How to Hide a Furnace & Hot Water Heater

Gryphon Adams

As much as the comfort of the home relies on the furnace and water heater, when it comes to visual presentation, these powerful appliances detract from the look of any area of the home.

With a minor investment in deliberate camouflage, you can hide the furnace and hot water heater effectively without the need for any construction. With a few key decorative pieces, you alter the room that houses the appliances to transform it in about an hour.

  1. Read the warnings on the furnace and hot water heater regarding the required clearance for flammable objects. It may be two to four feet. This will affect the measurements and positioning of the screens to hide them.

  2. Run a tape measure from one side of the area with the furnace and hot water heater to the other at the required distance for fire safety. Write down the measurement. If there are unsightly pipes above the furnace and water heater, measure from the floor to the optimum height for the screen. Have an assistant help hold the tape measure and check the height from different vantage points in the room.

  3. Select screens wider than the area to cover, as room screens are most stable when the panels are angled, which reduces their width. Placing two screens end to end adds dimension and completely covers the area, in most cases.

  4. Arrange potted plants, statues or other decorative items in front of the room screens to create a new focal point in the room. This gives the screens the appearance of an intentional backdrop, rather than calling attention to their function in hiding something.

  5. Tip

    For a completely flat screen to save space, buy stands designed to hold shoji panels as room dividers. Screens painted with scenes add a decorative quality to the room, as well as visual depth.


    Comply with all furnace and water heater warnings and safety requirement.

    Check that the screens and decorative items don't restrict access to the furnace and hot water heater. Make sure someone could reach them in an emergency without having to move anything.