- You don't need a lot of skill to block out unsightly details—just some creativity.
- Use accessories and decor that you already own.
- Take a few hours to identify and obscure the messes you want to banish.
If you’ve ever lived in an older building, you’ve probably been saddled with a large, unsightly heater. I was once in a small flat with a hulking, grate-covered radiator that dominated the living room. It didn’t help that it was prone to belching what I could only imagine was decades’ worth of dust accumulated from previous occupants—a literal blast from the bast.
Thankfully, living in balmy Los Angeles, we didn’t need its services often. Even after I spray-painted the front cover with heat-resistant paint to match the surrounding walls, the unit remained an aesthetic offense—that is, until I found a large, framed mirror that slid perfectly and securely over the heater. Similarly, I’d later use a small artwork to obscure the sickly yellow thermostat in the hallway. In other words, if you can’t remove it, cover it.
While I may no longer have to worry about that dreaded heater, my attention these days is directed at disguising the mess of modernity: a large fiber internet modem, wireless router and switch, a collection of smart home devices, and the viper’s den of cables that come along with them. We’ve already talked about cord management using outlet boxes, raceways, and other home office solutions. In the living room, however, it’s easier to camouflage the eyesore—perhaps behind a phalanx of plants and planters. Or, maybe it’s time to invest in a well placed mirror again.
Cover illustration by Mar Hernández