5 Strategies to Stylishly Deal with Awkward Heating Units

There are few things as charming as an older home. They’re filled with character and a sense of history and architectural personality! Along with that, however, is the fact that they often come with unique challenges and awkward architectural elements, for example: radiator heating units. Although they’re more common in charming older homes, radiators aren’t strangers to more modern housing, either. They can be quite bulky and unsightly, but the good news is that they can become more Beauty than Beast with a bit of creativity and elbow grease. Here are some ideas:

1. Cover it.

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Build (or have a professional build) a beautiful built-in cover for it. This white “cabinet” facade on a good-sized radiator matches the aesthetic of the rest of the room and becomes a serene-looking shelf for a table lamp. As a bonus, a variety of stylish metal grates can be found online or at home improvement stores, which can be painted to match and then incorporated into the cover.

2. Paint it the same color as the walls.

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Although the radiator won’t exactly blend in completely (who are we kidding, it’s a radiator), it won’t stand out and detract from the space, either. This is a good strategy for small areas that visually have a lot going on elsewhere. For example, this charming space, with its black and white checkerboard floor and next-door patterned wallpaper, has enough visual distraction that the radiator almost disappears!

3. Paint it so that it becomes a showpiece itself.

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So you’ve got a radiator; why not embrace the fact and sing it from the proverbial rooftops? A bright coat of paint might be just the trick – how about eye-catching ombre in the color of a vivid sunset? The heating unit moves from ugly corner-dwelling annoyance to the star of the show. This works best in an otherwise clean-lined and simple décor scheme.

4. Keep it exposed but turn it into something useful.

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It’s not hard to fool the eye into thinking the radiator is a part of an interesting shelf frame by simply adding a flat surface (a.k.a. shelf) to the top of it. With the shelf and radiator painted the same color, they successfully read as a unit. Complete the vignette with some engaging art (love this delicate minimalist bird abstract here!), a few books, and an industrial item or two.

5. Transform it into a window seat.

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Depending on the shape and location of your radiator, building some seating around it could benefit your whole household. Not only will the otherwise wasted radiator space be utilized (in a bright, cheery, useful way), but with the seat’s proximity to the warm radiator itself, you won’t find a cozier seat in the whole house…and with great window views to boot.

Picture sources: 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.