While there is a case to be made for the vintage charm that radiators bring to our homes, not everyone is a fan of these old-school heating systems. Perhaps that's because they're never hidden away, tucked neatly in a corner that no one ever sees. On the contrary. More often than not they're located front and center, right out in the open. And while it would be nice if their unique design matched everyone's aesthetic, sadly, that's rarely the case. So, what's the solution? Replace the whole radiator? Or, worse, move?
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Before you throw in the towel and start packing moving boxes, there are actually plenty of clever ways to live with the functional element. From simple DIY projects that will disguise your radiator to more elaborate ideas that will actually hide it, there's truly a solution for all skill levels. And while some of these do-it-yourself options might take some serious elbow grease, there are also radiator covers that you can just purchase.
Ready to get started? Scroll on for 11 radiator cover ideas that are downright genius.
1. Upcycle an old radiator cover.
Like the idea of a radiator cover, but don't want to spend loads of cash? Follow the lead of Erin from Francois et Moi and breathe new life into an old one by turning it into a window bench. This approach might take a little bit of time and patience, but eventually, you'll be able to find one that works for you and your space. Try looking for a gently used radiator cover online at Facebook Marketplace or Craigslist or IRL at local yard sales and thrift stores.
2. Buy a brand new radiator cover.
If refurbishing a gently used radiator cover isn't on your bucket list, you can always buy a brand new one. For example, this narrow decorative cover from Wayfair comes in a few different colors and is easy enough to slide over your existing radiator to give your space a fresh new makeover. Pro tip: If you don't like any of the colors, you can always paint it to match your home decor.
3. Build a window seat.
If you have a long radiator under a window that sits low to the ground, consider building a window seat. The team over at Rift Cabinetry did just that in this living room. Not only does the clever idea completely hide the radiator, but it also provides additional seating and built-in shelving on either side to keep books at the ready whenever the homeowners fancy a good read.
4. Make a plant shelf.
DIY radiator cover ideas don't have to be difficult and time-consuming. In fact, it can be as easy as putting a piece of wood down on top of the radiator, transforming it into a plant shelf. (Although we suggest mounting your makeshift floating shelf to the wall, right above the radiator, to eliminate possible fire hazards.) And thanks to the natural beauty of your verdant foliage, no one will even notice the radiator.
5. Cover it with a bench.
Becca of Malmo & Moss actually replaced the existing radiator with a new low-height option, which afforded her more opportunities in her entryway — such as adding a minimalist bench. Covered by an unfinished wood perch, the radiator pretty much fades into the background. If you, or someone you know, is a crafty woodworker, you can have your seating tailor-made to fit your home. If not, you can shop around for an off-the-shelf bench that could work.
6. Add bookshelves.
Everyone could use a little extra storage space, so why not solve two problems at once by hanging a few shelves right above your radiator? We know, this stylishly functional idea doesn't hide the radiator, but it does distract from it. In this light-filled space, the shelving is stocked with a colorful collection of throw pillows that draws the eyes.
7. Design a bookcase for toy storage.
Take inspiration from this kid's bedroom by Chango & Co. and hide an ugly radiator with a custom bookcase that functions as toy storage and also factors in their safety. This way you'll have more room to stash your kiddo's playthings, and you won't have to worry about your little one getting too close to the radiator.
8. Hide it behind caned detailing.
Not sure about you, but this radiator cabinet idea is hands down one of our favorites. Sofia from Mokkasin built a Scandi-chic cabinet, complete with a caned panel in the front, to hide her radiator. If we didn't know any better we'd think it was just another piece of furniture in a well-styled home. And bonus, the top can be used to showcase an assortment of collected treasures.
9. Use paint to your advantage.
You can always paint your radiator cover (or just the radiator itself) plus the wall in the same color so that they blend together. That's usually less work than buying or making something to cover it up, which might just draw more attention to it. This is an especially good idea if your radiator is slim and more modern — the larger variety can't hide in plain sight quite as easily. In this home by design team Massuco Warner, the narrow design almost goes completely unnoticed. The eye-catching artwork hanging above doesn't hurt either.
10. Disguise it as a wood cabinet.
Prospect Refuge Studio built a custom wood radiator cover for this sitting area, resulting in the perfect display space for a few thoughtfully chosen trinkets. The wood is a near-perfect match to the millwork around the window, resulting in a seamless and high-end finish. Does anyone else feel like this cozy corner is calling you to sit and stay for a while?
11. Don't hide it at all.
If all else fails, don't try to hide your radiator — instead, embrace the old-school charm it brings to your pad. Dabito from Old Brand New did just that by opting for an easy DIY project. By painting his radiator in an extremely vibrant shade of yellow, he effectively turned it into a bold design moment that's guaranteed to grab everyone's attention.