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DIY Air Return Cover and Improving Our Home’s Air Quality

The best solution for reducing airborne particles and allergens in your home + how to make a pretty air vent cover.

There are two huge lessons I’ve learned about living in a house that’s older than I am:

1. The most random things will break from wear and tear when you least expect it (and often on holidays).

2. Dust and funky old smells operate at a whole different level.

We might as well start naming our dust bunnies and calling them our pets.

DIY Air Return Cover and Improving Our Home's Air Quality

This one air return vent in particular has been the ultimate dust collector, and yesterday, I’d finally had enough. We ripped that sucker off the wall and decided to make a pretty vent cover in its place. (And re-do the command center and replace the air filter while we were at it too because if you give a mouse a cookie… you know the drill.)

command center before

The good news is that what is behind that vent cover can be prettied up just as easily.

Fall is always the time of year when our entire family’s seasonal allergies go completely berserk, so we’re glad we have our home’s air quality in top shape.

Trane Comfort Performance Filter captures household dust, dust mites, mold spores, pollen, and pet dander for a balance between clean air and optimal HVAC system efficiency to improve the lives of those who suffer from asthma and allergy issues.

Making the air return cover was so inexpensive and the perfect project for a beginner DIYer…

DIY Air Return Cover

Supplies Used:

  • 1×2 board(s)
  • Miter saw
  • Primer and paint of your choice
  • Finishing nails
  • Nailer or hammer
  • Wood filler
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Decorative metal sheet
  • Manual staple gun and staples
  • Metal snips
  • Command strips

The Steps:

1. Measure your existing air return cover to base the measurements for your new cover’s frame.

2. Mark the measurements on your 1×2 board and cut at 45 degree angles on the miter saw.

DIY air return vent cover frame

3. Join together the ends of the boards with finishing nails for the corners.

4. Fill the cracks at the corners with wood filler and let dry. Then sand smooth.

5. Prime and paint the wood frame.

DIY air return vent cover frame

6. Using the vent frame as a guide, mark on the decorative metal sheet where to cut with wire snips.

DIY vent cover using decorative sheet metal

7. Attach the metal sheet to the back of the frame with staples.

vent cover made from decorative sheet metal

8. And attach your new air return cover to the wall with Command velcro strips so you can still access your filter later as needed.

DIY air return vent cover

So much better!

Command center wall organizer and DIY vent cover

You can find more about Trane CleanEffects™ Air Cleaner here along with resources to contact a local specialist, if air quality is an issue for your family too.

As for this command center wall, what do you think?! Better than before?

Do you remember when it looked like this 3 years ago?

command center before

Our kitchen still needs a lot of love until a big reno can happen, but this one spot is already improving our lives so much.

Command Center Wall Organizer and DIY Air Return Vent Cover

DIY Air Return Vent Cover and Command Center Wall

If you want more ideas for ways to “pretty up” the eyesores in your home, you can see a big list here.

And if you want to save this post for later, you can pin it here:

DIY Air Return Vent Cover and How to Improve Your Home's Air Quality

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  1. I have a very large (22.5” x 43”). I’ve looked on Amazon but can’t find a large enough size of sheet metal. Any other ideas of where to look?

  2. Will you tell us more about where to get the items in your new command center? LOVE the planter hanger and the acrylic calendar!

      1. Hello, could you please tell me where the acrylic calendar is from? I read your other post but it was an older white board. Thanks!

  3. Looks amazing!! I live in a house that was built in 1905 that we have remodeled from top to bottom. I know about these smells you talk about!! Can you tell me where you got the hanging planters? It adds so much to that space! Thanks!