How To Hide Unsightly Outdoor Vents With Repurposed Shutters

Do you have unsightly house vents cramping your outdoor living space style? No matter how pretty you decorate your deck or patio, those vents are still an eyesore. Here's an idea for hiding them with repurposed shutters by building a utility box cover outdoor bar table. Plus I share another idea for repurposed louvered doors for a BBQ grilling station utensil holder that also acts as a heat barrier for vinyl house siding.

Repurposed Shutters Outdoor Utility Box Vent Cover


Outdoor Vent Cover Bar Table plus BBQ Utensil Holder With Repurposed Shutters

I've had these bi-fold doors in the workshop for over two years. I used to use them to display signs and wall art in my tent at outdoor markets as well as to line the walls in my former booth at an antique mall. I'm thrilled to FINALLY have the doors out of the basement workshop and given a useful purpose.

Repurposed Louvered Bifold Shutters Doors

By using louvered doors, the vents still have adequate airflow while being used as a handy piece of furniture. The tall table makes for a handy outdoor beverage bar or BBQ prep table.

DIY Utility Box Vent Cover Outdoor Bar Table

The other idea for the second set of bifold doors is turning them into a BBQ Grilling Station Utensil Holder. You could easily add a handy shelf with metal brackets on it too.

BUT THERE IS ANOTHER PURPOSE FOR THIS BIFOLD BBQ UTENSIL HOLDER. If you have a small deck or patio like ours and the only spot for the BBQ is against the house, the screen acts as a barrier to protect the vinyl siding from melting!

BBQ Grilling Station Utensil Holder From Repurposed Shutters

Both the outdoor vent cover and the grilling station utensil holder are perfect for small outdoor spaces and they are not difficult to make.

Outdoor DIY Projects From Repurposed Shutter Doors

Until recently, we had a large stainless steel four-burner grill with side burners but we never used it because it didn't fit on our deck. Too lazy to walk from the back door, across the deck, and over to the stone patio where it sat, the BBQ hadn't been used in over three years.

Our son and daughter-in-law love to grill but had only a compact BBQ so we asked if they wanted to trade. Their small grill is the perfect size for just the two of us and conveniently fits on the deck beside the door. Since the switch, we've grilled almost every night!

Backyard Patio Ideas For Repurposed Louvered Doors

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of how the BBQ utensil holder was made I should mention that we are self-taught DIYers and not trained professionals. This step-by-step tutorial is based on our building knowledge only. However, if you are a do-it-yourselfer like us, you'll find these steps helpful if you plan on making a version of our bi-fold outdoor vent cover and/or BBQ grilling station.

We'll start with the instructions on how to build the outdoor vent cover.

Repurposed Bifold Door Outdoor Vent Cover Instructions

The goal was to cover the ugly furnace air intake vents and central vacuum exhausts that are an eyesore on our deck. It's only taken us twenty years to cover them. The vent cover is 12-inches deep, enough to hide the vents but not obstruct traffic flow on the deck. The louvers on the doors and the board and batten style slats on the sides allow unobstructed airflow. But the vent cover is portable and stored in a shed during the winter when the furnace is operational.

Step 1 - Cutting the bi-fold door

The longer bottom half of the bi-fold door was the perfect height to cover the vents. We sliced the door on the table saw but don't attempt to cut it in one fell swoop. Either unhinge the doors and cut them each separately OR connect the doors first with metal straight brackets on the back to prevent them from folding.

Outside Vent Cover Repurposed Bifold Door

Building the vent cover sides

We used old cedar 2 x 2 lumber from a previous project for the uprights on the board and baton style sides. First, we attached one on each side of the cut bi-fold door (pictured below).

Helpful Tip

To prevent the narrow uprights from splitting, drill small pilot holes first before attaching them to the door panels with wood screws.

Repurposed Louvered Door Utility Box Vent Cover

We used pine fence boards from a previous project for the side slats. So I didn't have to measure each cut, I made a cutting jig by clamping a piece of lumber on the miter saw table for the board to butt up against for each cut (pictured below).

DIY Outdoor Vent Cover

Starting with the top and bottom slats and followed by the center slat, they were screwed to the backside of the uprights. The remaining slats were spaced evenly in between. Again, drill pilot holes first so the uprights don't split.

Shutter Door Outside Utility Vent Cover

Painting the bifold door vent cover

Once assembled the vent cover was spray-painted with a diluted white solid stain in a 1:4 ratio much the same way as my Quick Way To Stain Adirondack Chairs tutorial.

Repurposed Shutter Outdoor Bar Table

Repurposed Bifold Door Project One - Outdoor Vent Cover Bar Table

Salvaged cedar deck boards were used to make a slated tabletop for the vent cover table with a 1 1/2-inch overhang on three sides. Once cut on the miter saw they were stained Cedar Naturaltone to match our budget-friendly deck restoration.

DIY Backyard Patio Repurposed Shutter Ideas

Once the stain was dry the boards were attached to the vent cover from underneath with metal L-brackets.

No more unsightly house vents and a handy table for drinks, snacks, or condiments when grilling or entertaining outdoors.

DIY Outdoor Bar Table Vent Cover

Next up is the second repurposed bifold door idea.

Repurposed Bifold Door BBQ Grilling Station Utensil Holder Instructions

As I mentioned earlier, the purpose of the bi-fold door BBQ grilling station is both to use as a handy grilling utensil holder AND to act as a barrier between the vinyl house siding and the heat of the BBQ grill.

