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How to Hide Your (Ugly) Air-Con

Because one cannot do without air-conditioning in hot and humid Singapore, most of us have an AC unit in almost every room at home. For most of us, the white box is jarring against our well-thought-out interior design and a huge visual distraction. Sure, it brings us cool air and respite but does it need to do so in such an intrusive manner?

If you think like us, we’ve put together a few ways to conceal that unsightly unit in your home so you can have the best of both worlds (cool environment + gorgeous design):


1. Keep them behind bars

Make sure the grille covers concealing your AC units have large enough gaps for the cool air to come through or leave the base of your air-conditioning free from any obstruction or cover. Grille covers should also be easily removable for maintenance and routine cleaning. For a seamless design, have the grille covers match with adjacent carpentry or surfaces.

Design: Llark Architects

Design: Icon Interior Design


2. Allow it to have shelf-awareness

Containing your air-conditioning unit inside an open section of your built-in cabinet or wardrobe makes them less conspicuous. Shelves with a similar depth to your air-conditioning work best, since that will ensure that the blasted cool air can maximise its reach in the room. But even if you have a deeper shelf, adjusting your air-con vent will suffice.

Design: DSOD Interior

You’ll want to make sure there’s enough space surrounding the air-conditioning unit so that it has enough room for ventilation as well as making it easier to reach out to it during cleaning or servicing.

Design: DB Studio


3. Conceal it in plain sight

Design: Jubilee Interior

Sometimes, hiding it in plain sight works. Above, the air-conditioning unit sits over the entrance of the passageway. It doesn’t protrude out visually as it’s nestled neatly between a tall cabinet and a plaster wall.

Below, the air-conditioning unit presides among artworks in a gallery wall. Distract the eye with a hodgepodge of prints and colours, and the unsightly cooling machine will fade into the backdrop.

Image: Kate Hansen

In the following example, the air-conditioning unit sits in plain sight above the window, a space that will otherwise be left empty. Owing to its slim design and its slight recess into the false ceiling, it still appears visually unobtrusive.

Design: Baseplan


4. Hide within a false ceiling

Design: Distinct Identity

A thicker false ceiling can almost conceal the entire air-conditioning unit, save for the vent at the base. Note that HDB flats have a stricter ruling as to how low the ceiling can go, as there’s a minimum clearance height of 2.4 metres from the finished floor level.

Design: Dots ‘n’ Tots Interior Design


5. Make use of a recessed ceiling

Rather than have your air-conditioning unit covered by a false ceiling, you can conceal it within the fringes of a recessed ceiling. While not the most inconspicuous position, the added depth from the recessed ceiling means you can’t see the unit from certain angles.

In the following images, there are two air-conditioning units—one facing the living room and the other facing the dining area. When viewed from the dining area, the unit in the living room is hidden and vice versa.

Design: Produce

Do air-conditioning units bother you? Or do you appreciate the cooled air too much to care? Let us know in the comments!


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