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How to disguise or mask radiators – creative ideas for stylish design without heat loss.

When designing any living space, you can disguise freestanding or old and unsightly radiators to match your style. Although they are a popular option for heating, heating fins and pipes can spoil the look of the room and collect dust. For this reason, their integration into a stylish interior may be up for debate. To find a suitable solution, you can look at the following examples for inspiration and turn your heating elements into a part of the room decoration or into practical pieces of furniture.

Keep home warm with style and disguise radiators

create a vintage look in the living room by adding a leather armchair and board over heater

Radiators first came on the scene more than 100 years ago, and while they can instill a bit of old-world nostalgia, they tend to be a real design challenge. Fortunately, these days there are numerous design options for masking such installations. These range from incorporating a radiator cover into a piece of furniture, such as a sofa or nightstand, to simply making use of the space above by adding shelving . You can also buy the coverings, but many people opt for DIY projects that offer a customized look. Accordingly, such an option can meet their unconventional position and shape.

create a minimalist hallway and cover an old or unsightly radiator with wooden slats

In addition, the shape of a radiator determines the type of cladding you can have. For example, if your radiator is tall and slim, it would be rather impossible to design a bench around it. Therefore, consider a design with an extra-deep top that can instead serve as a ledge for photos, plants, or to display a decor collection. The most popular radiator covers are made of wood or medium-density fiberboard (MDF), which are prized for their ease of use, cost-effectiveness and stability in low and extreme heat.

Choose the right materials and cover your radiator

idea for modern and cozy children's room with covered radiator and colorful home textiles

Coverings for radiators can also be made from thick metal or aluminum. However, these materials can be difficult to cut and work with. So if you want such a covering, you might want to leave it to the professionals. Also, keep in mind that a metal covering will be hot to the touch, so there is a higher risk of burns to children, unsuspecting adults, and pets. Although this is a major drawback, aluminum and metal conduct heat better than wood, which actually insulates it. So if your main goal is to maximize heat, an aluminum or metal cover might be the right choice.

create a window sill and cover radiators with upcycled materials like aluminum or steel

If you want to go a different route, you can use a bench or shelf instead of a radiator cover. Regardless of which material you choose, your first step should be to measure the area around your radiator. To ensure free air circulation and enough space for the cover, you should increase the dimensions of your radiator by 5 to 10 cm.

How to cover your radiators

create a retro design in the hallway and dress up an older radiator with matching wood frame

Stylistically, the ideas for the lining of radiators are wide. For example, if you make a custom radiator cabinet, the grille opening on the front panel is entirely up to you. You can add aluminum, rattan, cane or whatever you like. Decorative metal grilles with special designs are available in a variety of styles for an added touch of sophistication. Best of all, high-quality materials allow for optimal heat dissipation and save you from direct burns and injuries. Here are some general guidelines for creating and applying a trim:

dress up yellow and green colored radiators or simply match the style in the room

  • Use non-toxic adhesives: The easiest way to attach a shroud to the faceplate is to use a non-toxic, professional adhesive that will adhere to multiple surfaces.
  • For example, place a metal shield inside the front panel and attach the center portion with a stapler.
  • If you want to use a side screen, be sure to use only natural materials such as linen, wool or rattan. Using artificial products here can cause burns and pose a safety hazard.
  • Add a shelf: to round out your paneling, you could create a shelf above it. Again, wood is an excellent choice for covering the top and can create a cozy look.
  • Finish with paint: Finally, you can embellish the paneling with a color of your choice.

Ideas for cladding the heater

wood panelled radiator in a rustic living room with purple armchair and deco

Now that you know the ins and outs of radiator cover construction and safety, here are some ideas for decorative radiator covers you can consider for your own home. For example, if you’re on a budget, you can create a new cover by upcycling old materials. Breathe new life into old wood by turning it into a window sill. This approach may take a little time and patience, but eventually you’ll be able to find a solution that would fit in your space.

create a simple and stylish room design by masking the heater in a matching light gray shade

If refurbishing a gently used cover is not on your wish list, you can always buy a brand new one. For example, a narrow decorative wood cover is available in a few different colors and can easily be slid over existing radiators to give your room a fresh new look. If you don’t like one of the colors, you can always paint it to match your home decor.

