Your Complete Guide to Decorative Radiators

Buying a radiator for your home brings many benefits. Buying a decorative cast iron radiator brings even more benefits, and we don’t just mean from a design perspective. From warmer, more efficient heating, environmental credentials and even improving the value of your home, decorative radiators are more than worth the investment. 

But which one is right for you? Find out with our complete guide to decorative radiators. 

Posted: Tuesday, May 11, 2021

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What are decorative radiators?

Let’s begin our guide by providing you with more information as to what constitutes a decorative radiator.

Decorative radiators harken back to the Victorian and Edwardian eras, combined with the very best 21st century engineering techniques. They make a superb statement piece adding the definitive touch to any home restoration or interior design project.

At Trads we are proud to provide decorative radiators in a range of stunning styles. You’ll find everything from traditional period styles through to nature-inspired and art nouveau influenced radiators in our collection.

Each of our decorative radiators is assembled by hand by our expert craftsmen in the heart of Lincolnshire. We’re keeping the tradition of decorative cast iron radiator manufacture alive.

Thanks to our UK-based facility we can also provide decorative radiators in a wide range of colours and finishes - from burnished or polished metal to custom painting.

If you’re looking for a decorative radiator, choose a Trads decorative radiator.

Do decorative radiators provide more heat?

Decorative cast iron radiators provide a far more attractive way of heating your home compared to steel radiators. Thanks to the grade of cast iron we use, our decorative cast iron radiators are highly conductive, radiating far more heat than a steel radiator would. So, by choosing a decorative radiator you’ll not only benefit from a superior aesthetic and finish, but you’ll benefit from superior performance too.

Trads decorative radiators stand out from competitors thanks to the way in which we design them to hold a larger volume of water. With a higher volume of water and a larger surface area, you’ll be staggered by the heat output of a Trads decorative radiator.

Are decorative radiators environmentally friendly?

Thanks to their longevity, decorative cast iron radiators are certainly environmentally friendly. We design our decorative radiators to last for decades. By the time you have installed and replaced a steel radiator three or four times, a Trads decorative radiator will still be going strong, meaning fewer raw materials are used in the long-term.

Thanks to their superior heat output, a Trads decorative radiator is more environmentally friendly than standard steel radiators.

But, that’s not all. The high-quality cast iron used by Trads not only heats up quickly, but goes on to radiate heat for a long period of time - meaning your room heats up and stays warm far longer than with a steel radiator.

The heating characteristics of Trads cast iron radiators also means they work really well with alternative energy sources such as ground source pumps and solar powered heating systems.

At Trads we also offer a lifetime warranty on all of our decorative radiators, so you can be sure that your radiator will go on and on and on.

Additionally, all of our radiators go through a 60 step quality assurance process and adhere to ISO 9001:2015, BS: EN 442-2 and carry the CE mark.

Where should I place a decorative radiator?

Due to the modern engineering of a Trads decorative radiator, you can place one anywhere in your home.

Seen in the flesh, decorative radiators are works of art. They really can become the focal point of a room and if you're considering a home renovation or interior design project, you should definitely have a decorative radiator on your shopping list.

Whether you’re putting a decorative radiator in your living room, a hallway or a bedroom, bathroom or kitchen, it will attract attention - in all the right ways. Take a look at this fantastic example sent in to us by a recent Trads customer, Ros Phillips.

So, there’s no limits on where you can place a decorative radiator in your home. Decorative radiators are not just there to provide heat, they provide a stunning focal point for a room. Bear that in mind when thinking about where you’ll locate your Trads radiator.

What are the different types of decorative radiator?

Trads has a broad range of stunning decorative radiators to choose from. Our range of decorative radiator designs includes:

Chelsea decorative radiator

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The Chelsea is one of our most elaborate decorative cast iron radiator designs, originally commissioned for the Chelsea Barracks Officers’ Mess. The officers’ mess was decorated and appointed to the highest standards by some of Victorian Britain’s finest craftsmen.

It features pronounced detailing of acanthus leaves and stylised English roses. Trads’ Chelsea decorative radiators faithfully recreate these iconic radiators, combining style and practicality to create radiators that feature modern technology with a design that has echoes of the past.

Trads’ Chelsea radiators look stunning in either a polished or highlighted finish with a plethora of other colours and finishes available.

Dragonfly decorative radiator

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As the name suggests, Trads’ Dragonfly decorative radiator incorporates dragonflies and other natural ornamental motifs as part of a broader Art Nouveau design to create a distinctive and stylish radiator, which is much like its natural namesake - eye catching. As with other Trads decorative radiators, the Dragonfly is available in a huge range of bespoke finishes.


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Incorporating a highly decorative French regal design with intricate detailing at the foot and head, the Antoinette also features a straight-edge vine detail which runs vertically from the foot to the bottom to create a striking radiator. On the side of the radiator, you’ll find a subtle midway decoration to add further detail.


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Harkening back to the 1890s, the Verona lovingly recreates a design originally manufactured in Massachusetts, USA by the American Radiator Company. The Verona features cherubs, dragons and lions entwined among vines running throughout the decoration. This is the ideal decorative radiator if you’re looking to add a touch of the Gilded Age to your home decor.


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Based on one of the first decorative radiators ever produced, the Rococo stands apart from other radiators due to its elegant and unique scalloped ‘eared’ top detail and flared feet. Additionally, a carefully interwoven embellishment flows through the rest of the radiator providing an astounding level of detail to make this radiator a work of art in its own right.


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For those looking to add a touch of ecclesiastical flare to their home, the Ribbon from Trads is the perfect option. Why? Because the Ribbon, originally manufactured by the American Radiator Company in the 1880s, can be found in churches throughout the world. Featuring a beautiful Celtic band pattern intertwined with leaves, the Ribbon decorative radiator from Trads is available in a two of four-column structure.

