The BestHeating guide to kitchen radiators
Kitchens are increasingly considered as the beating heart of the modern home.
They’re a place where many of us sit to eat, where we cook, have a natter around the table and entertain our family and friends.
But, despite them being the central hub of our family life, heating our kitchens can often prove to be problematic and downright difficult to get right.
With a lot of wall space taken up by units, work surfaces and a variety of different appliances, finding the perfect heating solution for your kitchen – and choosing where to put it – can be an unenviable task.
In this guide, we’re going to look at some of the best ideas from around the web and hopefully, find what the best heating options are for your kitchen; to give you the advice you need to make the correct kitchen heating choice.
These are our top tips on keeping your kitchen warm, toasty and inviting.
The classic kitchen radiator
You might have expected us to say this, but the most common way to provide warmth and comfort in any room of your home is with a radiator.
Yes, of course, there’s always underfloor heating and we’ll get to that soon enough, but first up I want to look at the plethora of kitchen radiator options that can be found for your home.
But not just any old radiators, because there’s much more to them now than ever before; and with 190 million of them in UK homes, there are a lot of different ways to approach using a radiator to heat your kitchen.
Modern radiators come in all sorts of shapes, sizes and a variety of colours and materials that will help you to fit them into tight and tricky spaces often found in kitchens – where every last bit of space is precious.
If you’re one of the lucky ones that have a little more space in your kitchen, making a statement with a striking designer radiator could be the way to go.
Contemporary radiator installations have so much more about them than older, standard convector radiators, so why not let them shout about it?
Making a stylish feature in her amazing dream kitchen/diner, Lucy B (of the fabulous @barnestowers) used a double-panelled Aruba vertical designer radiator from Milano Heating to enhance the look of her room and provide ample heating to her dining and kitchen spaces.
As you can see, the gloss white of the vertical radiator looks brilliant in Lucy’s dining area, helping to create a stylish and inviting look that really is something to behold.
And, as it is a double panelled radiator, it will kick out plenty of heat (over 7000 BTUs) to ensure the entire space is warm and toasty; just what you need if you’re entertaining.
We are in total and complete love with it and could definitely see ourselves sitting at that table and polishing off a bottle of vino or three (or four – okay, five or six but who’s counting?) – we can only assume the invite has been lost in the post, Lucy!
The galley kitchen radiator
Joking aside, a vertical designer radiator isn’t just an intelligent heating solution for a large kitchen/diner where you want to make a feature from its tall space-saving design, it will work just as well in a smaller, galley-style kitchen too.
Our very own brand manager also selected a Milano radiator to add warmth and style to his kitchen space.
Offering enough of a BTU output to keep his kitchen nice and cosy when he isn’t cooking up a great meal – our chief removed his old convector radiator and replaced it with a stylish Milano Capri vertical radiator to create a lasting designer effect that really enhances the look of the rest of the kitchen.
In fact, I would go as far as to say that the boss has based his kitchen’s aesthetic around the grey and anthracite of his new radiator.
If you look closely, the flooring, accessories and even his bread bin carry the theme and it works like magic alongside the white finish of his units.
Plus, as his radiator is set back, it helps to maximise the floor area he has, giving the room a more airy and spacious feel – perfect for a galley kitchen such as this.
That kitchen tap is pretty snazzy too!
Where should I position a kitchen radiator?
Alongside your radiator’s style, shape and colour, deciding where it should be cited and positioned in your room is a serious consideration to make, and one that you need to get right to ensure you create an even and consistent heat.
As we have discussed in previous blogs, a common place for radiators to be positioned is under windows; here, currents of convection are created that help to distribute the heat from the radiator into and throughout the room.
There’s a good chance that if you have a window in your kitchen, your worktop is right beneath it, so a radiator is probably not going to work here anyway, especially if there are cupboards or appliances underneath it too.
But, if you do have a free space under a window in your kitchen, installing a radiator here can be a great opportunity to create a dining area or breakfast bar – as has been achieved by the wonderful Cynthia Zamaria in this Tudor-style cottage kitchen revival project.
Clever kitchen heating solutions
Imagine for a second what this space would look like with no countertop breakfast bar or stools featured there.
