Home & Design

Keep the heart of the home warm this winter

Dark, cold mornings and evenings come hand in hand when the clocks go back – it’s one of the first signals that winter is coming.

When you’re redesigning your kitchen, the first things to are likely to consider are the type of bespoke cabinetry you want or worktops, splashback materials and the appliances you and your family will need to keep things running smoothly. You might have even started to think about lighting and wall colours but the one thing that can often make or break the usability of a kitchen – particularly during the winter months – is often not given nearly enough thought. How will you keep your kitchen warm?

Whatever option you choose, whether it’s radiators, a cast-iron range that runs the central heating, or underfloor heating, your choice will have a huge impact not just on how you use your kitchen when it’s complete but how you design the room from its inception.

Start from scratch

The key to most reliable heating systems in the home is an efficient boiler – so, if you are currently operating with an old boiler that has had around 15 birthdays, then it might be worth investing in a new, more efficient model. Update more than just your kitchen design, and swap an old system to an A-rated condensing boiler that could reward you with a 90% increase in efficiency. Also, replacing a boiler could free up room for more cupboards or worktops and you’ll benefit from instant hot water if you opt for a condensing combi-boiler.

What system will you choose?


An option that many people choose are trusty radiators that have been used to heat homes for many years. Operated by a central heating system, radiators can heat up an entire home. Usually already in place, updating them from dated 1970s flat panel models to one of the many stunning styles on offer from specialists such as Bisque or Aestus can completely change the look of a room. For contemporary schemes look at ladder-style vertical radiators in sleek white and steel finishes and for classic kitchens pick something a little more period in its look like Bisque’s Classic range, which echoes Edwardian shapes.

If you are more eco conscious then upgrade your standard radiators for aluminium models, which can heat up and cool down much faster than traditional radiators, saving both time and energy.

Underfloor heating

If you are designing your kitchen from scratch, from the floor upwards, then you might want to consider adding a little luxury to your kitchen with some underfloor heating. There are two systems to choose from, both of which give comfortable radiant heat and can deliver great savings too.

Depending on what type of heating you opt for, it can be used under most types of flooring, including: stone, tile, wood and vinyl. It’s best to check your floor is a suitable match before you go ahead and invest, but a large kitchen with porcelain or ceramic tiles are almost always a perfect fit with underfloor heating.

You can choose between electric and wet systems – each of which are suited to particular kitchen designs. Electric flooring is easier to fit, being a network of wire elements on a mesh that is placed below the flooring or wet systems, which use water pipes below the floor. An electric system is easier to lay and can be retro-fitted fairly easily if you’re laying a new floor, just check with your builder first. Wet systems require more work and are better suited to renovations such as new extensions or completely new builds.

A bonus that is worth noting with underfloor heating is that it saves you valuable wall space which can be otherwise utilised for additional storage space. It is also vital to have your kitchen design finalised before the pipes or matts are laid for the flooring, as it would be an absolute waste to heat built-in cupboards, or under appliances. A floor plan from your expert designer will help any heating engineer advise not only the best pattern to lay the floor in but also where to place the controls on the walls. Using a timed thermostat means that you can set the heating on to warm the room just enough so it’s a little easier to step into your kitchen on a frosty winter morning.

Cast-iron ranges

If you have traditional taste then an ‘always-on’ Aga is the perfect choice and will guarantee you radiant heat on cooler mornings. However, it can’t run a central heating system. If you want your heat-store range to do that, then opt for models from Stanley or Rayburn, which can often run up to 20 radiators.

Go mobile

You can now control your heating systems from your phone too. Consider investing in an app-controlled heating system, such as Hive or Nest, so you can switch on your heating, using your phone, wherever and whenever you feel the need with great ease.

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