How to build a modern DIY vent hood

September 14, 2020

Hello there! After a long summer slumber, I'm back at it with a bunch of DIY's! If you've read TDC for awhile, you know that I turn into a sloth in the summer. I try to fight it but it's something that happens every year. I slow down and love it. :)

The second the temps start to cool down a bit I'm back at it with tons of ideas and projects! This DIY vent hood is an update I've been planning for a long time. 

We had a metal vent hood that came standard with our kitchen. I considered a wood vent hood when we built, but I wanted to see how we liked this for awhile: 

That kitchen had more of a farmhouse feel and that design fit in perfectly! 

Over time I was missing that added custom touch in our current kitchen. There's no wrong or right here -- the metal vent hood looked great! But I knew I could add some character with this project. 

I had a design in mind that was a little more modern. I also had an idea that would allow me to build the whole thing without drilling into the tile backsplash. (In case we ever need/want to take it down.) These kinds of projects are so fun for me -- it's like putting a puzzle together as I go!

My plan called for removing all of the trim and crown on the sides of the cabinets: 

I took those off and when I went to remove the crown I hit a hiccup I'll tell you about in a minute. 

I cut down two matching pieces of wood that would become the sides of the vent hood. At the top I nailed in a 1x2 that I was going to use to secure these pieces into the ceiling: 

As you can see, I left some space (the thickness of the boards I was using) at the front of each piece. More on that in a minute!

The crown came down fairly easily, and I started to work on the small trim underneath. It was then that I realized that the trim was installed before the cabinets -- it looked like the molding and cabinets were installed from the top down. Waa waaaaa

This threw my plan out the window, so I had to come up with a new way to do this:

I was determined not to drill into the tile or grout. If you don't have tile or don't mind drilling into it, you could use a 1x2 in the wall and attach everything to that.     

You can see in that photo above that I ended up securing the board into the side of the cabinets, but down further than I originally planned (I had to cut the length a bit). Not a big deal, but I really wanted to have these secured into the ceiling as well. 

This hood isn't heavy -- I used thin boards to build the whole thing. Cabinets are made to hold a great deal of weight, so even if this whole thing was attached to just the cabinets, it would have been fine. I just wanted it to be as secure as possible and I'll share how I did that below! 

This is where my nerd tendencies come out. 😜 I kind of like figuring out solutions when I hit an issue. Next I added more 1x2s to the bottom and the front -- notice on the front I made sure to leave a gap (like I did at the top) for the front piece to fit in perfectly: 

I did this so I didn't have an unfinished edge showing on the sides of the hood. Normally that wouldn't be a big deal because I'd cover them with trim, but because our cabinet doors are so close, that wasn't an option. (The doors wouldn't open if I added trim.) 

It was helpful that I wanted this to have a slightly more modern design. It allowed me to build a box, which is way easier than what we had at the old house. 

I was thinking ahead to continue the crown around the top (by coping the molding to match up against the current crown). So I added a bit of wood at the top that the crown could be nailed into: 

That plan changed later, but that extra 1x2 was still helpful support. 

I did this on both sides and then started the supports across the front: 

You can see here how I created a way to make this extremely secure. I screwed a board into the ceiling beams above. The front was later attached to that, so this thing isn't going anywhere. (I used a level to figure out the placement so the front panel would fit perfectly against it.) 

If you are using thicker wood for your box, you may not need as many supports across the front. I was going as light as possible and only using quarter-inch thick luan for the front and that can get wobbly. 

I attached the front piece, nailing it into the sides (the 1x2's I showed you earlier), the supports across the front and the header piece:

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I made sure that the side pieces came out enough that we could still reach inside to hit the buttons on the front of the vent. I used a vent with the buttons on the bottom at our old house.

I was left with an opening on the sides that I planned to add crown to: 

But as I was finishing it all up, we realized we liked the simple design without the crown a lot. 

So I ended up pulling this tool out: 

It's called a contour gauge and I used it our mud room to install shiplap around our window trim. You place it against whatever you're trying to match and then trace the shape onto your wood. I used a jigsaw to cut the trim to match. I share the result below! 

It's never perfect, but I've told you a million times that caulk covers a multitude of sins. ;) 

I used some scrap luan as a header across the top and then started adding my trim on the front with wide lattice pieces from Menard's: 

Then the finishing touches of filling holes, sanding those down and caulking: 

I started painting it white to match the cabinets, but wasn't quite feeling it. I color matched our cabinets last year when I added the cabinet "feet" and DIY light rails to our cabinets, but unless I sprayed the hood, I knew the finish wasn't going to match perfectly. 

I'm a lover of contrast, so I was being pulled to making the hood the same color as the island. I knew instantly it was the right move! 

We absolutely love how it turned out!!: 

It makes the kitchen feel more custom and adds the character I was hoping for: 

Here's a view of how the sides look after using the contour tool: 

The funny thing is, it fits in so well, we barely noticed it almost immediately. It's like it was always meant to be this way! 

