6 Stylish Disguises for the Air Conditioner

Ductless mini-split air conditioners are popping up all over the place as an energy-efficient alternative to central air conditioning systems. Why? Because you can individually control zones of your house, so you don’t waste energy cooling a room you’re not in.

From an interior design point of view, they present a different set of challenges than a ducted system. That’s because unlike built-in ducts and vents that are often integrated into the architectural design of a house, mini-splits are often added as an afterthought.

Individual mini-split air handling units extend about 7 inches (18 centimeters) from the wall and are about 3 feet (90 centimeters) wide, depending on the model. They are controlled with a remote control and have vents that open out from the casing when the unit is in use. To work efficiently they need to be unobstructed and placed high in the room so that the cool air will have the greatest effect as it drops to the floor.

To keep the unit from sticking out like a sore thumb, you’ll want to integrate it with your room’s decor and design. Here are some good places for the unit, along with design tips.

1. Recessed into a wall or false beam. If you have the luxury of being able to make adjustments to the architectural space (this tip may not work for renters), try siting your mini-split in a recessed hole in a wall or in a false beam to minimize the distance it juts from the wall.

Clifton Leung Design Workshop – CLDW.com.nk, original photo on Houzz

2. Above a window. Especially in tight spaces with limited wall space, that no man’s land between the window and the ceiling may be one of the only locations for your ductless unit. Just keep in mind that the window is usually the weakest point for energy loss, so you may get better performance out of your mini-split if you place it far away from the windows, where the cold air can’t escape so easily.

Nicole Helene Designs, original photo on Houzz

3. Above a doorway. Another spot that is difficult to use for traditional storage space, but could work as a location for a mini-split, is above a doorway. This example, as well as the previous window example, allow more of your wall space to be available for full-height furniture.

Built by Humber Ltd, original photo on Houzz

4. Over your bed. For you polar bears out there who need cool air blowing over your body while you sleep, consider placing the unit above your headboard. If arctic chill is not your preferred sleeping climate, try the wall opposite your bed, so that your blanket will block you from any draft.

S.I.D.Ltd., original photo on Houzz

5. Above an armoire. Another difficult-to-reach spot (that would otherwise just collect dust) is above an armoire or cabinet system. In fact, from below, this can have the same minimal visual effect as recessing it into a false beam or wall.

优优, original photo on Houzz

6. Above a bookcase. In this example, the unit is placed above an open shelf system of more or less the same width. Just as we saw in the window or door example, it helps to try to match the dimension of the unit with what’s below it. This will help it appear as one vertical element instead of as a box hanging in the middle of a blank wall.

This article was originally published on Houzz.com
For related posts see:
Hide the AC Above Interior Doors
Contemporary Beds and Some AC is a Recipe for a Good Night's Sleep
Incorporate It Into a Built-In Bookshelf

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