As lovely as that period-style radiator is, more of a feature is created with the stools and breakfast bar than there would be without it – and it’s a welcome and practical addition for a family kitchen.
Take them away and there is quite a bit of empty space that could easily lend itself to making the space feel colder than it actually is – despite the presence of the lovely radiator.
Plus, as well as creating a simple space to enjoy breakfast, or somewhere to have the kids do their homework whilst you cook, it also offers that little extra counter space that even the biggest kitchens will be thankful for.
Where should I NOT position a kitchen radiator?
Obviously, when you’re choosing a new radiator for your kitchen, you want it to look the part and do the job of keeping you warm, so ensuring it’s in the ‘right’ place is a must.
There are, however, a few places to avoid putting a radiator, even if you feel like it is the only place for it to be installed.
Don’t place radiators next to fridges and freezers
Siting a radiator next to a fridge or freezer is a big mistake, as your fridge gets rid of residual heat through the condenser at the back of the appliance.
If you place a radiator and a fridge in close proximity to one another, you can expect the fridge to work harder, use more energy, and cost more money in order for it to keep the contents cool.
Think about it logically – a radiator is supposed to be hot and a fridge is supposed to be cold, so be sure to keep them apart to get the best results for both of them.
Don’t block radiators with kitchen cabinets
As with living room radiators and not positioning them near sofas that can block out heat, your kitchen radiator shouldn’t be blocked by cabinets or anything else.
As we’re exploring in this article, heating is a little different in a kitchen, as the layout of the space is a bigger determining factor than easier rooms like living rooms and bedrooms.
You’d traditionally place a radiator in the coldest part of the room, but this may not always be possible in a kitchen.
Window spaces tend to be occupied by a sink area in a kitchen, so under the window is probably not going to be possible.
It’s best to think of the most practical position for your new kitchen rad and stick to that idea when selecting a new radiator.
Using underfloor heating in your kitchen
Forget about your hallway or your living room, of all the different rooms in your home, the interior design of your kitchen space is possibly the most important to get right.
Of course, the fixtures and fittings are important and are what give your kitchen a character that you can call your own.
But regardless of what type of units and cooker you opt for, an efficient heating system is a must have for any kitchen space.
If you are completely renovating your kitchen space – that is, stripping it right back to the bare bones and brickwork – it’s a great opportunity for you to consider underfloor heating.
As much as we love radiators, we have to admit that one of the best ways to add warmth and comfort to any kitchen is with underfloor heating.
And if you are starting from scratch, you shouldn’t overlook how convenient UFH can be in helping you to save space and make the most of what you’ve got (and that’s coming from a radiator salesman).
Whatever you do, before you go installing any new radiators or underfloor heating, you need to check the heat loss of your space and ensure that any flooring you use and the underfloor heating system you plan to install can reach the required temperature.
Whether you are using tiles, wood or some type of laminate, it’s best to check with the manufacturer that the flooring is suitable for use with UFH as some types of flooring (anything thicker than 18mm) won’t transmit heat adequately, leaving your space cold and uninviting.
Discover our new range of underfloor heating to find a suitable heating solution for any type of kitchen space.
A few surprising UK kitchen facts
We did a fair bit of digging around the web for this blog post and came across a load of different polls about kitchens and how we use them here in the UK.
So we thought, just for a bit of fun, we’d pull the ‘facts’ together and give you a brief overview of British kitchen habits and some of the more interesting finds.
1 – We love the island life
According to one Kitchen Trend Report from Houzz, just under two-thirds (63%) of people planning a kitchen extension or refurbishment were intending on incorporating an island into their plans.
2 – It’s an industrial revolution for the younger kids
The same Houzz survey found that those of us that were under the age of 34 – sadly that’s not me anymore – were “6 times more likely to embrace an industrial kitchen” than those kitchen renovators in their late 50’s; with bare brick and a more contemporary look being a high priority for the younger generation.
3 – The kitchen is (almost) everyone’s favourite place
60% of us spend over three hours a day in our kitchens, with the majority of that time being taken up by cooking and eating. But we do entertain, socialise and do our homework in there too; proving that the kitchen is the true heart of the home.
4 – We want some time outside too
Almost half (49%) of homeowners surveyed by Houzz – who were planning a kitchen renovation in the next 3 months – had decided that the number one kitchen upgrade they wanted to make was to extend the space outside.
