How to hide unsightly pipes in the home

Got some pipework that’s a bit of an eyesore? Here’s how to make it less conspicuous.

Many of us put a lot of love into perfecting our homes, so it can be frustrating when the effect is ruined by things like visible pipes. However, with a few tools and a little imagination they can also become a design feature.

[Read more: What to do if your pipes freeze]

Whether you paint them or wrap them, here are a few ways to disguise your pipes, from simply concealing them to turning them into a quirky feature you're proud of.

Paint them

It seems counter intuitive, but accentuating unwanted pipes is sometimes more effective than hiding them away. For example, if you have subtle elements of colour in an otherwise understated room, such as brightly coloured towels in your bathroom, painting your pipes the same shade as the towels can create a design fluidity. Painting pipes can be a tasteful way of adding colour to your interior, and even when it is done to hide unsightly pipes, it can have a transformative effect.

However, before you use emulsion on bare pipes, it is important to take precursory steps to ensure the job is a good one.

First wipe down the pipes to be sure there's no residue that could affect how well the paint takes to them, before painting them with an oil-based base coat, and/or a gloss coat.

Specialist radiator paint, designed to be used on metal and that can withstand heat and moisture is also a good bet.

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Cover them

Plastic and metal covers for pipes are available from hardware shops, and these can be painted, too. They look neat and are often inexpensive, and have the added advantage of being removable should you need to call a plumber, whereas sometimes in order to make repairs, plumbers will be forced to scrape off paint that has been directly applied to pipes.

Pipe boxing is another popular method, where you simply box off the pipes so they are no longer visible.

Small reversible changes

Renting and can’t make permanent changes to your pipes?

This does not have to spell the end of your efforts to transform your pipes. Why not try this quirky Edwin Pelser design, adding copper leaves to soften the look of pipes.

It’s easy to emulate using thin sheet metal, which can be purchased online for less than the price of a cup of coffee.

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Some tenants advocate wrapping colourful yarn around pipes, which is another cheap and accessible way of hiding them, and others claim sticky-back plastic, patterned or otherwise, is the ideal way to temporarily conceal pipes whilst leaving no residue.

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