I shared this exact view a couple weeks ago when I showed you how I use trays for fall decor!: 

Our hood vents to the outside and the intake vents are on the bottom. Make sure to look into those details if you attempt this project! 

Here's the color formula for this gray color: 

I spent about $70 in wood to do this project -- I used some scrap but had to buy most of it. Remember you can have your wood sheets cut down at the hardware store if you need help with that part. 

I'm already excited about having the perfect spot for a Christmas wreath. ;) 

Have you added a vent hood in your kitchen? You can see how we did the more traditional vent hood design at our last house if that fits in better with your home. 

If I missed anything you're wondering about, or if you have any questions, please let me know! 

You can shop the items in this post below: 

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  1. This looks FANTASTIC!! I love it. The looks is custom and modern and I really love the color tie in with the island. It really makes the kitchen.

  2. This looks FANTASTIC!! I love it. It really makes the kitchen. And I love how you tied in the island color. Great job!

  3. What a great idea. I thought of doing something similar but I have the buttons in the front like you and thought it would be too hard to use with it being covered.

  4. Yay, you're back!!! It looks great!

  5. It looks great, but what about being flame resistant? I was watching a reno show on HGTV last weekend where they wanted to build one, but the contractor said it had to be fireproof. They ended up using cement board.

    1. It’s so high above the stovetop it’s not an issue. I’ve never seen one made with anything but wood, but that’s a good idea! I’m guessing it would just be wrapped with that. I used cement board for our backsplash in the picture of our old home above.

  6. Oh, it looks so good! The hood became the focal point of the kitchen! ❤️✨

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

  7. Looks FABULOUS!!!! Love a island and hood vent in different colors than cabinets. I do this all the time. I am so sorry I didn't see this when we added a matching grey with black glaze hood in place of our stainless vent hood that is just like yours. I personally HATE with a passion those stainless hoods. Love the design you did. Just to make you feel good on the $70 cost and make me sooo mad at myself, I spent $5000 buying a wood vent hood to match the island grey color, then $1000 for new vent to fit it plus construction labor. I could cry over the insanity of spending that money but it looks awesome. Next time I am giving your design idea a try and reusing that ugly stainless hood underneath and save myself $7000.For that money I can try and get a matching wood stain and avoid spending so much. Great job, just love it! Also like that is doesn't have the matching crown, that makes it unique.

  8. Hi Sarah, I have gotten so many great ideas from you and you just added to my list. My husband and I were trying to figure out how we can make a hood like yours but our microwave is in the way. I purchased a front door rug and hall runner like the one in your family room. We love it and today I noticed a similar one in your kitchen. Is it the same color as the family room rug? If not would you share the color name please? Thanks for helping me decorate our home

  9. Thanks for all the great ideas and virtually decorating our home. We purchased the rug ( entrance and hallway runner), you have in your family room and noticed a similar runner in your kitchen. Is it the same color and if not, would you share that with me. Thanks for being such a great resource.

    1. Thank you Liz! Yes, it's the same one! This one isn't quite as vibrant as the family room rug, but it's the same design.

    2. Thank you, Sarah. I really like the ones we have so I’ll give it a try.

  10. Wondering how you access the buttons on your original hood?
    Love the paint color.

    1. I left enough room at the front so we can reach them. :)

    2. I’m planning to do this exact thing. Spent time drawing out plans last night, wish I had seen this earlier!! Now I can show my husband that it will work!😜❤️

  11. Hi! Found this project on Pinterest because we are looking to do the same thing. How is the access to the buttons working out for you? Does it get greasy up in that space? I want to do it the way you’ve done yours to save money but hubby insists I won’t be happy with the space under there and having to search for the buttons:)
    Now that you’ve used it for a while what do you think?

    1. It works great! It doesn't get greasy up there -- but if it did we can still reach to wipe it down. We only have a few buttons so it's easy to reach in and turn it on. :)

  12. Hello ! I love this ! I found this because I’m looking to do this in my home. Two questions how wide is the hood vent ? & how tall are your ceilings ? My buttons are on the side any idea how to get around this ?

    1. Our ceilings are nine feet tall. It's about three feet across -- you'd have to leave a bit more of a gap along the side, which wouldn't be a bad thing at all!

  13. I found your post as I was googling hood covers to show to my contractor. My main question is how easily can you take the hood out/take the cover down with minimal damage if anything happens to the hood? I can't imagine destroying the cover and the wall around it for a hood repair/replacement. Thank you!

    1. Sorry I missed this! I made it so I can just take the front panel off if needed. It would be some work but could be reattached fairly easily.

  14. Hi! This is so beautiful! Is your vent 30 inches or 36 inches? I’m trying to visualize his for my kitchen thanks!

  15. Hi! I'm shopping for a vent and plan to add a hood. I'm wondering if you find it inconvenient to have the buttons on the front of the vent instead of the bottom? Since the hood sort of covers them? Thank you!

    1. If I could do it over, I'd pick one with them on the bottom, but it hasn't been a big deal! We only have four buttons -- power and then three for the vent levels.


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