6 Ideas for Hiding Unsightly Support Columns

a large room with tan walls, carpet, and a column in the middle

Basements and other rooms with large open spaces often require support beams to hold the weight of the architecture above it. These columns are usually simple metal poles that run from floor to ceiling. These columns may not be particularly attractive, but they can be decorated, minimized, or incorporated into the room's interior design so that they have little or no impact. Here are some ideas to get the design juices flowing.

1. Decorative Columns

You can buy column wraps from large hardware stores. These wraps include two main pieces of PVC that fit together around the column, as well as extras likes base pieces and caps. This method does not hide the columns, but it gives them a more appealing look.

The most common style is just a box, but they can also be tapered or rounded. Wraps can also be used to line-up multiple columns that are not placed uniformly. You can alternatively build custom column enclosures that match a particular decorative theme.

2. Stylish Seating

Another approach is to simply box the columns then build bench seating around them. Start with a square case for the column, then add seating around it. The island seating effect not only hides the column, but also creates the illusion more space. Use the space beneath the seat cushions for convenient storage.

3. Creative Shelving

Box the column then build shelving on one or more of its sides. The shelves may be low shelves with a cabinet or countertop, or they may be built to run from floor to ceiling. If one side features deep shelving, add a tall mirror to the back face.

Shelving is one of the most popular methods for hiding support columns because it adds storage space to the room. You can even build a shelf and cabinet unit that revolves around the column which it conceals to add a nice flair.

4. Custom Shelving

Consider building a custom bookcase that runs between two columns, or from the column to a wall. By including the column into the bookshelf, it is both removed from sight and moved to a position where it will no longer be a stand-alone obstacle.

5. Room Design

a room with decorative columns

It may not always be possible to hide the column. In a situation where the column cannot be effectively concealed, it can still be used as part of the room décor. Use the faces of the column to hang artwork, tapestries, or mirrors in ornate frames.

Another option is to attach flower pot hangers to the column, or to use the column as a support for running plants. For plants, the structure offers it protection from accidental tipping, which is a fair trade for concealing the unsightly column.

6. Use Furniture

If all else fails, place a piece of large furniture next to the column. A large chair, chaise lounge, or even bed will reduce its impact on the room. Similarly, columns can be used as anchors for lighting and lamps.