Air Registers and other equally boring topics

Hey hey hey my friends! Sometimes when you buy a home that needs updating, you find yourself spending money and time on really boring stuff. It’s kind of depressing really. I just dropped about $150 on air registers. Yes, you heard me – air registers. Does anyone even know what those are? It’s always a delight when you have to drop a wad of cash on something for your house that will impress no one. (Well, I’ll admit, I guess I am just a tad impressed. My ceilings are looking a lot more cohesive now.)

(new air register)

Okay, so air registers. What are they? They are those vent looking rectangles in either your ceiling or your floor that direct your central air into your room. Your cold air magically blows from them.

Our whole house came with plastic ones. Some of them were broken, all of them were grimy. Here is one of the old ones:

(old air register)

Yes, I could have lived with them, maybe spent hours washing them all in a bathtub, then putting them back up… but like I said, some were broken, none of them worked well, and they were plastic and cheap.

So I replaced them. Well, I am currently replacing them. As each ceiling gets a fresh coat of paint, the old register comes down, and the new one goes up (don’t worry, all those old ones are donated to Habitat for Humanity, so it isn’t a total loss).

Here are all my brand new, metal, inconspicuous air registers waiting patiently for their new permeant homes above our heads.

Here’s the thing about air registers, and other flush-mount fixtures on your ceiling such as recessed can lights or in-wall speakers, you don’t want people to walk in your house and notice them. If people walk in your house and the first thing they notice are all the fixtures on your ceiling, that in not really a plus. A good air register will quietly do its job in the background without calling attention to itself.

(This ceiling fan is getting replaced eventually)

The old registers were bulky and noticeable. Aesthetically, by replacing them with these metal ones, now no one notices them. It’s kinda sad to spend so much money on something that isn’t the star of the room, but if your registers are the star of the room, you need new registers. 🙂

Okay, so basically I’m creating an entire blog post about air registers. Don’t fret though, I do have one really amazing tip for you today that will blow your mind:

TIP: Fid a socket that will fit around the screw head for your air register. Attach it to your electric drill to make installation a breeze.

We initially tried to install each register using a flat head screwdriver. Total fail. Just take my word for it and find the right sized socket that will fit your screw head.

In addition to replacing the air registers, we also replaced the covers for the can lights and we painted the ceiling the same as the wall color.

Initially we started painting all the ceilings white (I’m usually a fan of white ceilings), but the rooms just seemed so cold and dated, so we sucked it up and painted them a second time with our wall color – Stucco by Sherwin Williams. This has really made the rooms more homey and warm and also given them a more current vibe. I kinda feel like I’m in a model home now.

Here’s our dining room ceiling with its fresh coat of paint and new air register.

And our kitchen ceiling with its two new registers and 9 new can lights. We are still in indecisive mode about which fixtures to buy to hang over the island. Well, I know which ones I want, but they are $700 each, so that isn’t going to work! Just consider the kitchen a work in progress. Baby steps.

Our hall bath got two new registers and the same paint color on the walls and ceiling – Stucco by Sherwin Williams. It also got some new beadboard and hooks that you can read about over on True Value’s blog.

I know these types of things aren’t fun, but they are necessary to give your home an updated look and feel.

What have your had to buy for your home lately that was necessary, but was just depressing to spend so much money on? I’m really grateful we don’t need a new air conditioning system or roof! Those are killers. We do desperately need all new windows (ours are single pane and you can feel the cold air rushing in when you are next to them) which will be a huge expense. They are very needed but I’d rather buy something fun like a new couch!

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  1. We are putting some money and time into replacing the light switches and electrical outlets in our house. Going from a yellowed almond to bright white. Makes a big difference.

    • I agree with you. Spending money on light switch and outlets plus covers is a pain but it definitely makes a big difference.

    • That makes a huge difference. Our previous ones were white, but have been yellowed because they aren’t bright white anymore. We’ve been replacing them and they are easy but tedious.

  2. soooo….. what is an air register? haha. My house doesn’t have any of these.

  3. We replaced all the windows in our home on a budget. We bought them (and picked them up) directly from the manufactureer, who just happens to be located near us- then my husband and his brother put them all in themselves- including a 10′ window! Ask around, maybe you’re lucky enough to know someone who could help install them. They aren’t hard (from what I saw!), and they did the whole house in 2 days.

    • Good to know! Unfortunately my husband is not super handy, so I’d be the one having to drive that and I just don’t want to deal with it. UGH. We are going to get a minimum of 3 quotes though so hopefully we’ll find somewhere that won’t charge an arm and a leg for installation.
      Any tips for double pane vs. triple pane? The triple are much more expensive, but are they really worth it?

  4. I was just telling my hubby yesterday that we need to get working on our ceilings soon. The only problem is that they are all covered in that popcorn crap. 2,000 sq ft of it. Blech. God give me the strength to start with even one room.

    • Scraping popcorn isn’t that bad unless it’s been painted. We scraped one of our previous homes and it was easy but messy. Make sure you cover everything because the dust gets everywhere!

  5. I am a fan of painting the ceilings the same color as the wall, especially since I don’t have high ceilings. Thanks again for posting about the “ordinary” things that many don’t think about. Love how you keep it real and relevant. So glad you decided to stay.

    • Thanks Karen! Updating a home can be boring, but I figure I may as well share the good, bad, and ugly so you can gauge what you might be getting yourself into as well.

  6. Can I say it’s the “boring” stuff that keeps me coming back to your blog! Yes, it might not be a sexy room overhaul, but often these “little things” are what can make a big difference in a room. We just spent $265 on an electrician fixing the ceiling light in one of our bedrooms. He then mounted a bulb in the ceiling. It looks terrible. But to be able to have a ceiling light in that room is fantastic!

    And I’ve been contemplating getting a new wall register for our furnace inlet… I might just do that now. 🙂

    • It seems like more money goes towards the not fun things than anything else. Sometimes I wish I had just bought a brand new house so all my extra money could go towards the fun stuff.

  7. You hit the nail on the head!
    We recently replaced all of the windows in our home (in December) and that was NOT where I wanted to spend $5000. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Ya, I’m dreading it being around $5,000. We have to do it though, and soon. Not only does the cold air just pour in, whenever it rains and is cold outside, our windows basically “rain” inside the house due to condensation. It is ruining our sills, and in some cases has spilled over the sill and onto the floor. I’m a little over it.

  8. Where did you buy your air registers? I need to change mine too. We have popcorn ceilings, just scraped the popcorn off, need to paint and put in new registers. It will be great if you could let me know!

    • Most registers you can buy at your local hardware store. I’ve found them at True Value, Home Depot, and Lowes. Just take your old one with you so you buy the right size. To find the correct size, use the measurement of the hole in your ceiling, not the outer measurement of your old register. I learned that the hard way and had to return some and get a smaller size.

  9. only you can make air registers fun to read about. I’m so glad you blog. : )

  10. Hey this is exactly what I am looking to doing. Can you tell me where you found your best price on the air registers ?? I am looking to ordering mine soon.

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