Interior design and décor has always been important to us Brits; perhaps it’s the British weather forever keeping us in doors that encourages us to keep our interiors so tidy and up-to-date with the latest fashions – who knows – but what is certain is that the old saying “An Englishman’s home is his castle” is as true now as it ever was. There is however one necessary evil which we often struggle to work round when it comes to redecorating, I’m talking of course about the garish white metal box in the corner of the room that we all find ourselves huddling around in the depths of winter, yes I’m talking about the radiator.
More often than not interior designers have spent the last several decades finding creative and stylish ways of hiding radiators out of view, however in the last few years there has been somewhat of an increasing radiator trend among designers and consumers alike. Radiators now come in all sorts of shapes, sizes, materials and colours; from traditional cast iron or column styles, to stainless steel chrome, aluminum, flat wall mounted plates, stone and clear glass designs.
Consumers and designers now have the ability of encompassing a home’s central heating system into its interior design, with radiators now commonly being used to compliments a rooms décor and on occasion acting as ornamental centerpieces. This development in design is in part a result of the energy crisis and demand for more eco-friendly solutions, and so could be considered the silver lining to an otherwise gloomy issue. So if you’re going to be redecorating a room, or planning a full home project here are some things to consider when selecting your new designer radiator.
Calculate the BTUs required to heat your room
First work out the number of British Thermal Units (BTUs) your radiator will need to heat the room; you can do this by working out the cubic volume of the room then multiplying it by 50 for living rooms, 40 for bedrooms, 30 for halls, stairs and kitchens, and 90 for bathrooms. This gives you the number of watts required from the radiator, simply multiply this figure by 3.412 to give you the number in BTUs. It is important to note that if your home is less than 25 years old then you should subtract 30% from the number of watts before calculating the BTUs.
Decide what material radiator you should use; leading UK supplier Trade Radiators provides a comprehensive explanation on the pros and cons of each material so you can point yourself in the right direction.
Aluminium is lightweight, easy to move and install and gives terrific heat output for their size. Their designs mean that they can be made far more discreet and are often styled as flat decorative wall panels.
Cast iron Victorian radiators look fantastic, even the simplest design oozes classical style. These radiators hold a phenomenal amount of heat once they get going and stay warm long after the central heating system has been switched off. The only downside is that not only are they very hard to come by, but they may not necessarily work in conjunction with your central heating system, so it is probably best to go for a reproduction.
Stainless Steel is excellent when it comes to ornamental designs as it can bend into almost any shape required. Its flexibility means that it is the material of choice for contemporary designs, enabling radiators of this material to easily compliment a room’s décor or act as a centrepiece on their own. The one thing to bear in mind is that like the seasons, fashions and styles change on an equally frequent basis so it would be wise to think about what will look good in the future when selecting any unusual designs.
Glass radiators are actually electric and have no pipes or wires, and so can be mounted almost anywhere. They can also be mirror finished and so are functional in two ways. They are very cheap to run however the actual radiator unit itself can be very expensive, so be sure to check if it will be economical for you in the long run.
Stone is also becoming increasingly popular due to its natural look, with marble in particular proving very popular especially for under floor heating. Whilst these heaters look fantastic they do take time to heat up, however once they finally get going they can retain heat for hours after the heating system has been switched off.
You should also think about where you should site your radiator in the room, most are usually placed under windows or in the coldest part of the room in order to efficiently heat it but this doesn’t necessarily have to be the case. You may have an awkward space in the room where it may be difficult to fit any other piece of furniture; placing a designer radiator in this space not only frees up wall space elsewhere but provides heat whilst also complementing the décor of the room as a whole.
With a designer radiator there is absolutely no reason why you should have to sacrifice style for heating efficiency, so use them to keep your castle stylish.