Are Particular Radiators Better Suited for Different Rooms?
Updated: Jan 17
More often than not, when we consider what a radiator is, we typically think in terms of bedroom or living room radiators. The reality is that any radiator can work in any room (with a few exceptions), it’s simply a matter of which designs you like and if there are any physical considerations as to the size you need (for example width or height limitations). Some radiators and towel rails may lend themselves better aesthetically to certain rooms, but the choice is yours!
Radiators were traditionally placed beneath the rooms' windows as this was usually the coldest wall in the room and so helped with air convection and distribution of heat. However, as more and more homes are fitted with suitable levels of insulation, it is becoming less of a requirement to do so. With a multitude of designs and styles now available, placement is less restricted and it’s now possible to be a bit more creative with other spaces – such as the tall narrow strips of wall on either side of windows or doors for example.
Technically speaking, any radiator can be used in any room - no radiator is created to be room-specific. There are some caveats to this to consider, however. For example; you need the appropriate plumbing to be able to connect a hydronic radiator, and electric radiators need to be an appropriate distance away from sources of water in small rooms.
The radiator you choose for your room will boil down to three things: style, cost, and practicality. For living room radiators, you may want to spend a little more on a special finish or a featured style, whereas in the bedrooms you may opt for more cost-effective white models. Hallways are often restricted in width so a slimmer and taller model may make best use of the space available, paired with a few hanging pegs to have somewhere to hang coats.
Consider if anything is going to be placed in front of the radiator, as this can reduce airflow and make your heating less efficient. There’s nothing wrong with having a sofa in front of a radiator but try and allow at least 100/150mm between the back of the sofa and the face of the radiator to maximise airflow. You could also consider increasing the size of the radiator slightly to compensate.
Boxed-in radiator covers cut down heat distribution by around 20%, so you will only get 80% of the heat your radiator produces into the room.
Shelves above radiators shouldn’t reduce heat distribution provided there is approx. 100mm between the top of the radiator and the shelf.
Like sofas, full-length curtains (when drawn and covering the radiator) cut down the airflow and reduce the amount of heat entering the room from your radiator.
Kitchens, bathrooms, and utility rooms all have specific roles to play, and heat sources with practical features are extra useful in these rooms. Heated Towel Rails, for example, are designed with warming towels in mind - tea towels, bath towels or even the dog’s towel! Although typically installed in bathrooms and wetrooms, these models can prove just as practical in utility rooms and kitchens.
Space is often the first consideration when it comes to choosing radiators in most kitchens and bathrooms. Tall radiators are an incredibly useful option in both kitchens and bathrooms where space may be at a premium. If you choose to use a specific size of radiator over a towel rail to achieve the output needed, you can make them more practical by adding towel bars or hanging pegs.
There are other dual-purpose radiators to bear in mind, such as the Leoni Bench Seat - extremely useful in boot rooms, hallways etc where you need the additional seating facility. They free up room around the home and contribute to both a warmer space as well as a more useful one.
Lofts & Basements:
Heating these areas is no different to other spaces in your home. Practicality remains a worthwhile consideration, and this should be checked with your plumber before installing new radiators to check that the new locations (both higher and lower) can be accommodated by your system.
Loft conversions are often heavily insulated so be careful not to overheat the area by choosing a radiator that is too large.
Cast Iron radiators may be too heavy for a loft conversion as the floor needs to be particularly strong to accommodate them and moving them into position may not be easy given their weight. This is something to also check with your installer in advance.
Choosing from a radiator that has a lot of flexibility in terms of sizing (Leoni Multicolumn for example), is especially useful where you have a heat output you are looking to achieve, but a limited, awkward, or narrow space in which to do it, as often presented in lofts.
Electric Radiators, whilst offering a limited choice of styles and colours, can make a simple, effective choice for lofts conservatories or extensions as they are easier to install than plumbed-in radiators due to not requiring any additional pipe work, relying on the electric circuit which is normally accessible.
Essentially, the radiator you choose for any room is down to the design and colours you think work best!