To view the complete range of Trads decorative radiators, click here.

What colours are available for decorative radiators?

Over 10,000. Yes, you read that correctly. Trads has an industry-leading radiator painting service, so when it comes to what colour you’d like your radiator, the only limit is your imagination. Trads also offers a colour match service, so if you’ve fallen in love with a particular colour, we can apply it to your radiator.

At Trads we also work closely with all leading paint brands such as Farrow & Ball, Robersons and Little Greene. For example, we can apply any Farrow & Ball shade to your decorative radiator.

As well as paint, we have a large range of finishes that can be applied to your radiator such as Hand Burnished, Highlight Polish, Satin Polish and Antiqued.

What’s the difference between hand burnished and satin polish and highlight polish finishes?

One of the questions we receive regularly at Trads is about the difference between hand burnished, satin polish and highlight polish finishes.

Let’s look at how each one is different from the other.

Hand burnished

A hand burnished finish is achieved using a high degree of polishing using fine ceramic abrasives. The radiator is then buffed with a stitched polishing mop. It’s a time consuming, labour intensive process, but it produces a finish which is bursting with character. It’s the sort of finish that will make your decorative radiator the centrepiece of a room.

Satin polish

As with the hand burnished finish, a satin polished radiator also undergoes a ceramic abrasive process. However, with a satin polish finish, the final polishing process is changed to give a subtle sheen and a wonderful antiquated quality. As with a hand burnished finish, a satin polished radiator can be lacquered which will ensure no further maintenance is required.

Highlight polish

With a highlight polish each section of your radiator is first painted in your colour of choice (in the case of a highlight polish, this colour is usually black as it has the most impact once polished). Once the paint process has been completed, the raised details of your decorative radiator are then delicately polished by hand using a fine abrasive wheel. Like the hand burnished finish, this is a labour intensive process involving our craftsmen. But the hours of work are worth it - a highlight polish accentuates the pattern wonderfully and creates a beautifully authentic aged look and feel.

Here’s what one customer had to say about their experience using Trads’ bespoke painting service:

I’ve purchased cast iron radiators from Trads multiple times now and the main reasons I keep going back to this company are the incredibly high quality of the products and the fantastic customer service. Each radiator I’ve received has been tailor made to my wants and when I required specific paint colours from particular brands this was no problem for the team. Delivery was prompt and I’m now the proud owner of efficient, sturdy and attractive radiators that have completely transformed the look of my house. Thank you, Trads!”

-Mrs Kate Frankish

Explore many of Trads’ colour options (including Farrow & Ball shades) here.

How much do decorative cast iron radiators cost?

Trads decorative cast iron radiators are available across a wide range of price points. You might be surprised how competitively priced cast iron radiators are, especially compared to their more common steel counterparts.

The lowest price for a complete radiator at the time of writing (April 2021), the Daisy, is £108.75 excluding VAT, which is made from three sections. We typically price our radiators by section - the vertical parts of the radiator - which start from £35.42 excluding VAT on the Rococo, for example.

The price you pay will be influenced by the height, the number of sections, the paint and design you choose. For example, you can have up to 30 sections on a radiator with a height of 985mm.

Selling our cast iron radiators in sections (along with offering a huge number of paint options), means you can create a cast iron radiator which is completely unique to you and your home.

If you require any assistance designing your radiator, Trads can do it for you. Use our free design service now or call 01400 263320.

What size decorative radiator do I need?

To figure out what size decorative radiator you require for your room, you will need to work out the BTUs (British Thermal Unit) required for your chosen space.

It’s important that you choose a decorative cast iron radiator with the correct BTU rating for your room as this will ensure you can heat your room to the optimal temperature. Purchase a radiator with the correct BTU rating and you’ll benefit from reduced heating bills and better efficiency.

When thinking about BTUs, the general rule of thumb is as follows - the larger the radiator, the higher its BTU rating will be.

To make selecting the correct radiator as easy as possible, we have created a BTU calculator which you can find here.

Before you use our BTU calculator, make sure you have these details at hand:

  • An idea of which rooms you want to put radiators in.
  • The dimensions of those rooms, including length, width and height.
  • Additional factors. For example, is your room North facing? Does it have French windows?

If you’re still unsure what radiators will be suitable for your home, Trads’ expert team will be happy to help or call 01400 263320.

How long do decorative cast iron radiators take to arrive?

If you order a pre-assembled radiator before 12pm, you can usually receive it the next day. Many of our radiators are made to order; in which case the radiator will be despatched as soon as it’s been completed. We pride ourselves on offering one of the fastest cast iron radiator delivery services in the UK. If your radiator is in stock and you’re not resident in an excluded postcode, then you could have your decorative cast iron radiator the next day.

Here’s what one customer had to say about our delivery service:

Best customer service ever received from Trads. Very professional and prompt delivery of the product I ordered from them. All I can say guys keep up with the good work and hard work definitely pays off in the long run. Once again thank you very much for your excellent customer service.”


For other orders it can take on average 15 working days for dispatch. For up-to-date lead times please contact us. For hand burnished and other bespoke orders, it can take up to 8 weeks for dispatch. Find out more about our delivery service here.

For an estimated delivery time for your radiator, simply give us a call on 01400 263320.

What’s more, Trads also offers free delivery on orders over £449 (including VAT).

We hope you’ve found our complete guide to decorative cast iron radiators useful. If you have any questions or would simply like to discuss your needs in further detail, speak to one of our expert team now on 01400 263320 or use our email contact form.

Shop Trads decorative cast iron radiators now.

Find more cast iron radiator advice and information on the Trads blog.

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