Update your vent covers with spray paint!

If you have vent covers that look like this in your house, I have the perfect, almost no-cost solution for you! 🙂  That will make people think you bought brand new vent covers.

How to update your vents for cheap with spray paint

I actually did this project quite a while ago, but haven’t it shared it here.  I was mostly frustrated with this one vent cover in the kitchen that had definitely seen better days.  We had new tile put in, but this vent cover was disgusting.  The finish was chipping off and it was rusty on the side.  I honestly thought I was going to have to replace it.  But I figured I could try some spray paint first just to see if it solved the problem.

before vent cover

So I removed all the floor vent covers from the bottom level of the house, scrubbed the dust and grime off in the sink, and let them dry.

Then I took them outside to begin spray painting.  (I was also in the process of spray painting this light fixture that I installed in our entryway.)  I did several light coats of Krylon Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint from all angles.  It covered the vent covers beautifully!


While they were drying, I took the opportunity to vacuum out all the vents!  Yuck!  I think these hadn’t been cleaned out since the house was built!

clean out the vents

So now for some before and after pictures! Smile  You honestly cannot tell that these vent covers are NOT brand new.  And I did this over a year ago and they are all still holding up great – no chips, nothing, even with vacuuming and mopping around them frequently.

Remember that nasty vent cover in the kitchen?

before vent cover

Here’s the after!  Soooo much better!

kitchen vent after

And here’s the rest of the vent covers downstairs…

Dining room vent cover – before and after.updated dining room vent

Kitchen vent cover #2 – before and after.

updated kitchen vent 2

Living room vent cover #1 – before and after.

updated living room vent 1

Living room vent cover #2 – before and after.    So much better!  Even Casper agrees Smile

updated living room vent 2

So if you are looking to do some simple upgrades – clean off those vent covers and give them a coat of spray paint!  This is a great upgrade project to do if you are planning on selling your home too to make it more appealing to buyers.

Do you have some vent covers who could need some updating?   Or have you ever spray painted your vent covers?


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  1. Heather C. says:

    Great transformation and so easy (outside of the elbow grease to clean them!). All our vents are in the ceiling and/or upper walls, so they don’t wear out easily; but I am looking at spray painting all my kitchen cabinet knobs sometime soon. I want to do a test run on one of the ones that’s used every day to see how the spray paint holds up over time.

  2. I am really impressed at how well those turned out. Some of mine on the ceiling could use a little paint!
    sherry hart recently posted..SCOTT’SMy Profile

  3. This is exactly what I’ve been needing! Thanks for the help 🙂

  4. wanted to share …first time i have posted on a pin. THIS WORKED FABULOUSLY! I have had good intention for the last 3 years of replacing my vents…but forget to measure etc. etc. and then when in hardware store am at a loss as to what size and how many…so, last week i bought a can of rustoleum hammerer bronze and sprayed away….WHAT A GREAT IDEA…look better than brand new ones….would recommend this to everyone to try before buying new vents…THANK YOU!

  5. Can I ask what kind of spray paint you used??

  6. Did yhe spray paint not make the hinge turner thing stick in one position?

  7. Jennifer W says:

    Such a great idea! I just did all of mine downstairs and am very happy with them!

  8. I couldn’t bring myself to paint our covers, but I did replace them! There are some cool choices out there …

  9. Did you have to sand the covers before painting?

  10. I also did my switch plates and outlet covers in funky vibrant colors for the kids rooms. After getting sticker shock when I saw the price of the new ones.

  11. Lorie Brinkley says:

    I sprayed the vent covers that were in the girl’s bathroom less than 6 months ago and they are already looking bad. I also did the doorknob into their bathroom. I think its because they are leaving wet towels on the floor over the vent maybe and getting wet hands all over the knob? I didn’t use the cheapest spray paint but maybe I need to use something better

  12. I sand mine lightly then put in dishwasher before spray painting. And then use a paint color close to the color of tile or carpet the vent rests in.

  13. I do this too BUT I have a cat you need to block the holes in the floor until you are done my cat
    tried to get in thank goodness I caught him I have bigger vent too but be careful
    I seen in your phone you have a cat too just be careful

  14. Unfortunately, just vacuuming the top part of your air ducts isn’t enough trash and debris can go all the way down into your trunk line. If you are in the Chattanooga, TN area- we can help… or hopefully you can get a professional air duct cleaning service come give your ducts a good cleaning. Check us out at http://www.healthyhomenow.com.
    Missy recently posted..DIY Pancake SyrupMy Profile

  15. I have been dying to spray paint the vent covers in my kitchen and bathroom on the 1st floor – they are showing the most wear – but I wasn’t sure it was a good idea. I am so happy to have run across this post because now I know the spray paint will last. This will definitely be added to my list of projects – thank you!!!

  16. Did you use heat resistant spray paint? My husband is convinced I can’t use regular already paint, that when we turn on our heater in the winter that the paint won’t hold

  17. Came across your site when I was stumbling around the web today and went right out to buy some spray paint! My vent covers looked like the originals from the 50s and were rusty and peeling and really dirty. After a good scrub and dry, I sprayed on 3-4 coats of rustoleum metallics in oil rubbed bronze and they turned out fabulous! I just can’t get over how easy it was to do and how good they turned out! Thank you so much for this awesome idea!

  18. What does oil rubbed paint mean? And what works good on pots for plants indoors and outdoors. Cause my paint keeps chipping off.


  19. Melissa says:

    I read your post a while back and I have finally found some downtime to paint my vents. They look awesome! A little elbow grease and Ta Da, they look good as new! Thank you so much for all the info 🙂

  20. We are getting ready to sell our house and we are doing a lot of upgrades. It’s getting expensive, fast. I want to do this with all of our vent covers but I’m skeptical. How do you keep the spray paint from getting on the wheel that closes the flaps inside the vent cover? I assume that it would dry on it and make it impossible to close the vent.

  21. Yes after reviewing the cost of new decorative vents I sprayed ours age copper. Looks great against our wooden floors

    Also the basic vents tend to allow better airflow than the decorative vents.

  22. Kay Gregston says:

    Looks great! Did you prime them? And/or a top coat sealer? I’m hoping mine will look that great without primer or a top coat!

  23. Michel K Cromwell says:

    I’ve been pricing vent covers and the kind I need aren’t exactly cheap. I’m going to throw my old ones in my dishwasher to get as much off as I can. Mine were painted by a contractor and the color is just GROSS! Plus, the paint it’s chipping off. He didn’t even bother cleaning the vents and just slopped paint over the dust and grime. (I lived out of state at the time, otherwise I would have demanded he fix the vents). Anyway, I love the oil rubbed bronze look, and my floors are a very dark brown wood laminate, so this color will just cause the vents to be pretty invisible. Can’t wait to buy the paint and get started! Thank you for sharing!

  24. Wendy Dillard says:

    Excellent idea! I need to do this to the vents in my house. Thanks for the ideas.

  25. My husband spray painted an air return in our dining room – the upper 3/4’s the wall color and the lower as close as we could get to the wood trim color.
    It isn’t a perfect match, but is much less noticable than the beige it used to be.

  26. Tiffany Jones says:

    How did he keep the mechanics from getting gunked up and stuck? I want to do this to all my vents ( I have 11 to do!) They all look a hot mess like the frugalhomemaker’s 🙂 The only thing that has stopped me is the idea that all the mechanics won’t work anymore 🙁


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