes that have large open areas either in the floor plan or near the ceiling, such as a loft or atrium. It can be very expensive to heat or cool these large areas at all times, so having a system to switch off heating or cooling in these areas can save you money on your energy bill.
    If you're interested in determining whether a zoning system would be right for your San Antonio home, contact Chahat Enterprises Air Conditioning Repairing Services.

  28. Pure genius! When we built our home the heating guy was going to put that vent next to our fireplace about 5 feet up the wall. I told our builder there was NO WAY it was going there. We put it in the ceiling, it blends right in, and no problems with the air flow.


Leave A Reply