Illustration for article titled How to decorate your ugly old radiatorPhoto: archideaphoto (Shutterstock)

Life in an old building presents many challenges. The floor plans can be more closed, the wiring could be updated, the closet space is missing – and the heating systems could be outdated. Older homes often use a boiler and radiator System for heating the house, in which steam rises through the pipe system to transport the heat into the room via a radiator. Cast iron radiators are common in older homes, they are usually placed under windows and take up a lot of wall space. But since this 90 pounds Heaters can’t be moved so why not try adding them to your facility?

How to update your old radiator

Old radiators can become an eyesore. They can rust or discolor after the original finish wears off – but you can give it a facelift by restoring it to its original silver color or painting it to match your walls and room tone. According to Best heating advice center, Painting your radiator is easy enough to do yourself and takes about two hours.

In addition to the paint you want to use, you’ll need a few detergents, a sander, and a radiator primer. It is a good idea to get an official painter’s cloth and some cardboard to protect the area around the radiator from paint drips. First, you need to thoroughly clean the cooler (see Lifehacker’s Guide to clean the radiator) then sand down any rough or bumpy spots. You are now ready for the primer. If you’re dealing with a rusty radiator make sure you have one rust-inhibiting primer for your base coat. After the primer is completely dry, you can apply your first coat of paint. Best heating advice suggests, “For best results, paint a radiator in stages – painting the edges first before moving on to the front of the unit.”

How to turn your radiator into a shelf

To make the radiator functional, you can put a marble, stone or quartz slab on top to create a shelf. This is a better idea in the warmer months when your radiator is not in use. Apartment therapy suggests Marble saddlewhich is a thinner platter and fairly inexpensive, costing only $ 22. Completely remove the panel in the colder months or remove decorative items and leave gloves and socks to warm in the winter. You can also install (and anchor) a year-round shelf a few inches above the radiator.

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Fade in your radiator as furniture in the room

One of the most attractive ways to decorate your radiator is to hide it behind a functional piece of furniture. Easy-to-install radiator covers come in a variety of shapes and sizes with front louvers or metal grilles to hide the coils but let heat through. They often look like cupboards and have a shelf on top for picture frames or plants (especially heat- and moisture-loving plants). Depending on the size, optics and dealer, a cooler cover costs between $ 70 to $ 250.

You can also try making one yourself – all you need is wood, moldings, metal mesh, legs, nails, and appropriate tools. That sounds like a lot, but essentially you’re building a glorified box around the radiator. Construction and Design Page This old home has detailed instructions too Build your own radiator cover for $ 50-100. They recommend using a circular saw, but if you know the dimensions, your local hardware store should be able to cut the wood for you. So all you have to do is assemble the parts.

While these covers are an easy option, you can get even more creative. Designer Marie Proeller Hueston With Bob Vila’s home improvement site offers more suggestions on how to turn your radiator into useful furniture. For heaters that are low on the floor but take up a lot of wall space, Hueston suggests a low bench made from treated wooden boards and slats. Tall radiators in the kitchen can be converted into an extended work surface. In addition to a normal radiator cover, place matching countertops over the radiator to create more space for preparation. Apartment therapy warns against using wood over radiators as it can crack and warp with changes in temperature. So make sure the wood is treated and heat resistant.

DIY website security uses an antique table cut in half above the radiator for a vintage look – clip it to the wall above the heater and you’ll have extra seating to eat when the heater is not in use (and an extra shelf when not in use)).