The frustration of having functional, but let's be honest, ugly household items can ruin an otherwise beautiful space. But this problem can be easily resolved with creative hacks to conceal these unsightly items.
Whether you want simple and affordable ways to integrate these items into a room's design, such as concealing an air fryer in a kitchen, or you are designing a space with this in mind (such as planning a laundry room to hide a washer and) we've got you covered.
Here are eight tricks for concealing clutter and ugly household items to ensure your space feels polished.
How to conceal ugly household items
'Disguising what we'd rather hide allows us to not just organize but elevate entire living spaces. Who says efficiency can't also be elegant? Instead of shoving things out of sight, we can disguise functionality with aesthetics,' says Jim Gray at Agent Advice.
'Whether through dividers, decorating with plants, or multifunctional furniture, concealing items transforms how we experience the places we live.'
1. Utilize storage furniture
Furniture with storage is a great way to hide unsightly items in plain sight while making the most of open floor plans and effortlessly transitioning between style and utility.
'Invest in furniture with hidden storage compartments, such as ottomans or coffee tables with storage, to seamlessly integrate functionality with design. This allows you to tuck away items out of sight while enhancing the overall appeal of your home decor,' says Kerry Sherin, home improvement expert at Ownerly. We love this Edlyn storage bench from Anthropologie.
Furniture doesn't have to have hidden inbuilt storage either. While there are pieces designed with dual functionality in mind – such as benches with drawers to keep shoes hidden and sofas with storage for electronics – pieces such as bookshelves or console tables can be great for concealing awkward corners and undercover cords. So, use your imagination when it comes to tactically using furniture to hide household items.
$1,799 from West Elm
This versatile sofa has a seat that can be lifted with a toggle to reveal plenty of discrete storage space.
$699 from West Elm
Perfect for concealing ugly household items in plain sight, this coffee table comes with plenty of storage.
2. Conceal with cabinetry integration
One popular method to conceal kitchen appliances is to have custom cabinetry built around them, including dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, and even items like trash cans.
'Front panels that match your kitchen cabinets can be installed on the appliances, making them blend seamlessly with the rest of the kitchen,' says Alexander Hill from The Appliance Depot. 'This approach is particularly effective with dishwashers and fridge-freezers, creating a continuous, uninterrupted look.'
'In a laundry room or utility area, enclose your washing machine and dryer within cabinetry,' continues Alexander Hill. 'They can be tucked under the counter, with cabinet doors that open and slide back or fold to reveal the appliances when in use.
'Custom solutions like slide-out shelves or hidden compartments, such as appliance garages, can be built to hide smaller appliances when not in use. This is an innovative way to maintain a clutter-free kitchen or laundry room.
'When concealing appliances, it's important to ensure adequate ventilation, especially for heat-generating appliances like fridges and dryers. Proper ventilation prevents overheating and extends the life of the appliances.'
3. Disguise with decorative screens
'Decorative screens or room dividers are a versatile and stylish way to conceal ugly
household items,' says Shaun Martin, CEO of Sell My House Fast.
'You can use them to cover up anything from old radiators to cracks in walls or even an unsightly corner of the room or view. These screens not only offer full coverage to hide these less attractive sights, but they also add a touch of elegance and privacy to your space.
Screens come in various designs, colors, and sizes, making it easy to find one that fits your space and style.
4. Hide with curtains or fabric
Another effective way to hide unsightly household items is by using curtains or fabric. This method not only conceals the item but also adds texture and color to your space.
'If building custom cabinets is not feasible, curtains can be an effective and budget-friendly alternative,' says Alexander Hill from The Appliance Depot. 'Hang a curtain in front of the appliance, using a fabric that complements the room's decor. This method works well for laundry appliances in multipurpose spaces.'
Additionally, hanging a curtain or some fabric can conceal a large air conditioning unit or cluttered shelves. 'Simply hang a curtain rod in front of the space and use curtains to cover it up. This is a great way to create the illusion of a hidden storage area while adding a decorative element to your room,' says Shaun Martin, CEO of Sell My House Fast.
5. Camouflage with color
'Hiding ugly household items is no longer a difficult task with the help of paint. This simple and cost-effective method can instantly transform an eyesore into a piece of art,' recommends Shaun Martin. 'Whether it's an old radiator, exposed pipes, or even an outdated appliance, all it takes is a few coats of paint to conceal them seamlessly.'
To do so, you can match the paint used on the unsightly item to that of the wall color or surrounding furniture. Just make sure to use a high-quality paint suitable for the surface you will be painting. For example, if you are painting metal pipes, use rust-resistant paint, such as this Rust-Oleum paint from Amazon, available in a variety of colors.
'If you have a larger surface to cover, consider using stencils or creating a design with different colors to add character and creativity to the space,' continues Shaun Martin. Additionally, chalkboard paint can be used to hide flaws on walls while adding visual interest, making this the perfect idea for playrooms.
6. Disguise with plants
Using greenery is a simple way to camouflage unattractive areas or items while freshening up your space. Place tall plants in front of unattractive objects, hang trailing vines, or build a living wall around them. For an extra cover boost, use large, decorative vases, baskets, or planters to store the indoor plants.
7. Secret under desk compartments
Mounting storage compartments under desks or counters can easily clear countertops of ugly items. The benefit of under-desk shelves is that you can find ones that you can attach to desks or cabinets temporarily or permanently, with plenty of adhesive and slide-on options, such as these Nxconsu storage baskets, from Amazon.
8. Disguise with decorative storage
'To conceal unsightly household items, consider incorporating decorative storage boxes or baskets into your living space,' recommends Kerry Sherin, home improvement expert. 'These stylish containers not only provide a practical solution for organizing clutter but can also serve as aesthetically pleasing accents.'
You can even take these on as a DIY project, customizing storage options to hide ugly household items. For example, to keep extension cables concealed, you can make small openings in storage containers to feed wires through in order to keep them out of sight while still plugged in.
$68.00 – $98.00 from Anthrologie
This rattan storage box with a glass lid is the perfect option for keeping items such as keys and letters.
Was $40 - $170, now $32 - $136 from West Elm
These rattan baskets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, making them the perfect storage solution for unsightly items.
$78.00 from Anthropologie
Add color to your living room with this convenient storage basket, ideal for keeping toys or storing blankets.
Adding visual interest to a space to distract from any unsightly items can be a good last resort if there is nothing more you can do to disguise it. Ultimately, the key is to strike a balance between functionality and aesthetics in order to effectively conceal ugly household items.
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Lola Houlton is a news writer for Homes & Gardens. She has been writing content for Future PLC for the past five years, in particular Homes & Gardens, Real Homes and GardeningEtc. She writes on a broad range of subjects, including recipe articles, reviewing products, writing ‘how to’ and ‘when to’ articles. Lola now writes about everything from organization through to house plants. Lola is a graduate student, who completed her degree in Psychology at the University of Sussex. She has also spent some time working at the BBC.
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