It was super easy to make simply by adding a stained cedar board to the top of the bifold doors to prevent them from folding, much like we did on our Repurposed Bi-Fold Door Deck Privacy Screen.

Instead of attaching the bi-fold doors to the vinyl house siding, we made wood brackets on the bottom of each side of the doors. You can see one of the brackets in the photo below.

DIY Backyard Patio BBQ Grilling Zone Utensil Holder

The utensils are hanging by S-hooks resting on the louvers. The fun BBQ sign was made several years ago in my pre-blogging days. You can get a good idea of how I made it in my Image Transfer Technique tutorial.

DIY Grilling Utensil Holder From Repurposed Shutter Doors

Other Uses For The Bifold Door BBQ Grilling Utensil Holder

You could use this as a vertical flower pot wall with either metal brackets or wood shelves from top to bottom.

It could also be used as a decorative backdrop for hanging metal garden art. Instead of keeping the bifold doors joined together, you could separate them and have each one flanking a window, like shutters and hang solar fence light sconces on each.

I hope this post inspired you to rethink how old bifold doors can be repurposed for outdoors. A few years ago we salvaged old bifold doors to make a DIY Louvered Door Fence.

If you have any questions about either of these repurposed bifold door projects, please leave them in the comment section below or press the Contact Me button at the top of the blog to drop me an email. I love hearing from you!

If you enjoyed this Outdoor Vent Cover Idea, I'd be so thankful if you shared it with a friend and pinned it to your Outdoor Living ideas or DIY Outdoor Furniture board on Pinterest.


Repurposed Shutter Door Outdoor Utility Box Cover

Repurposed Bi-Fold Door BBQ Utensil Holder

BBQ Grilling Station Utensil Holder

I share my projects at these inspiring link parties.

24 comments

  1. This is so clever! Old bi-fold doors are so useful with a bit of vision.

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    1. Thank you so much, Vanessa! I'm so glad to have those ugly vents hidden plus the addition of a spot to serve snacks or drinks on the deck.

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  2. Hi Marie!
    I love your BBQ station! What a great way to protect your siding and it creates such a nice backdrop for the grill too! And that vent cover is genius - the louvered doors and slatted wood are perfect for ventilation. I'm sure the tabletop space is nice too! It sounds like trading grills worked out great. I hope you've been having a great week!
    >>> Kim

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    1. Thank you so much, Kim! We are so happy with the smaller grill and LOVE the new spot for it on the deck. We feel so fancy having a devoted BBQ station that is both functional and looks good too. Glad you like it! Hope your week has been a good one.

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  3. I love this Marie! I wanted to make something similar but just ended up getting the little cart instead.

    Tania

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  4. Thanks Tania! We feel so fancy having a devoted BBQ station now. LOL

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  5. Marie you never disappoint with your creative re loving of something. This bbq station is awesome.
    Happy Friday.
    Hugs,
    Kris

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    1. Hi Kris, I'm glad you like our BBQ station! It only took us twenty years to cover those unsightly house vents. So glad we can finally grill on the deck without worrying about the house siding melting. We haven't grilled this much in at least three years!

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  6. I really like this project. You wouldn't know they are bi fold doors. This is a great project to make over the weekend.

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    1. It is a great weekend project that will only take an afternoon to build. I'm so glad we switched BBQs with out son and made this BBQ station happen. We haven't grilled this much in at least three years!

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  7. I need one of these to hide my gardening uglies. The extra pots, bags of soil, various tools.....funny how they need a space...but really are an eye sore. This is a great idea for me, too. Thanks so much for sharing this clever upcycle!! Your patio is so lovely....let's have a BBQ... :-) XO

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    1. So happy to hear you found our BBQ station idea helpful to house your gardening supplies. It's so easy peasy to make, you'll have it done in a jiffy. Yes, wouldn't it be fun to enjoy a BBQ and glass of wine together...but I choose your amazing outdoor space. I'll bring the steaks and wine! LOL

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  8. What an awesome upcycle! Thanks so much for sharing with us at the To Grandma's house we go link party. I'll be featuring you Wednesday morning on my blog when the new party starts!

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    1. So glad you like this idea Tarahlynn and thrilled that you'll be featuring it - thank you! xo

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  9. You my friend are a life saver. Seriously!!! We have a beautiful little holiday home down at the coast but it was built in the 1940s and all the pipes and yucky stuff that normally get hidden in modern homes are such an eye sore. Brilliant idea and so functional too.

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    1. Woot woot, so glad you like this idea for hiding them, Michelle! Ours was built in the 60s but normally vents are placed at the side of a house but ours, snap dab in the only place suitable for a backyard deck. Wish we had thought of this years ago.

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  10. This is such great idea! I have been saving ideas for dressing up my ugly wall. Pinned.

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    1. Awesome Cherryl, I'm glad you like this idea and thank you for the pin!

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  11. Wow Marie, your patio is just beautiful! Love the use of those shutters, what a lovely way to hide something you don't wanna see!

    I've featured this project in this weekend's DIY Salvaged Junk Projects 527. Thanks for linking this up!

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    1. Thank you so much, Donna, we do love spending many hours out here during the summer. Thank you so much for featuring our vent cover table, it is much appreciated! Happy Victoria Day and hope your weather is much better than the rain we're having today.

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  12. Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Please stay safe and healthy. Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
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  13. I am loving this idea Marie! So smart AND pretty! Thank you for sharing at Charming Homes and Gardens Party! Pinned!

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    1. Thank you very much, Kim! Appreciate the visit and the pin 😀

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