How to Get Your Outdoor Air Conditioner to Stop Looking So Ugly

I don't know about everyone else, but I often look at obsolete items and imagine the dismantled pieces, while trying to imagine ways to repurpose them for something greater.

We love to renovate. Unfortunately, the tools and materials needed to make a project look beautiful aren’t always easily available... or they don't easily fit into our budget.

To most, an air conditioner at the side of their house doesn't "look that bad", but I hope this article will leave you inspired enough to screw the norm and set your own standards, for more beautiful backyards everywhere!

Finding DIY projects to make your home look more inviting and cozy can be a fun and endearing experience, and much less irksome if you know where to find inspiration.

We hope that we will help you find your inspiration by presenting an array of outdoor air conditioner-related projects we love. If you find your source of inspiration then you can start harvesting your unique materials for your project as of today!

Using Google, our Smart Home Works pinterest account and some basic know-how, my aim is to help people get inspired to turn eyesores into opportunities for fun projects, while keeping in mind that recycling and repurposing old inanimate objects is awesome and beneficial to our planet!

DIY can be liberating and fun because there are few to no rules to follow, you can let your work break free from any moulds. Practically anyone can hone their own ingenuity using easily accessible tools and materials, such as household items, old furniture and other materials that could otherwise end up in a landfill.

Here are some great "building blocks" we found kicking around, which you can easily obtain and re-purpose to help deck out your home's outdoor air conditioning unit:

diy covers for air conditioning unit screen


To help your construction efforts, we recommend having the following tools and materials handy:

  • Nails and a hammer - The bare necessities.
  • Power drill, drill bits and screws, if you are more experienced
  • Repurposed wood or other weather-resistant material (we encourage you to take your time and savour the hunt while you look for these)
  • A saw for cutting smaller pieces of wood / sticks to size


  • Also, we highly recommend USING A LEVEL.



    Get creative with your materials, some suggestions off the top of my head include:

    • Repurpose a bed's headboard and slats
    • Disassemble and repurpose retired shelving, drawers, chests
    • Unused construction skids can be taken apart and weatherproofed
    • Replacing your dinner table, bedside tables or an old desk? Inspect what you have before disassembling it to ensure you'll have a suitable amount of material to work with
    • Old bricks, tiles, or blocks (tiles can be bonded to inexpensive plywood, whilst bricks can simply be stacked
    • Old wooden fencing
    • Old skateboard decks
    • Old posts (or other hollow items) filled with sand
    • Old metal fencing can provide great ventilation and holes for plants to hang on
    • Out of style items such as picture frames, house lamp posts, old window fixtures, doors and more can be painted / stained and reused for your new project... Just make sure to plan ahead as much as possible
    • Bifolding closet doors
    • Hinges from retired doors, chests and cabinets can be useful for corners, especially if your new air conditioner cover is going to be freestanding (imagine a mini privacy screen for your a/c)
    • Old cabinets, along with their hinges are often given away for free, online. Obstacles such as holes left by Old door handles and screw holes can be covered up with your choice of any decorative item - again, be creative and don't rush your project... production delays won't really make any difference to anyone outside of the confinements of your "workshop".

    Some tips we can provide include using 4 sturdy corner posts... You can use a shovel or posthole digger for this. Alternatively it can be freestanding, such as a privacy screen.

    I wanted to write this article after I realized that two sets of bed slats from an old Ikea bed we no longer needed for our bedroom could easily be repurposed to make our A/C look more attractive. I got started working on this project on our balcony by measuring the center points for each of the slats and using the measurements to mark out evenly spaced pencil marks on our four corner posts, which we sourced from a side table's legs, which I had set aside for future use on a project such as this. 

    Once I planned out where the slats would go, I carefully hammered them into place with some nails, paying special attention to the guides i laid out. Once each slat was nailed in place, I used my level to ensure that it was nailed at a 90 degree angle against the wooden legs. I also applied some outdoor-grade wood stain to the slats and legs so as to prevent our new air conditioner screen / cover from rotting away, and to make the wood-colour of the slats look similar to the table legs'.

    I opted to make the screen immobile, so the wind wouldn't blow it down... Once the snow melted, I dug four shallow 4in x 4in holes, for our corner posts to stay put in. Once the structure was set in place, I filled the holes in with grout some grout, covered with grass. Although the screen looks quite plain, it should take well to some added flair, once we stumble on materials that we will deem suitable.

    Your air conditioner screen may be fabricated using boards from an old fence or suitable parts from different types of furniture instead of the bed slats, the choices are practically endless. I really wanted to avoid having to saw any wood, so I opted to use the bed slats, as they were virtually perfect in terms of their length, in relation to the height of the outdoor air conditioning unit in our side yard. With a bit of weather resistant wood stain, you will likely have a good time completing a similar project on your own, with great results in the end.

    Keep in mind you can always check your local online listings for old fences, construction skids,  storage units, wooden chests, drawers, cabinets etc and take 'em apart at home... remember to enjoy the process of finding great materials as there is a lot out there and you never know when you may come across some materials you will think are extra desirable.

    diy materials to make a cover for your air conditioner

    I don't want to get into anymore detail, I'll just add that you should at least consider how you want your new A/C cover to surround your furnace IE if you want it to stay in place, you'll require a spade, grout / concrete and a level. You will likely want to measure the distances between the corner posts to guide you on where you will dig. If you don't want to go all out and dig, a "privacy screen" type installment may be a good option for you, as it can stand on its own.. I look forward to making a free-standing a/c cover, similar to a bifold door, using wood from an antique chest, along with its hinges. I will definitely be keeping my eyes on any local kijiji and bunz listings for nice new materials.

    You should keep in mind that your air conditioner will need plenty of air circulation, so make sure there are enough gaps / holes to allow for ample air flow. 

    We would love to see any similar projects you have on the go, as well as any completed A/C screens that are currently deployed in your yards!

    Contact Smart Home Works for any of your HVAC related concerns on the web

    Thanks for reading!