Install a window seat or shelf

optimize the space in a living room with a bookcase and cover the radiator next to it

If you have a long radiator under a window that sits low to the ground, you might consider building a window seat. This option blends well in a living room. Such a clever idea not only completely hides the radiator, but also provides additional seating and built-in shelves on both sides to keep books at the ready when residents or guests feel like reading, discussing or having an interesting read.

arrange indoor plants around an old radiator and accentuate the growths in the room

What’s more, such a DIY project doesn’t have to be difficult or time-consuming. In fact, it can be as simple as placing a piece of wood on the radiator and turning it into a plant shelf. However, it is recommended to mount your temporary floating shelf on the wall directly above the radiator. Thus, eliminate possible fire hazards. Thanks to the natural beauty of your green foliage, attention will not fall on your heater.

Mask heating with practical bench or window sill

install and decorate a practical and rustic l-shaped bench made of natural wood over the heater

Vertical hardwood slats or simple wooden boards can hide a radiator near the wall and provide a charming visual distraction from it. In addition, you can include L-shaped elements that run from a window sill to a baseboard and are attached to the hardwood floor. Additionally, cushions can be added to the trim to provide a cozy place to sit on a chilly winter day.

integrate a heater into a colorfully decorated window sill with cladding to match the interior design

If your existing radiators are low-height, you may actually want to consider such a new option. This also provides more options in an entryway. So cover your radiator with wood to make it look like an element in the background. If you or someone you know is a skilled woodworker, you can have your seating custom made to fit your home. If not, you can look for a commercial bench that could work just as well.

Create a shelf to store toys in your child’s room.

store toys in the children's room by installing radiator cover as shelves

Take inspiration from this nursery to be able to dress up an unsightly radiator and add a custom shelf that you can also use to store children’s toys. This option also adds to the safety of your little ones. This way, you’ll have more space to store your kids’ toys and you won’t have to worry about them getting too close to the heater.

Use the wall color to your own advantage

in an old building use the wall color to advantage and cover or paint existing radiator

You can dress up your radiators by painting them the same color as the wall so they blend together. This is usually less work than buying or building something to cover up the heater, which might just draw more attention to it. Such an idea is especially good if your radiator is slim and more modern – the larger version can not be easily hidden by painting it with paint. In the rest of the case, the slim design will go almost completely unnoticed. Of course, a picture or eye-catching artwork hanging above it will not harm the look at all.

Disguise radiator and use it as a bedside table in the bedroom

bedroom decorated with patterned wallpaper and carpet with concealed radiator as nightstand

Another practical and stylish option is to configure the paneling of the heater as a nightstand. Combine form and function by disguising your radiator in such a creative way. As an extended nightstand, this variant fulfills a dual role in the bedroom. Such a hidden heating element combines well in an eclectic bedroom with a cover that has traditional details. This will give it a thoughtful and functional look, while improving the overall scheme of the room.

Create a cozy sitting area with panelled heating

create a cozy sitting area in the dining area or kitchen by stylishly masking the heater

By adding a matching paneling, you can create an idyllic sitting area in the dining or kitchen area without compromising natural light or creating visual clutter. To do this, simply incorporate a low, built-in bench seat that will keep you warm on cold days with its hidden heater. Such an airy and stylish option can also maximize space by turning a potentially unused corner into the perfect low seat. A decorative slot can also add another subtle dose of pattern.

More tips on installation and maintenance

classic living room with high ceilings and dining area next to radiator masked as a chest of drawers

A radiator cover is essentially a three-sided box with a lid that requires perforations or slats in the face to allow heat to escape. Known as a grill or grate, it can be made from a variety of materials, including wood, wicker, rattan, or even laser-cut from radiator sheet metal. In addition, a unique grate can add a welcome decorative touch to an otherwise useful object. Remember that clad radiators also require good ventilation. Thus, they can generate heat, maintaining energy efficiency. You can increase the efficiency of your radiator by also adding a reflective heat plate to the heating element , before attaching the cover. This way, the heat returns to a room and does not leak backwards to the wall.

in a rustic retro style bathroom cover the radiator and make it look more refined

Another advantage of the cover is that it maintains the cleanliness of the top and sides of the heating element. Cleaning a radiator cover is accordingly much easier thanks to its smooth surfaces. When the cover has cooled down, you can wipe it with a damp cloth. Dust that settles on the grate can also be easily vacuumed. Depending on the material, you can also remove the cover altogether and clean it outside. In addition, this is a clever way to hide the useful feature and protect it from fire accidents. Daruch facilitates cleaning you regain some lost space. Add personal flair by adding decorative grilles, paint and custom woodwork.