Towel rails and warmers

Making multiple sales

Of course bathrooms and kitchens are key environments for designers to update with stylish radiators; however these heat sources also lend themselves to other rooms in the home. It means that designers and retailers can benefit from multiple sales, as they can expand their offering into living areas. Geoff lones of Aestus comments: “A truly beautiful piece should be able to take centre-stage anywhere in the home, be it in the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom or hallway. Our designer radiators are extremely versatile, often being mistaken for pieces of expensive art work. They suit all areas of the home which gives our retailers extra mileage when selling to discerning customers.”

The head of product and marketing for Bisque, Barbara Payne concurs, offering: “Bathrooms and kitchens are the strongest markets historically and currently. However, over the past five years, there has been a gradual and increasing demand for designer radiators for living areas and bedrooms – so there is definitely scope for retailers to expand into other market sectors.”

Different by design

Manufacturers have created a wealth of design-led radiators to cater for this widespread interior demand, having explored not only shape but a variety of natural materials. Designers can now choose heat sources fashioned from stone, glass, wood and in a wide selection of decors, including precious metals, to personalise each interior. While for the gadget fan, there is even the option of integrated TVs, with Aquavision’s latest Heated Towel Rail.

Saffet Kalender of Aeon comments: “As consumers grow more adventurous, there is some demand for unusual finishes such as pearlised aluminium or combinations of metal with natural stone.” While Geoff lones of Aestus adds: “The latest designer radiators boast intricate patterns, unexpected shapes and luxurious finishes such as Gold
and Silver leaf.”

Checking suitability

Although style is a consideration in the purchase of a radiator, designers mustn’t overlook the practicalities of ensuring the heating is suitable for the area. Too great or too little an output and the room will be uncomfortable for the inhabitants and ultimately can waste energy and money. But the location of the radiator, as well as the output of the model, must be considered for effective heating of the room. Barbara Payne of Bisque continues: “The correct output to heat a room is the Hrst and most important consideration. This dictates the size of the radiator required which in turn will often point to where the radiator should be situated. In general, radiators are best situated in the coldest part of a room – usually near or under windows to counteract downdraughts – though with good insulation this
is less important.”

This view is echoed by Saffet Kalender, who is more prescriptive, when he says: “In a kitchen with a large window – for example an extension – plan the radiator close to the window to offset the cooling effect of an expanse of glass. In a bathroom, avoid siting the radiator in zone 1 , as splashed water has a cooling effect”

BTU calculators can help designers decide if the heat source is suitable for the area and these can often now be found on-line on manufacturers websites. Both Aeon and Vogue UK feature calculators on their websites.

Channels to grow

lndustry experts expect the market to grow even further, as Saffet Kalender comments:
“Consumer expectations have moved beyond the mundane at the upper end of the market and replacement radiators will continue to be a key segment.” And as the economy slowly begins to improve industry experts believe designer radiator sales will continue to grow throughout all channels. As Steve Birch of Vogue UK says: “There is such a momentum behind designer radiators and towel rails that sales over the next three to five years should continue to grow.

There is massive demand for luxury touches within the bathroom, so this will boost sales in the improvement market and within new builds. And as the development market picks up, house builders looking to create differentiation will add these special extras to make their project stand out.” Just as central heating has become essential for the home, so style is now a pre-requisite of radiator design.