5 – You get what you pay for
Around 91% of all homeowners who renovate their kitchen use the services of a hired professional to get the job done properly, with the average budget for work coming in at around £25,000 – now that better be a good-looking kitchen!
Other kitchen heating options
Now, although we love radiators and have something of a soft spot for underfloor heating, it would be highly unprofessional of us to not offer a little advice on alternative heating options for your kitchen space.
So here’s a list of alternatives that you could choose to heat your kitchen if you don’t fancy installing new radiators or UFH.
The feature fireplace
As well as providing you with a good source of additional kitchen and living space heating, a wood-burning stove can be an incredibly attractive focal point for your kitchen.
You will certainly have to factor in building regulations and requirements though, if you do intend on installing a wood burner, as Part J of building regulations states that “the installation of a solid fuel appliance in a room with a mechanical extract should be avoided”.
There’s a good reason for this too, in that you increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if you don’t correctly ventilate the room, so be sure to check out DEAS – dedicated external air supply – and if all else fails, contact your qualified professional.
A range cooker
Looking amazing in any size and style of kitchen, a range cooker is a different way to add heat to your kitchen space.
Helping to provide a constant source of warmth during the winter, range cookers are generally more expensive to run than radiators or a fuel stove, as they are always on and constantly kicking out heat, which is great for when the weather is bad.
The problem is, despite them being a welcome respite from the cold of the winter months, they can make your kitchen indescribably uncomfortable on a warm day during the summer.
In that instance, if you choose to switch the range cooker off, you will need a secondary oven to do your cooking – unless of course, you go for a more modern (and considerably more expensive) Total Control Aga type of range – which will set you back around £14,000.
There are a lot of clever and contemporary designs on the market, but you better be prepared to pay a premium for one that is all-singing and all-dancing.
Simple to install and easy to maintain, under-cupboard plinth heaters essentially blow out hot air from a grill based at the bottom of your kitchen units, down by your feet.
This is a great place for any kind of heating as it means they focus their heat output at the lowest point in the room, allowing it to float up and warm the space.
They’re also great for just kicking on in the morning when you come down to make a brew – hence the name ‘kickspace’ heater.
Relatively inexpensive to purchase, these are great little space-savers that don’t use up any of your kitchen’s available floor or wall space.
That’s great, if you have a smaller kitchen, but it will never make as big a style statement as a luxury kitchen radiator can!
Be sure to plan ahead
Before you go tearing out your old radiators and ripping out the units in your kitchen, it’s important to understand the particular needs of your kitchen space.
If you are undertaking a full renovation, be sure to factor in where appliances are likely to be before you choose where to put your radiators.
It’s unlikely that a radiator will affect your kitchen’s “Work Triangle”, but it’s important to be sure to factor in every possibility before committing to installation; the last thing you want is to have to tear it all down and start again.
I came across a truly inspiring kitchen renovation on my travels throughout the millions of pages on Google.
This amazing project from Manhattan Nest dispels the notion of a ‘work triangle’ in the kitchen and incorporates a stunning cast iron style radiator into the mix too.
There are too many little planning ideas to even summarise this project, so make sure you go and pay it a visit and see for yourself just how to go about completing this kind of renovation.
The main principles of kitchen heating & design
To get the job of redesigning and heating your kitchen right be sure that you write down what you want from your kitchen space.
How do you use it?
What do you need to fit in it?
What do you like and dislike about what you currently have?
Be sure to highlight any special features that you want from a new kitchen and understand how you want to heat it before you begin.
The choice of styles, designs, finishes and solutions for your kitchen heating are many and varied, so be sure to have some kind of idea of what you want to achieve before you go and start spending your hard-earned pennies.
Show us your kitchen heating!
If you have a kitchen project you want to share with us – and want to have it featured here at BestHeating.com – send us some before and after pictures via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram -or email me at email@example.com and we’ll try our best to give you centre stage on our customer favourites page.
Good luck with heating your kitchen.
Stay Safe & Happy Heating.
John trained in journalism before finding his way to the BestHeating Advice Centre team. He uses his journalism skills to meticulously research heating topics and bring you the latest news and views on all things home heating related. He’ll also beat you at any sport that involves a cue!