Heating for open-plan kitchens

It’s fair to say that for most of us, the end of lockdown restrictions has resulted in a shift of priorities. If you’re the sociable sort, you’ve no doubt relished the opportunity to welcome family and friends back into your home. This may in turn have triggered a desire to revamp certain elements of your interiors. For most, this seems to have started with the kitchen. Over the past 18 months, this room has probably multitasked like never before, and it’s likely you’ve spent a lot of time in this area. If you’re keen to ring the changes, now is the ideal time to reconsider all the options.

Our Modus made-to-measure multi-column radiator in mild steel is one of our best-selling models. Available in a huge array of sizes, colours and finishes, it’s a great choice for either classic or contemporary open-plan kitchens

The popularity of open-plan kitchens shows no sign of a slow-down – and it’s not hard to understand why. They are spacious, ideal for entertaining yet, when properly planned, can facilitate more family time too. However, there are lots of elements to think about in order to get the right results – and heating should be top of the list!

One way in which to realise your dream is to work with an interior designer so we asked leading London designer Silvana Fabbrini about how she works with open-plan kitchen projects:

Plan and prepare

Nobody wants to spend time in a cold, unwelcoming space. So it’s really important that open-plan kitchens are warm enough. Successfully heating one large, airy space – as opposed to a couple of smaller, separate rooms – usually requires careful planning, according to Silvana Fabbrini. “An open-plan layout has a lot of pros and cons when it comes to heating,” she explains. “It’s important to consider that we need to heat the entire space. And it takes longer to heat a large, open room, so before choosing the heating system we also need to make sure the room is well insulated.”

Unsurprisingly, careful planning holds the key. As with so much in life, where heating open-plan kitchens is concerned, knowledge is power. “[Before any home renovation] first of all I check the boiler output, age and efficiency, followed by the room insulation,” Silvana confirms. “Then I speak to my client about the different options on the market. Based on the various pros and cons we make a decision considering the overall house/works.”

Stand tall: Vertical radiators, like our Ruvo model (made from 100% recycled aluminium), are a wonderful way to maximise any awkward tall, narrow wall spaces in your open-plan kitchen

Function and form for open-plan kitchens

Heating decisions for open-plan kitchens should take both function and form into consideration. How your radiators look is of course super important. They will need to complement your personal style and colour scheme, and fit the space they are allocated. But Silvana counsels against being swayed solely by aesthetics.

“The right heating for [open-plan kitchens] is not about the latest trends, but more about the efficiency,” she underlines. “First of all we always need to use a BTU calculator to assess how to adequately warm up the room.”

BTU stands for British Thermal Unit – which in turn is basically the measure of heat output from a radiator. Different factors such as room size and shape, plus the number of windows and even the wall material, will all influence the heat requirements of a room. Open-plan kitchens with high ceilings and folding patio doors, for example, will need more radiators to keep them warm. Never guess what you need. If you’re not using an interior designer, our online Heat Calculator is a handy tool. It helps you to calculate the number of BTUs required. All you need to do is enter a few simple measurements and details. Then our calculator does the hard work for you.

The power of purple: An eye-catching pop of colour, delivered here via our Cove mild steel radiator, adds interest and a touch of originality to any open-plan kitchen design

The electric option

Electric radiators are another option that is definitely worth considering for open-plan kitchens, and indeed elsewhere within the home. They are super versatile, and because they work independently, they can be extremely energy-efficient. “Electric heating is less complicated than gas, as many models can simply be plugged into a socket,” agrees Silvana. “In addition, they do not burn anything, and are therefore considered to be safer and more environmentally friendly.”

Modern electric radiators warm up quickly, so they’re perfect if you need heat in a hurry. And because they don’t need pipe work to be laid, they are usually fast, simple and comparatively cheap to install.

Our versatile Vela Electric radiator in aluminium is available in both vertical and horizontal options. It’s Bluetooth- and WiFi-compatible, giving you maximum control over all your heating needs

Style and substance for open-plan kitchens

Once you have sorted out the efficiency requirements of your open-plan kitchen, you’ll need to decide how you’d like your radiators to look. Once upon a time that meant white and horizontal. Now there’s an almost endless range of designer radiator options to choose from. These feature all sorts of shapes, shades and finishes.

“When designing a room, I always consider the style of the radiators,” acknowledges Silvana. “And I use the different colours, shapes and material finishes to complement the overall interior.” Certainly, radiators no longer have to blend in. They can be a colourful centrepiece that contrasts with your walls.

Metallic models are a great way to make a style statement, especially in a modern open-plan kitchen. If your room layout is tricky, vertical radiators are ideal for tall but narrow walls, and are often the solution to ‘dead’ space, especially either side of a window. They also suit both classic and contemporary room schemes.

Tap into the trend for metallics with our Delta radiator. This model features slimline panels of either brushed or polished stainless steel. It can be positioned vertically or horizontally, to suit virtually any size and space

Thinking of redecorating your bathroom too? Click here to read all about this year’s leading bathroom trends.