Showoffs: Exposed Ventilation Ducts

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Image: Murray Mitchell

As those of you who’ve been reading my posts for a while know, I’m a big fan of using unadorned materials in interior décor. I love when design incorporates items that serve a purpose and don’t need to be covered up or disguised. I suppose it’s a deconstructive take on “form follows function”. When I find great examples of this, I can’t wait to share them with all of you. Today, I’m taking a look at exposed ventilation ducts—something I live with every day in my own home.

Old School

Showoffs: Exposed Ventilation Ducts

Image: Decordemon

The first example uses existing ducts and showcases them in an updated environment. This space is a remodeled condo from an apartment building built in the 1960’s. It looks to me like this is the original air conditioning infrastructure—simply released from the previous drywall enclosure. If you’ve got the style chops to make this work, more power to you. I think it’s pure genius.

New School

Showoffs: Exposed Ventilation Ducts

Image: Simply Iley

This is a great example of modern ductwork that has been specifically installed in the space to be shown off. It’s similar to what I have at home, but on a much larger scale. It’s one of several industrial elements used, and it fits seamlessly into the décor. I’m also taken by the exposed copper pipes and what appear to be enormous iron bolts protruding from the ceiling.

Show It All

Showoffs: Exposed Ventilation Ducts

Image: Melissa DiRenzo for Apartment Therapy

Here’s a home where the exposed ventilation ducts are only one of many infrastructure elements left exposed. From the wood and steel support post to the electrical and plumbing work, this is an industrial loft lover’s dream space.

Sleek & Subtle

Showoffs: Exposed Ventilation Ducts

And finally, you see here that exposing ventilation ductwork doesn’t have to be the defining décor item in a space. By mounting the ducts high and matching the color of the surrounding wall and ceiling, this design incorporates the look in a refined way. Even with the slight camouflaging, I’m still a big fan.

What kinds of unadorned elements would you show off in your home?

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Dave Hime, founder/curator of, has been an interior design addict for as long as he can remember. In 2005, he bought a house-in-progress and missed several opportunities to have an influence on his own home decor–leaving him wanting more. With design heroes such as Blake Dollahite ( and Robert & Cortney Novogratz (, Dave began seeking out online resources that would exemplify the interior design practices he's most drawn to: using color, texture and simple materials well. Bringing all of this together, along with his specific focus on providing interior design inspiration from a man's point of view, is Dave's mission: masculine design.