Radiating charm: Radiators are hotter than ever – and have become design statements in themselves
They’ve been a necessary burden for years, blighting our homes with their ugly white metal appearance.
But the humble radiator has become far more than simply a valuable source of heat; they’ve become design statements in themselves.
‘Clients are increasingly looking for a style element from their radiators,’ says Andrew Dunning, design director at London Contemporary.
‘People are realising that reintroducing the cast-iron radiators torn out of period properties in the 1970s will add a stylish element to their home.
‘This time around we are doing it with colour; that shocking-pink radiator in your hallway suddenly becomes a talking point.’
Here are some of the hottest choices available this season:
Old school: The Radiator Company Linton radiator in antique brass is available rom £137
Similar to types found in an old school or church building, column radiators now come with modern and stylish finishes. When choosing a design, the chunkier the better.
At Victoria Plum, you can find colourful radiators in mulberry or English mustard as well as trusty white and grey.
You can even have a bespoke curved model made. The Ancona design fits into bay windows and around columns (prices from £49.12, The Radiator Company).
COLOUR ME HAPPY
To brighten up a room or to blend in with an existing scheme, choose a painted finish. Many radiator companies offer thousands of shades and promise to colour match with Farrow & Ball and Little Greene favourites.
The Radiator Company provides cast-iron radiators painted in a selection of the most popular colours using a robust and long-lasting powder-coat paint finish.
The paint process is a specialist application requiring the radiators to be heated to temperatures in excess of 200c. These radiators are guaranteed for at least ten years.
There are paints you can buy if you want to paint your radiator for a change of look.
A word of warning from the experts: ‘Radiators supplied with painted finishes have a very durable baked-on, powder-coated finish that will not fade,’ says Simon Morris at The Radiator Company. ‘They should not be repainted, as this will void the warranty.’
If you can’t decide between a metallic finish and a colour, you can have both from a range at Bisque. Its iridescent finishes are compelling, with gold changing to red and silver into green.
Glass radiators can heat your home while posing as a painting on your wall. The vertical designs are ideal if you’re short of wall space and can’t fit a horizontal radiator.
The cost of some of these art imitations may make you go hot under the collar, however, with prices between £860 and £1,397 for the Eucotherm Mars Vitro (Just Radiators).
If you’re a dab hand with a camera, you can have your own image added by Designer Bathroom Concepts (prices from £820).
THE FINISH LINE
Etched copper, bronze, aluminium, anthracite and stainless steel covers, as well as brushed finishes, are now hugely popular. The Milano Windsor metallic bronze column radiator is eye-catching yet timeless (£249.95, Best Heating).
For bigger budgets, check out the Arteplano designs in copper and brass at Bisque, which are individually acid-etched for an artistic look. You can even find leather and rust-effect finishes.
Suss out the best type of metal. Traditional cast iron radiators have a dense, heavy structure that takes time to reach optimal temperature but remains hot long after the heating is turned off.
For more control and a range of designs, steel radiators — a lighter, less dense metal — heat up and cool down quickly.
Alternatively, aluminium is a highly efficient conductive material that will warm up instantly. To establish how much heat your room needs, use an online tool such as the heat output calculator at The Radiator Company.
Don’t forget bathroom radiators: A wall-mounted rail adds functionality, helping to keep a bathroom tidy and uncluttered . This black towel radiator is £229.99 at Bathroom Mountain
Don’t forget bathroom radiators and rails to keep your towels toasty.
The Vos and Hix collection of bathroom radiators and towel warmers from JTP was launched recently with designs that can be matched with brassware accessories (from £305).
Alternatively, try the artistic-looking Arezzo Anthracite rail (£269.95, Victoria Plum).
Dunning suggests designs by Bisque, where bathroom radiators are shaped like coat-hangers or a coiled spring (Hot Spring) — and are available in all manner of finishes (from £801.60).
There are inexpensive models at Screwfix (from £64.99) or at Wickes, where you can pick up an anthracite grey towel radiator from £150.
A wall-mounted rail also adds functionality, helping to keep a bathroom tidy and uncluttered.
WHAT YOUR HOME NEEDS IS A… STORAGE CHEST
The ancient Egyptians began the fashion for turning a functional item into a thing of beauty, producing storage chests covered with decorations. Such is the attraction of Italian Renaissance chests that they fetch thousands at auction.
But for a reasonable price you can buy the kind of handsome chest that your home needs this winter to store extra bedding and limit those fuel bills.
Practical: For a reasonable price you can buy the kind of handsome chest that your home needs this winter. This one is £2,236 from auction site 1stDibs
The £126.99 Pittsfield chest from Wayfair has an antique feel. The £119 Fife in grey with a pine lid from Oak World has a cosy Cotswold cottage vibe. Maisons du Monde’s range includes the Chalet, a set of two aged pine chests with metal handles.
An English 18th-century carved oak chest has a guide price of £2,236 on 1stDibs, the auction site (pictured). By the late 19th century, these chests were replaced with lighter metal trunks.