6 Radiator Styles You Need To Know About

I’ve got a riddle for you: What is something nobody really sees but is absolutely essential to your home? It could be considered a wall feature and is found in almost every room?

Any guesses?

It’s the humble radiator! Radiators are a sorely overlooked part of our homes. So much so that when it comes to thinking about the look and style of a room, your eyes tend to slide right over them. Take a look at the radiators around you right now. Chances are they are the off white and perhaps slightly grubby offerings that were in your home when you bought it. It doesn’t need to be that way though. Come with me as I give you the rundown of the top radiator styles you need to know about.

Towel Rails

These versatile beauties are at home in your kitchen or bathroom and do double duty. Not only will they warm up the room, but they will give you a place to hold your towels too.
In bathrooms, they will keep your bath sheets warm and toasty to make getting out of the shower as enjoyable as being in it. In the kitchen, damp tea towels will be a thing of the past, and they are the ideal way to stop bacteria from growing on damp dishcloths from a hygiene perspective.

The most common towel rails are the ladder-style with periodic wider gaps to allow you to hang towels over the rails. If you need extra hanging space, you can also purchase hooks for the radiator, perfect for dressing gowns!

Vertical radiators

The classic radiator is about waist height or below and runs horizontally along the wall. They don’t need to be though. Vertical radiators are becoming increasingly popular for all the right reasons. Drawing the eye to the ceiling, this is a look that can make a room seem bigger. The fact that they use wall space height wise rather than widthways also makes them the ideal solution for conservatories and rooms with floor to ceiling windows.

Choose a flat panel style for an unobtrusive way to add warmth to a room. If you want to make it a statement piece, look for designer options that use columns to create a stylish look.

Cast iron

Cast iron radiators are a classic! Perfectly at home in a period style house, they can also act as a gorgeous counterpoint to a contemporary space. While they take a lot longer to heat up than modern radiators, they hold heat for an extremely long time once they reach your chosen temperature.

Check out salvage yards for reclaimed options, or if you want to pick an exact style, you can also find new cast iron radiators for sale online or in specialist shops.

Trench heating

Trench heating could be for you if you want to ditch the radiators completely but still keep your house warm. Instead of wall-mounted panels or tubes, trench heating places the pipes to warm your house in the floor or skirting board. They are then covered with a decorative grill that draws cool air in and releases warm air back out.

Suppose wall space is at a premium, and a vertical radiator isn’t an option. In that case, trench heating can be the ideal solution. Bear in mind that the grill will need to remain uncovered to be most effective, so while it can save you wall space, you will potentially lose some floor space.


This one is not a shape but a colour instead. Anthracite is taking the world of radiators by storm. Anthracite is typically closer to black, but you can sometimes find it in grey. Its matt, chalk-like finish sets it apart from your standard greys and black.

The flatter tone of Anthracite makes it a particularly stylish option that will take any styling theme up a notch. If you are not convinced about having what amounts to a black radiator on your wall, take a look at this Pinterest board to see just how gorgeous it can be.

Electric radiators

The final radiator on the list is one that you can get in almost any style, and what makes it different is its power source. Changing the position of a radiator or adding one to a colder or newly converted room can seem extremely daunting. Let’s face it, anything plumbing related seems like a big job! However, there is an easier option.

Hang an electric radiator on the wall, plug it in and away you go. You can use an existing plug socket or ask an electrician to connect it to your home’s circuitry directly. The only thing to note with electric options is how the power consumption will differ from plumbed in options.

Which one will you choose?

Radiators can be so much more than just part of your central heating system. They can be a design feature too! Now that you know there is so much more to radiators than the standard white rectangle, I hope your creative juices are firing up with ideas for your next room renovation.

About Victoria

Hello! I'm Victoria, the founder of multi-award winning interior design blog, Apartment Number 4. I can't wait to share my tips and tricks on creating a beautiful place to live on a budget, regardless of whether you're living in your forever home or your home that's perfect for now.

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