Real-Life Decoration Inspiration: 5 Different Ways to Paint a Radiator

Real-Life Decoration Inspiration: 5 Different Ways to Paint a Radiator

Taryn Williford
Jan 10, 2014
(Image credit: Manhattan Nest)

Most of the time, it sits quietly against the wall of the apartment. People live their lives all around, without giving it a second thought. But when the weather outside dips and the radiator stars whirring, suddenly that ugly hunk of metal is all a person can think about.

Anyone disenchanted with their radiator should consider a paint job. With permission from a landlord, of course, some bright paint can elevate an ugly utility into a major focal point. Or, a quick coat to match the wall color can hide the radiator and keep it from making any (visual) noise.

In fact, there are several different strategies for getting it done, depending on the goal. Armed with paint and an online tutorial (like this video from Benjamin Moore), try one of these techniques on for size:

1. Match the Wall.
To hide the radiator in plain sight, paint it the same color as the wall, like Daniel of Manhattan Nest did with white paint.

2. Match an Architectural Feature.
If the radiator is in front of unique molding, emulate the look with a custom paint job. Wary Meyers Decorative Arts did this with the radiatior of a Brooklyn apartment to match picture frame molding.

3. Pick a Neutral.
It's the Goldilocks of DIY. Picking a common neutral from the space doesn't cause the radiator to hide or stand out too much. I love the gray in this Brooklyn residence from Valerie Pasquiou.

4. Pick a Pop of Color.
Make the radiator a star with a coat of bright yellow or another stand-out hue. Check out the impact in this before and after January Jumpstart project from a Martha Stewart editor.

5. Copy a Print or Pattern.
There's no rule about stopping at one color. Try on a print or pattern for huge effect, like this lime-hued Ombre gradient that mimics the mural painted on the wall of a Brooklyn bathroom designed by Wary Meyers.

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