Cover unsightly electric panel?

Hi, I will soon be decorating my place and getting ready to list it on Airbnb. One of the bedrooms has the electric panel in a very visible place. Is it okay to cover it with a light canvas print and then list in the house manual where to find the manual? I was thinking I could also put a little laminated sign beside the panel with an arrow pointing to it.

If you’re in the US, it’s against building code to cover an electrical panel. So if you happened to have an inspector come into your house, you might have an issue.

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Why not decorate it instead?
Paint the steel panel door a snazzy geometric design,
and put a beautiful picture frame around it with a nice colored mat.
Or have a mirror cut to size and replace or cover the door with a mirror.
Be creative…there is a way around this.


Can you show me where it specifically says this? I don’t think you can block it with furniture but i thought as long as access was easy it was okay? We have a painting hanging over ours in the kitchen and have it listed in the house manual.

US doesn’t have building codes. States, cities and counties do.


A calendar makes a nice cover – ever changing illustrations. In our listing the panel is in the back of the walk-in closet so we don’t really care.

Not the best photo, I took a screenshot of a photo from my listing on my phone, but that art on the kitchen wall in my 50’s kitchen is covering the breaker box. image


Well, it’s actually the international building code, but most places in the US use it.

Best thing is for the consumer unit to be totally visible and accessible. You don’t want to be faffing with instructions if the lights go out. Mines in the hall and the cupboard is painted the same colour as the wall. What’s wrong with that?

Hmmm, okay thanks. I was looking online about that but wasn’t quite sure.

You aren’t going to be inspected and it’s not dangerous. Just cover it with the canvas artwork and put in the house manual where it’s located. Also if a breaker trips the guests are going to be contacting you anyway. Tons of Airbnb listings have no access to the electric panel. In some it’s in a locked garage, in others it’s in another part of the house.


I’m waiting for someone to show where it says this is not allowed. Everything I read says you just can’t block it with heavy furniture or something that would require someone to use a ladder or special equipment to get to it. Ours is lightweight and can be removed very easily.

Why would the guest need to access it to begin with? Do you have circuits going out often? At my place it is outside, and I lock them so guest cannot turn off the wifi and cameras (modem in locked closet) It is a non issue for me.


For example a guest might douse an iron’s workings with water causing it to trip the RCDs repeatedly. That happened to me last week. Modern consumer units are very sensitive. Then again he didn’t have the intelligence to realise what he’d done anyway. Duh ‘Your iron doesn’t work’, eh no mate the wiring inside is soaked because you put it in the sink and turned the tap on rather than using a jug, and if you notice the fridge freezer and all sockets downstairs have gone off. Let me spend a night and a half’s Airbnb fee on buying a new iron.

Ha! Our building was built in 1959 with original wiring (a few outlets added here and there). No one really has central A/C in this area and not that many have portable units. We added a portable unit for the few nights a year it gets quite warm. Also our unit faces west with huge floor to ceiling windows that face the water, so the sun can really heat it up. Anyway, if the A/C is running in the bedroom, and someone decides to blow dry their hair in there at the same time, it will occasionally blow the circuit. (This has happened once in 2 years but I’m assuming some may have read the listing and not had to call us.) So yes, access is needed.

My partner is an electrician, which is where I got my info. I don’t have time to sit down and read the International Building Code and find that specific info for you, but you’re welcome to Google it. It’s all online.

Obviously, people should do whatever they are comfortable with in their own homes. I just mentioned it because in most places, it’s the law to have the panel accessible. I don’t know how big of an issue it would be if you had it well-labelled but covered with something easily removable. Maybe not a big deal at all. But if someone had an electrical emergency (an outlet shorting out and sparking or something), you want to be able to find that panel fast and not have to fuss around with taking things off the wall to get to it.

I would just paint it a nice color if you don’t like how it stands out.


Yes, meaning you can easily access it. You can’t put a refrigerator or armoire in front of it. Mine has a TV on a articulating swing arm mount in front of it. Hidden, but accessible.

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Yes, accessible, but the definition of accessible woul include an easy to remove piece of art. I wasn’t trying to argue, it’s just that we have multiple LTR properties and want to make sure we aren’t doing or allowing anything illegal.

Well, you would have to check your local code to find that out. Most cities and states use IBC, but they sometimes add variances to it.

I think that’s totally fine in your own home if you are on-site and know where it is. The danger lies in whole-house rentals (I don’t know if the OP is one or not but wanted to cover all bases) where you have guests that aren’t familiar with the house and who shouldn’t have to go searching for the panel if they have an emergency. jmho.

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