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How to Hide Pipes, Electricals, Vents & More in the Closet

Plumbing and electricals for a steam shower are hidden in the closet.

Whether it's unsightly pipes and electricals from a steam shower protruding into your walk-in closet or more basic plumbing and HVAC concerns from an attic or basement closet installation, you don't want to see them. Yet, you can't just cover them up either. Everything eventually needs maintenance and you don't want to tear apart your luxury closet or storage system to get to it. Be sure to read these tips on how to hide pipes without losing access mechanical systems before you install your new closet.

Hide Pipes, Vents, and Wires in the Closet

When you are installing your dream closet, the last thing you expect is to have pipes and vents sticking out among your custom cabinets, shelves and closet organizers. But sometimes, it can't be helped. The plumbing and HVAC systems have to run where they have to run. To make matters worse, these systems need periodic maintenance, so you can't just cover them up. The good news is that you can still have a nice organization system without losing access to these essential mechanicals. You just need to measure well and plan ahead.

  1. How to Hide the Steam Shower Mechanicals

    Bathroom with steam shower has hidden plumbing in closet
    This steam shower has all its messy mechanicals hidden in the adjacent walk-in closet. But it won't spoil the look of this closet. The Closet Works designer came to the rescue and hid everything inside a cabinet with hanging space above. This way, the steam unit with all its associated pipes and electrical connections is hidden but still accessible for maintenance.

    Steam showers are increasing in popularity for master bathrooms. It's a luxury item that more and more people are willing to pay for. However, you may be surprised at all the mechanicals associated with this luxury. There's the unit itself, electrical connections and wires, plus all sorts of plumbing pipes. No matter whether your steam unit is part of a new construction project or just a bathroom remodel, your bathroom contractor's favorite place to locate all these associated mechanicals is almost always in your closet. It can be discouraging, especially if you want or already have an elegant master closet/dressing room that you went to great time and expense to design and build.

    Depending on who installed it, it may simply look like a mess of wires and pipes. That doesn't mean it won't work or isn't a good job. It just means you don't want to look at it. Especially not in your expensive master closet. The solution is to hide the steam shower components in a shallow cabinet with a door. This makes the unit easy to maintain or replace in the future while invisible to your everyday goings on.

  2. How to Hide Radiator Pipes & Shutoff

    hide pipes in bedroom closet.
    This attic bedroom/nursery is very small. In fact, there was no room for a closet, so the Closet Works designer recessed the entire storage system into the attic knee wall. This resulted in no loss of square footage in the bedroom while providing space to store baby's things. The radiator pipes and shut-off valve needed to remain accessible. Special cutouts in the back of the closet make this happen.

    Attics and basements can be difficult spaces to work in — especially in older homes. The ceilings are often low and/or oddly shaped. Pipes often crisscross the ceiling, walls and floor. Ideally, you'd like to avoid these spaces for your new closet. But sometimes that simply isn't possible. The best solution in this scenario is to provide access inside the closet so that pipes are hidden but accessible. Proper measuring is essential. If you don't want to have big, oversize gaps where the pipes thread through the closet walls, your measurements must be spot on. Cut-outs for pipes will be near the floor in attic closets and closet to the ceiling/top shelf in basement closets.

  3. How to Hide Heating & Cooling Vents

    Hide HVAC vents in bedroom closet
    This large wardrobe closet covers and entire wall with storage. The owners love all the new storage, but a heating/cooling vent ended up behind the closet. The solution was to install a new vent on the side of the closet so that it wouldn't be blocked. An access panel was installed on the bottom of the closet to ensure the airducts remain completely accessible for cleaning and maintenance.

    One of the best ways to add new closet space to a home with inadequate storage is by building a new wardrobe closet. Custom built-ins look nice, have a furniture-like appeal, and add a lot of storage plus value to a home. They do take up wall space, however. They also are not easily moved after installation. If a wardrobe closet ends up blocking the heating and cooling system, a new vent should be cut in an unobtrusive spot in the closet panel and the vent re-routed to the new location. A clean-out access panel at the location of the original vent is also necessary so that duct cleaning remains viable. Use the same material as the rest of the closet to create your access panel. Simple screws can hold it in place.

  4. How to Hide Electrical Equipment

    Custom cover in closet hides electrical components
    A custom cover was constructed at the back of this closet cabinet to hide the electrical equipment used in the closet lighting system.

    There's nothing like a well-designed LED closet lighting system to turn an ordinary storage system into a work of art. Everything from undershelf lighting, cabinet lighting, puck lights, illuminated display or shoe shelves, and lighting above the crown mounding or under a glass countertop has found its way into the modern closet. LED closet light systems are usually low voltage, however. That means transformers as well as a myriad of wires and controls for zones or scenes. There are different ways to hide the low voltage electrical components. The simplest solution is to simply lay them on top of the closet system hidden by a piece of crown moulding. If the electricals need service, simply remove the crown for complete access. However, not all closets have high enough ceilings that allow for this. Or the owner may want to use the top of the closet for storage. In this case, build a 2-sided cover to slip over the transformers and wires. If you snug it up to the top of the closet, no one will notice it and the shelf can still be used for storage without having to worry about disconnecting or damaging wires. Alternately, in a floor-based closet system, the bottom closet shelf can be constructed with an access panel to cover all the lighting components that are neatly arranged under it on the bedroom floor.

  5. How to Hide the Sink Waste Line with Drawers

    cabinet drawer is cut around the plumbing pipes
    This laundry sink isn't covered by the traditional cabinet door. The owner wanted drawers under the sink. He also insisted on maximum storage. That meant no short drawers. All three drawers fit around the pipes and still open and close smoothly. This laundry room also contained a big support column that holds up the upper floors of the house. It was disguised behind a false back in the tall cabinet that sits between the washer and dryer.

    Not all closets are in the bedroom. If you have a laundry or mudroom closet, chances are you may also have a sink and drain that needs to be hidden. Traditionally, most homeowners will install a door to cover their sink cabinet. This is easiest. However, some owners prefer drawers. Drawers designed to fit around pipes can be tricky. Be sure to take exact measurements before cutting access holes in the back and bottom of your drawers to fit around the pipe. Remember, you can always make the hole bigger but never smaller after it is cut. Depending on what type of plumbing is under the sink, each drawer may require a different size cut-out. You will also need to add drawer box sides around the cut-out to prevent the contents of the drawer from shifting and falling through the hole when the drawer is opened or closed.

Got some great ideas on how to hide pipes and other mechanicals in a closet?

Obstacles like pipes, shut-off valves, vents, and wires can spoil the look of your new closet if left out in the open. Conversely, covering them up so that you can never get at them without removing the closet can be just as bad. Use these tricks of the trade to hide your mechanical systems without losing access for maintenance. The results just might surprise you! The right covers can make all the difference in achieving the closet of your dreams.